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Zero Plastic Grocery Business Opportunity

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Zero Plastic Grocery Business Opportunity

The rapid world population growth has brought up noticeable impact on the environment. The amount of garbage produced by humans is considerably huge compared to the past decades leading to accumulation of plastics in form of packaging bags, water bottles and soda cans. Plastic waste products have a negative impact on the environment since they are made up of major non-biodegradable toxins that harm water, land and air. The waste also cause harm to wildlife, plants and human beings.  The toxic products in plastics cause serious illnesses to people including certain types of cancers, respiratory problems and skin diseases.

In most cases, plastic wastes from domestic use and factories are dumped in the oceans. These pollutants enter the food chain as they appear on marine creatures’ diet. Much of the plastics is microscopic and continues to wither into small chemical fragments that are distributed to the entire ocean surface and the sea floor increasing the possibility of getting into the food chain. Microplastics resulting from plastic weathering are in most cases trapped into the mouth, stomach, digestive system and the gills making it difficult for fish to eat and breathe. In addition, close to half of sea birds and marine species are affected by the hazardous wastes. Other than presence of plastics in the water bodies, they are also present in drinking water. According to World Health Organization, plastics do not biodegrade but instead they break down to smaller fragments that are measurable by nanometres and meters. These tiny plastics end up everywhere in the environment including the sources for fresh drinking water. Thousands of microplastics are therefore present in every litre of drinking water.  Theoretically, some of microplastics consumed by human being are enough find their way into the circulatory system through the gut.  However, it is still unknown whether this a negative impact on human health.

With this in mind, Zero plastic grocery aims at reducing such negative impacts of plastic on the environment. Recycling packaging materials will promote protection of landfills and for aesthetic beauty of urban dwellings. The new grocery store will trigger manufacturers to take responsibility of product life cycle and packaging in ways that will suit user preferences. Looking, at the current UK groceries and supermarkets in UK, one a few have been able to take into consideration that impact of plastics on the environment. Most shops offer unnecessary packaging most of which end up in the landfills. Some plastics are also burnt in the open therefore emitting green house gases that deplete the ozone layer. There have been a number of treaties and policies aiming at reducing plastic pollution but still a lot needs to be done. The unique idea of developing a zero plastic grocery will attract sales since people are switching to healthy alternatives for the purpose of leading healthy lifestyles. It is quite evident that it will be an eye opener to the government and policy makers on the various ways that environmental pollution can be reduced.

Introduction

The main purpose of this business idea is to come up with ways for reducing plastics in the environment. More specifically, the idea will encourage reuse of packaging bags therefore preventing more damage to the environment. This business also aims at creating public awareness on the need for change of behaviour that lead to toxicity of our surroundings. We also purpose to use our business for getting the attention of legislators, industries and the public on better ways of confronting the impact of plastic pollution to the environment.  This business will encourage voluntary response towards initiatives that take care of not only the current but also the future generations. Ultimately, our solutions will come with an innovative idea of a zero plastic grocery since we intend to sell our products in a way that produces minimum risks to the environment. It is our desire to have a plastic free future by creating recycling options and new ways of reducing emission of microplastics. This entrepreneurship opportunity is taking actions for countering increase on the amount of plastics on the oceans, atmosphere and drinking water so that the food chain can be protected. The current estimates reveal that if nothing is done, there will come a time when the amount of plastics on sea water will be more than the number of marine creatures.

Zero Plastic Grocery Store

With the new zero waste store, people will be able to reduce the impact of their plastic packaging to the environment after shopping. It is worth noting that zero waste will not necessarily lead to ‘no waste’ at all, but the goal here is to ensure that there are lesser by-products the huge amounts of plastics that end up in people homes after a shopping trip and thrown out to landfills will be reduced by the zero waste strategy. Packaging is a worldwide problem and committing to the business idea, it will be possible to reduce the amount of plastics that get into the oceans every day (Toronto Environmental Alliance, n.d.). The plastics chock sea life by creating undesirable living conditions for fishes and other marine organisms. Plastic is also contaminating tap water and it has become more difficult t recycle waste. In the upcoming grocery store, it will be possible for shoppers to buy all sorts of items that they requires with no shred of plastic wrapper in sight. The zero plastic strategy aims at terminating packaging waste by doing away of packaging. There is a high possibility that business will work since consumers are increasingly gaining awareness of the dangers of plastic on the environment.

Zero plastic grocery will therefore satisfy people’s desire for working on this awareness. The business is not only targeting at increasing sales but also doing campaigns for raising awareness of the dangers of plastic waste throughout eh world. The store shelves will stock a wide range of reusable food packaging containers, metal straws instead of plastic and recyclable shopping bags that will be locally made using old floor sacks. In addition, people will be encouraged to bring their own packaging bags when they come for shopping.

Key Partners

One of the most crucial partners for the business is infinity foods. The company deals with a wide range of quality vegetarian foodstuff and is highly committed to customer satisfaction (Infinityfoodswholesale.coop, n.d.). The firm practices equitable business form that is not profit driven but takes into consideration ways for ensuring that people lead a healthy lifestyle. The food provided by the company is natural, free from genetic modifications, unadulterated and derived from ethically accredited companies. Together with building relations and trading with supplier and producers from developing countries, most of the supplied are sourced locally with the aim of creating fairness and justice to trading partners therefore impacting the end consumers. Zero plastic grocery has identified that infinity foods recycles its own-made cans, cardboard wastes, tetra-pack, plastic and glass (Infinityfoodswholesale.coop, n.d.). These recycling materials are collected from customers and refurbished for reuse. With this in mind, it is the joy of this business to join hands with infinity foods in taking care of the environment and sourcing for supplier and clients.

Super nutrients are also important partners that will be useful in building our network. The company boasts of being an early adopter of the emerging trends in food supply owing to the fact that it has gained a reputation as a food supplier (Supernutrients, n.d.). The company is also known for its strong market knowledge built with professionalism, integrity and fairness. After being in the market for only 12 years, the company has been instrumental in absorbing the mainstream market where it provides premium healthy and nutrient rich health products. At the same time, the company grown to having two more retail stores in the UK that provides daily utilities at low prices. Super Nutrients Company has also made two appearances in Sunday Times top 100 fastest growing companies and also in the top 30 (Supernutrients, n.d.). The company is also pleased to invite partners and suppliers which is why we considered it as one of the key stakeholders.

As an indentified key partner, Essential Trading is one of UK’s renowned worker co-operatives and a pioneer in the country’s food market. The organization deals with manufacture, wholesales and distribution of vegetarian food in the UK and regions beyond (Essential-trading.co.uk, n.d.). Through collaboration with other brands, it brings an innovative line of ethical alternatives and healthy foods (Essential-trading.co.uk, n.d.). The company emphasizes on production and supply of pure foods, free from GMO, artificial colours and flavours.

Zero plastic grocery will require a number of equipment including popcorn machines, topping dispensers, hot dog grills, candy floss equipment and warmer cabinets. Consequently, Martek Food Systems will come in handy as a key partner for supply of such equipment to the new grocery store. The company is keen on manufacture of equipment the unique needs of every business and has an online catalogue where buyers are able to view the products. Moreover, having been in the market for over 130 years, Martek has a strong network of customers who after creating a good relationship can be referred to Zero Plastic Grocery (Martekfs.com, n.d.). In addition the company has an inventive merchandising system that allows retailers to stock and sell products without out unnecessary packaging a move that improve product shelf-life, reduce packaging waste and boosts profit margins. The firm also provides self-service dispensers that are specifically designed for offering a wide product range including nuts, dried spices, cereals, coffee, dried fruits, grains, confectionery pet food and other diverse products that can flow freely in self-service dispensers (Martekfs.com, n.d.).  Self-service dispensers are beneficial to customers in that they reduce food wastage by allowing portion control and encourage experimentation of new products.

Bizerba is also a core partner for providing food industry equipment that ensure hygiene and food safety (Bizerba.com, n.d.). The company will be useful for supply of weighing scales and slicing tools that meet high quality standards in the food management industry. Bizerba also offers Zero Waste Scales that allow packaging with waste in food stores. The technology is user friendly and compatible with stores that advocate for Zero Waste. (Bizerba.com, n.d.) It also allows recycling of labels and has a screen for advertising of products and services.

Key Activities

Market Research

Market research is the process through which an entrepreneur gathers, analyzes and interprets information regarding a product or service that he or she intends to offer into the market. Through the research one is able to understand the product or service sales and the current and potential customers for the service or product. For the purpose of Zero plastic Grocery, market research is useful for understanding UK customers spending habits, tastes and preferences, location, the industry and nature of competitors (Moss, 2019). For the purpose of this business idea, the best location for the business would be The Borough of Hackney in east London since it recycles only 25.3% of household waste. Consequently, it would be convenient to locate the business in that region for the sole purpose of improving environmental sustainability in the borough. The grocery will alter consumer buying culture to one that encourages plastic recovery and reduce waste. Packaging free, plastic free and zero-waste concept is a profitable niche in the fast growing economy of Hackney borough. The grocery will also ensure that the desire for plastic free environment is consumer led and will gains a momentum in the area. Getting an ideal location will also involve determining accessibility using public transport and whether the parking lot for private cars is within a walking distance.

Setting up the Shop                                                                          

Before purchase of equipment, it is worth comparing shop prices within different localities of the borough. Rent has an impact on the business monthly expenditure. Note, that strategically located shops have high customer rating and this is rated by how busy the place is, so it is a risk to take into consideration. Once an area is identified, the business will notify the local council for the necessary registration.  Equipment for the store will include, scale system, food dispensers, shop fitting, branding and website design, marketing and advertising which will include posters and canvas bags and miscellaneous including stationary, cleaning brushes and shovel, accessories such as scoops and funnel, lastly aesthetic including plant pots, storage crates, and lighting system. The business plans to buy food dispensers form Martek Food systems while electronic scales and POS will be purchased from Bizerba. Birzeba has come with a technology for ensuring that that containers are weighed first, making zero plastic idea effortless for customers.

Stock Control and Inventory Management                                                             

The initial order made by the business is very important since this is the only time the store will buy everything for sale at once. The major food suppliers will be Essential Trading, Super nutrients and Infinity foods while non food items will be bought directly from the companies. At the beginning of the business, a record will be made showing a list of stock received and that sold. Stock will be categorized depending on the value. The products will be placed based on high, medium and low pricing. Stock will further be identified using both minimum stock level and stock review methods. Minimum stock level will regulate the minimum amount of capital that is qualified for reorder while stock review will be done regularly to predetermine when more stock is required. Other than the two, just in time stock management is equally important, this will allow the management to order items just when they are required. Inventory management to ascertain the value of stock will be done using bar codes to ease the process. Stock will be checked more frequently to avoid massive annual exercise with constant attention all the year long.

Building Relationship with Local Organic Bakeries

Increasing awareness and reasonable pricing will be important in marketing products to local organic bakeries. This will begin by conducting a market research to establish the kind of products sold by local bakeries and their sales trends. In addition, the store will use word of mouth advertisement to increase local presence and awareness. Samples of our products will be given to customers and friend so that they can offer testimonials to bakers so that they can source raw materials from us. The store will also contact local bakeries to trigger their interest in buying the products. The zero plastic grocery will try to be unique as possible since the local bakeries already have suppliers. Convincing the bakeries that our items are worth inclusion in their recipe will only be successful if they are persuaded to include them in their menu.

Ongoing Market Strategies to Be Utilized

The marketing strategy will not be created only when launching the new business but will be created frequently an at times be done annually. The business realizes that market dynamics change constantly and drastically and therefore there will be timely re-evaluation of the business strategy to adapt t consumer changes in business scenarios. The key to success of this business is taking ongoing marketing strategy seriously by understanding causality and good marketing plan execution. The company gather market feedback and conduct market research continuously. The company will constantly conduct marketing audit for the purpose of monitoring sales performance and take a snapshot of the state of marketing strategies implementation.  

Value Proposition

The value for shopping at zero plastic grocery is that it will lead to taking care of the environment and that people will be able save more for the costs of packaging containers (Moss, 2019). With the new strategy, customers will be required to carry their own containers and upon getting into the shops, the containers will be weighed so that weight of the container will be subtracted to attain the actual weight of the product inside the container. Container’s weight will be clearly labelled with a material designed to withstand a number of washes so that the customer does not require going through the same process on the subsequent shopping trip.  Refer a friend scheme will be introduced so that people who refer customers will get discounts upon new client purchase. Reusable bags containing the grocery labels will be provides as a way of marketing the store. Customers will also be refunded money equivalent to the cost of containers after purchase. In addition, customers who buy using zero plastic grocery containers will be given a 10% discount. Home delivery service will be provided using the grocery’s bicycles. Customer loyalty cards that earn points which will be redeemed in the store will be provided to maintain brand fidelity.

Customer Relationship                                                                     

Developing customer relations is one of the challenges faced by businesses although it is not the factor used to determine business success. To achieve a good customer relationship, the grocery will work on developing loyalty to retain long-term and valuable clients. To foster success, the grocery will work to ensure that customer needs are satisfied. Customers will be provided with sufficient information regarding products and will be provided with updates on discounts and other exclusive offers. The grocery will research on ways of offering excellent customer service and search future solutions to eliminate roadblocks that hinder building of positive customer relations. 

Channels

The channels to be used when communicating with customers will include window posters that will be linked to the social media accounts on platforms such as facebook , instagram, and twitter to communicate with the potential before  and after opening the business. The social media platforms will remain relevant by ensuring that all information shared is only about zero plastic grocery, environmental sustainability and healthy eating. Quick responses will be offer and rate customers’ comments. This creates trust between the business and clients since people that know that we are listening. Advertisements will also be placed on local wellness and health magazines. Leaflets will also be issued to people at the malls, bus and railway terminals, and on the high end streets. The group will attend food market trade fairs where it will display its products and offer samples and information regarding zero plastic strategy and provide information focused on healthy eating. Lastly, local school visits will be important since it will provide a platform for reaching the parents through their children.

Customer Segments

Customer segments will be categorized based on the age and income of the target market. While the high end customers and millennials are likely to purchase organic and superfoods for breakfast smoothie, low income families are likely to be more into reasonably low pricing and purchase daily staple food such as rice, beans and oats. Zero plastics is confident of attracting diverse customers and catering for the needs of the majority will attract high sales leading fresher commodities due to high stock turnover.  Other products will be added based on customer request. Flexibility is the key to success of this business.

Cost structure

Fixed costsVariable costs
Rent Expenses Taxes Insurance Fixed assets Licensing Education  Utility Bills Wages and benefits Advertising Repairs and maintenance Stock supplies

Revenue Streams

The revenue for the grocery is mainly dependent on the amount of sales earned through a range of business activities. The main source of revenue will be from daily sales of the products in the store.  Customers will pay cash to get the products and use the purchased goods at all times. Volume selling will also be utilized whereby customers who sell in larger quantities will get discount. Consequently, the sales of a product will be increased. Secondary revenue stream will include selling cake making ingredients to bakers at a low price so that they can bake the cakes for the grocery store.

Social and Environmental Costs

Plastic pollution is not only an environmental problem but also has negative impact on human health and earth species (Toronto Environmental Alliance, n.d.). Everyone on the society is affected by improper disposal of plastic in the landfills and water bodies. It is everyone’s responsibility to slash the quantity of toxins in the environment by plastic at all costs.

Zero plastic grocery call for people to reduce excessive plastic packaging and recycle their containers and bags or shift to biodegradable alternatives. While immediate action is required to reduce plastics, it is worth noting the costs associated with the move. The business idea has ignored the complex issue at hand and left customers with the message that plastic is bad and that biodegradable materials are far much better. Biodegradable materials are only friendly to the environment only if they are disposed correctly. Currently, the UK infrastructure is not modelled to handle biodegradable waste. For proper degradation, the waste requires passing through anaerobic digester or industrial composting facility. When biodegradable waste is disposed into the landfill, they decompose anaerobically   producing methane gas whose green house effect is stronger that carbon dioxide. Introduction of biodegradable packaging should also come with public awareness on its appropriate use. When plastic is recycled, the resulting product is of low quality and contaminated which if disposed in the water bodies produces negative impact on marine life.

Social and Environmental Benefits

Zero plastic grocery protects the environment, supports the local economy and is beneficial to communities. Reducing and recycle of plastic is a crucial part reducing climate change and greenhouse gases emissions (Toronto Environmental Alliance, n.d.). Food packaging using plastics produces green house if they are burnt in the open and when they get into the water bodies, they cause pollution and affect marine creatures. If ingested by fish, plastic can find its way into the food chain. Zero plastics will build the capacity of communities, and protect human health. The idea will empower everyone in the community to participate in reduce, reuse and recycle of waste in their residential areas. The move allows everyone to take part in environmental protection. With zero plastic strategy, there will be sustainable protection for the quality of the future generations (Toronto Environmental Alliance, n.d.). By changing the way communities dispose waste. The strategy will leap social, environmental and economic benefits.

Vision

World without unnecessary packaging with resource preserved for future generations

Mission

Reducing packaging and food waste by developing system which enables society to reuse and refill

Conclusion

The Zero plastic grocery is a unique business idea that will be implemented in the UK for the purpose of reducing environmental pollution. The grocery will reduce unnecessary packaging by encouraging reuse and recycle of packaging materials. The zero plastic grocery, values the importance of working with a network of key partners for success of our idea. Through strategic alliances, the business model will be optimized and be able acquire resources for reducing risks. The most crucial part is that business will ensure partnering with companies that are in the line of business so that collaborative efforts can be made towards success of the business objectives. The partners will include, infinity foods, super nutrients, essential trading, Martek Food Systems, and Bizerba.

References

Bizerba.com. (n.d.). Bizerba USA. [online] Available at: https://www.bizerba.com/en_us/home/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2019].

Essential-trading.co.uk. (n.d.). Essential Trading Co-operative Ltd | Welcome. [online] Available at: https://www.essential-trading.co.uk/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2019].

Infinityfoodswholesale.coop. (n.d.). Home : Infinity Foods Wholesale – Organic, Natural, Gluten-free, GM free and Fairtrade food. [online] Available at: https://www.infinityfoodswholesale.coop/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2019].

Kobie, N. (2019). Zero-waste stores aren’t always better for the environment. [online] Wired.co.uk. Available at: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/plastic-free-zero-waste-stores [Accessed 14 Nov. 2019].

Martekfs.com. (n.d.). Martek Food Systems – Cretors Popcorn Equipment | Trade Fixtures self-serve dispesners. [online] Available at: https://www.martekfs.com/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2019].

Moss, S. (2019). The zero-waste revolution: how a new wave of shops could end excess packaging. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/21/the-zero-waste-revolution-how-a-new-wave-of-shops-could-end-excess-packaging [Accessed 14 Nov. 2019].

Supernutrients. (n.d.). Superfood Wholesale and Bulk Suppliers UK | Supernutrients. [online] Available at: https://www.supernutrients.co.uk/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2019].

Toronto Environmental Alliance. (n.d.). Benefits of Zero Waste. [online] Available at: https://www.torontoenvironment.org/zerowaste_benefits [Accessed 14 Nov. 2019].\

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