Dutch waste-free online supermarket Pieter Pot has made its first delivery in Belgium today, and announces Germany is next on the agenda. The webshop offers some 300 products in bulk, including A-brands like Callebaut, Haribo and Heinz.
Pieter Pot's concept is relatively straight-forward: the company buys its products (such as biscuits, coffee, nuts and pasta) in bulk, and then fills reusable glass jars. The jars are delivered to the customers' homes by Post NL Food, who at the same time takes the empty jars from the previous order back to Pieter Pot. Consumers pay a 2 euro deposit per jar, which they get refunded as they return it. The Dutch start-up says it has already saved over a million disposable packagings this way.
Asked how sustainable home deliveries can be, founder Jouri Schoemaker told Belgian newspaper De Tijd that "Every time someone chooses for groceries in reusable jars, they lower their carbon footprint. The impact of producing glass jars is indeed substantial, but it is offset by the many times the jar is reused. As for the double transport (to the customer and back): analysis has shown that the total climate impact is still far lower than going to the supermarket and buying groceries in single-use packaging."
Schoemaker says that at least 50,000 orders per month are necessary in order to break even, and his company currently handles almost 20,000 orders monthly. 8,000 Belgians are on the waiting list to start using Pieter Pot, but a large push towards profitability should come next year, when an expansion to Germany is planned. "In addition to geographical expansion, we are looking into which improvements would allow us to reach more consumers in our current markets: a wider product range, launching an app, or developing our own jars in order to streamline distribution... We hope to reach break-even by the end of 2022."
This will by no means be self-evident, as Pieter Pot is experiencing some growing pains. The Belgian launch had recently been postponed a few weeks because of logistical problems, but the first Belgian delivery has now been made in Antwerp. In the next few weeks, the company will start deliveries in the rest of Belgium. "But only to Dutch-speaking customers", a spokesperson told RetailDetail: "There are currently no plans for a French-language version of Pieter Pot."