I launched Roots and Hoots in Brighton which is the first of its kind zero waste online delivery service. We supply more than 600 grocery, personal care and cleaning products in returnable packaging to our customers in an emission-free vehicle.
Once the customers return the packaging we wash these and reuse them for the next delivery, eliminating any packaging wastage. I started the company in Nov 2020 along with my business partner.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
I have always liked the concept of a zero-waste shop as it allows people to buy only how much they like and helps to reduce food wastage. Plus the fact that there is no packaging involved reduces even more wastage from the whole cycle.
But I also know that customers are reluctant to use the zero waste shop as they don’t want to lunge heavy packs from the shop to their house. There are quite a few physical zero waste shops but not many players that deliver such products to your doorstep. Even with those, there is wastage as the packaging used ( paper bags) is wastage.
Hence, I started this company that not only delivers the products to your doorstep but also uses re-usable packaging material (like cotton bags or glass bottles) removing wastage from the process. There is no other company doing this, and only recently Tesco started a trial with a similar service in the UK. Even with Tesco, you need to pay a deposit for the packaging material which is not the case with us. We want people to adopt this new way of life so we are making it as easy as possible for all our customers.
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How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
The company was supposed to start earlier but the onset of the Pandemic pushed the start of the business. we wanted to wait for the situation to come to normal but we didn’t want to lose the first to a market position that was already coming under threat due to Tesco’s move so decided to launch in the middle of a pandemic.
Trying to push through a service where there are multiple touchpoints is a challenge in the time of COVID19 where people are just cautious of how their food comes in. We have taken steps to make the warehouse and our office covid safe and have had to talk to our customers to ensure that they understand the precautions we are taking. The uptake for the service was not high as people probably didn’t want to try a new service in the middle of a pandemic.
What can we hope to see from Roots and Hoots in the future?
Roots and Hoots are trying to push a new way of life. We are taking a leap of faith in our customers to return the packaging and create a closed-loop system. We are just expanding our operations and in the future will expand the operation to cover London and whole of south coast areas.