Do you remember the ‘mobile shop’? It used to visit neighborhoods once a week in a converted bus or truck, offering a convenient way to purchase those ‘forgotten groceries’ and heavy items. Well, now it’s back with a slight twist on the concept.
Loos is a cycling supermarket where you can do your shopping package-free. The bike travels around Utrecht, revitalizing the sense of community in the city. It’s like a neighborhood superstore, but with a unique twist. Utrecht’s bike-based supermarket brings a sense of neighborhood camaraderie back to the city. It’s a modern take on the traditional neighborhood store.”
Recycling good, packaging-free better
In the Netherlands, they are pretty good at recycling and reuse. In 2016, 1.7 thousand kg of waste was recycled per person, while we produce 2.5 thousand kg of waste per person per year. In terms of reuse, the Netherlands topped the EU in terms of using recycled materials in new production processes. In the Netherlands at the time, that commitment was 29%, mainly thanks to the commitment of the construction sector (CBS.nl).
“We started this because we got frustrated with all the packaging in the supermarket.” – Saskia IJpema, co-founder Loos
Still, it is better to simply produce as little waste as possible. We may be recycling champions, but in terms of waste production, we also topped the list. That is why Loos was created. “After all, it is better not to even produce all the waste,” co-founder Saskia IJpema told BrightVibes.
Loos’ concept is simple: they ride around with a shopping bike; you take a jar, tray, cup or anything else and have your package filled with the groceries you want. Loos gets its own groceries delivered in bulk packs of 5 to 50 kilos, so produces as little waste as possible itself. This is how Loos and Utrechters join forces to fight against packaging and waste production.
Local sense of community
The bike is really an eye-catcher and gets a lot of positive reactions. Neighbours are very excited when the people from Loos explain the story of the ‘super bike’. What they also see is the creation of a regular customer base of people who take each other to or meet at the bike. Saskia: “We then have a chat with those people and it’s nice that we bring the neighbourhood feeling back to the neighbourhood.”
“We are now riding around with one bike, our prototype. Of course, we have many dreams.” – Saskia IJpema
Expanding outside Utrecht
Currently, Loos cycles around the city of Utrecht with one bike, but they obviously dream of more. This bike is the prototype, the first bike. Meanwhile, they are working on new design for a new bike or cart, which will allow them to scale up and expand to other cities. Meanwhile, Utrechters can at least shop package-free at the mobile supermarket.
New year, new routes
During the holidays, Loos will be closed, but in the new year the bike will hit the road again. In due course, Loos will publish new routes on his website. So the cycling local supermarket will visit you in Utrecht, the Netherlands, again and you can go shopping without packaging!