The Source has saved 50 million plastic bags from being used, according to its website. Photo Credit: Ms Sarah Widjaja

They share the same ethos: eat healthy, go plastic-free and buy only what you need.

They also share the same target market: health-conscious and eco-conscious consumers.

But instead of seeing each other as rivals, The Source Bulk Foods and Scoop Wholefoods believe the Singapore market is big enough to sustain their zero-waste bulk food stores.

Unlike usual supermarkets in Singapore, food from The Source does not come packaged, which allows shoppers to buy the exact amount they need. Photo Credit: Ms Sarah Widjaja

Ms Sarah Widjaja, the Singapore franchise partner of Australian retailer The Source Bulk Foods, said: “There’s room in the market for everyone and we all have our own unique selling points. At the end of the day, our mission is to promote sustainable, eco-friendly habits, so the more stores that do this, the better.”

The first outlet of The Source Bulk Foods in Singapore opened its door at Cluny Court in July 2019. Before Ms Widjaja started running The Source, she was already a fan of the brand during her stay in Australia.

Ms Widjaja is a health and fitness enthusiast who is also a certified nutritional therapy practitioner. Photo Credit: Ms Sarah Widjaja

“I loved the fact that The Source allows you to buy exactly what you need, which reduces food wastage and saves you money,” said the 27-year-old, adding that she also appreciated the availability of dairy-free and gluten-free products there for people with food intolerances like her.

Confident that there’s a growing demand for allergen-friendly products, she opened one more outlet at Great World City. She also believes that more Singaporeans will support sustainable shopping.

“Our customers appreciate the fact that there’s no minimum purchase in our stores. You can literally buy what you need, so if you need a teaspoon of cinnamon for the cake recipe you’re trying out, then that’s all you need to pay for,” she said.

Ms Widjaja added: “People now are becoming more conscious about how much plastic they use, so many of our customers are receptive to the fact that you can bring your own jars and containers to refill at The Source.”

Scoop Wholefoods is another Australian bulk food brand that has expanded its footprints in Singapore. After opening its first store in Tanglin Mall in April 2019, it now has four other outlets at Paya Lebar Quarter, Jem, Paragon and Great World City.

Besides food, Scoop Wholefoods also sells sustainably-made products like soap bars and dishwashing liquid. Photo Credit: Scoop Wholefoods

Ms Amy Kirk, 32, General Manager of Scoop Wholefoods Australia, said: “[With Singapore] being a small island with almost everything imported, the introduction of a bulk store to help the community reduce their waste of food and single-use packaging was something [our Singapore-based partners] felt very strongly about.”

The eco-friendly store’s zero-waste philosophy is based on three fundamental factors – no food waste, no single-use plastic waste and no financial waste. According to Ms Kirk, the company has avoided using 1.5 million plastic bags to date.

Scoop Wholefood stores are constructed with recycled, biodegradable or sustainable materials. Photo Credit: Scoop Wholefoods

Many people want to live more low-waste lifestyles but without the platforms to do so it can be very tricky to make those changes,” said Ms Kirk.

She added: “Our stores make it easier for consumers to make those positive swaps not only for the planet but also for their health.”

Edited By: Adiel Rusyaidi Ruslani and Charlotte Chang

Proofread By: Teo Yin Yan and Tricia Kuan