NUDE FOODS: INSIDE CAPE TOWN’S PLASTIC-FREE GROCERY STORE
NUDE FOODS, found in Constitution Street in Zonnebloem, offers waste-free, ethically sourced, and zero-waste shopping for both food, home, and body products.
Sitting proudly at 5 Constitution Street in Zonnebloem, Cape Town, Nude Foods is Cape Town’s original, plastic-free grocery store where shoppers can pick from the highest-quality, sustainable food and products all without the need to fill their bin with waste packaging.
Owned and operated by Paul Rubin, NUDE FOODS offers earth-friendly products – ranging from non-GMO food to home and body products – that are sold by weight. Paul’s aim isn’t to just offer waste-free grocery shopping, but to support local initiatives through savvy partnerships and re-imagining how spaces can be used.
While Paul originally hails from a business and marketing background, he set out to develop a grocery store which today operates from what used to be a parking garage. “We opened in 2017… the idea was really born out of a personal frustration, and the need for an alternative way of shopping that eliminated the unnecessary amount of single-use plastic from the regular grocery shopping experience”, says Paul.
Thanks to multiple partnerships, the grocer stocks organic fruit and vegetables which are supplied through urban agriculture. “All the produce that we sell is completely organic and pesticide-free, and is all locally-sourced”, explains Paul. “We are currently dealing with about 7 or 8 different farms as well as an organisation called Umthunzi, who works with small scale, organic growers, and helps them to get their produce and product to market.”
Shoppers arriving at NUDE FOODS are encouraged to bring their own containers, though brown paper bags and consol jars are available on-demand. Additionally, all materials and equipment at NUDE FOODS are themselves reused or upcycled; this includes not only furniture or food baskets but also includes the likes of wooden shelving, cast-iron bowls, and even a second hand point-of-sale system.
An outdoor area offers dining space for plant-based food, where a food truck delivers vegan delights for connoisseurs. “We focus on healthy, plant-based foods. We are famous for our falafel wraps and also offer salads, smoothies, and gluten-free options”, adds chef Britney Varley.
For shoppers, NUDE FOODS is open from Monday to Saturday – and intends to help customers take steps towards living a more sustainable life and making conscious decisions around what they eat, as well as how they can source and purchase what products they need with as little personal and environmental impact as possible.
“Our ultimate goal is to help create a world that is more sustainable, less wasteful, and healthier”, explains Paul.
“I think it’s important for people who are wanting to live more sustainably to understand that this is a process and that they don’t have to be perfect overnight – by taking small steps and using glass straws instead of plastic straws, or reusable shopping bags, it’s those small steps that add up and create a far bigger impact.”