Haribo, Heinz and Ecover have joined the product line of the zero-waste circular economy online supermarket

By Murielle Gonzalez

Pieter Pot founders
From left: Pieter Pot founders Martijn Bijmolt and Jouri Schoemaker

Dutch start-up Pieter Pot has raised €2.7 million in seed funding. The business, a packaging-free online supermarket, serves the whole of the Netherlands and has reported having nearly 30,000 consumers in the waiting list. The company also revealed that premium brands are joining its product portfolio.

Three impact-oriented venture capital funds participated in the seed round – Shift Invest, Future Food Fund and InnovationQuarter.

Pieter Pot was founded in 2018 by Jouri Schoemaker and Martijn Bijmolt to create a packaging-free online supermarket that combines sustainability with convenience – and it does that by delivering groceries to consumers’ doors in reusable glass jars.

The pots contain food and non-food products from the Pieter Pot in-house brand and well-known A-brands – from rice to sweets, from olive oil to shampoo. Empty pots are taken back for washing and refilling – a circular process that eliminates the need for plastic packaging.

“By delivering, nobody has to lug around pots and the range can be much larger than in physical packaging-free stores,” said Schoemaker. “Moreover, we offer our products for prices that are comparable to the normal supermarket. With our playful brand and beautiful glass jars, we show that it is much more fun to go shopping without all that packaging waste.”

The sustainability and convenience approach is resonating with consumers. The duo of entrepreneurs began the business from an attic room and served their home city, Rotterdam, on a cargo bike. After a crowdfunding campaign that raised €500,000 the end of last year, Pieter Pot delivers throughout the Netherlands.

Speaking on behalf of the investors, Janneke Bik, Peter Arensman and Tijl Hoefnagels said: “It is impressive what the Pieter Pot team has achieved in a relatively short time. With this investment, they can scale up the operation, serve the tens of thousands of people waiting and develop their own circular packaging.”

The investors argued that every Dutch person uses an average of around 25 kg of plastic per year. “Pieter Pot’s solution can make a significant contribution to reducing this and making circular messages the standard.”

Pieter Pot is now making an impact in two areas: reduction of packaging waste and lowering the carbon footprint of consumers. A total of 121,318 one-way packaging has already been saved in eighteen months.

The start-up argued the impact of this business is greater than recyclable packaging, because the alternative packaging, which can be recycled, also has a much higher carbon footprint than Pieter Pot’s reusable glass jars. “Recycling still consumes a lot of energy. You can compare it to a bottle on a can of beer: bottles are the more sustainable option after they have been circulated 10 times,” said Schoemaker.

Premium brands have appreciated the mission of Pieter Pot and decided to join. Haribo, Heinz and Ecover are the first to team up with the start-up and their products are expected to be sold in new pots specially designed by the start-up. These pots are becoming more user-friendly and lighter, resulting in an even lower carbon footprint.

Date published: 25 November 2020

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