Comp Shop: Tare Market in Minneapolis
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
They call themselves “Minnesota’s First Zero-Waste Shop” and are committed to helping “the everyday person live trash-free by providing package free and plastic free goods.” Given consumer interest in sustainability, food waste and related topics, there are viable ideas for implementation in traditional retail that can be assimilated from Tare Market.
Buying Bulk at Tare Market.
From spices to oils and vinegar to soaps and household cleaners to lotion, Tare offers a variety of bulk items in multiple categories that have a history of using plastics as containers. For these items, the shopper brings in their own container, weighs it on a scale, tares the scale to zero (where the name comes from is right here in this step), adds the amount of the bulk item he/she wants into the container, and records the weight on the container using a wax pen provided.
While most grocery retailers have bulk bins for nuts, dried fruits, and a host of other food items, the concept could be taken to the Tare level by allowing consumers to bring their own containers and to expand the product assortment to include personal care and household cleaning products. Implementing this idea attracts a new market of younger consumers who are concerned about packaging waste. Offering spices in this way allows shoppers to buy exactly the amount they need vs. an entire bottle, which can increase their willingness to try new spices in new recipes.
Colleague Shari Steinbach, MS, RDN often talks about the concept of educational selling, and Tare Market uses this concept to promote products consumers may not have high familiarity with or be reluctant to buy. While a shopper might come into the store looking for bulk oils or cleaners, explaining how a new-to-the-shopper product is used can encourage a purchase. The toothpaste powder and mouthwash tablets shown here are great examples. Tare also increases sales by selling complementary items, such as a tongue cleaner and bamboo toothbrush holder.
Today’s consumers consider sustainability under their personal health and wellbeing journey and being the store to offer new concepts such as this can increase shopper loyalty and build trust with the consumer, leading to future and expanded dialogue in areas of health and wellbeing. Store level retail RDs seeking new ways to engage with shoppers in the aisle (since food samples are off the table) can showcase interest products like these and engage shoppers on how to use.
Expanded Recycling Programs
Many retailers offer bag recycling programs but expanded options can attract new or loyal shoppers into the store, who will undoubtedly purchase more products since they’re there. Tare Market offers recycling of candy and snack wrappers and plastic cards like old credit or bank cards. These unique recycling options give shoppers a reason to visit and attach a “doing the right thing” sentiment to your retailer’s brand.
Retail RDs can explore expanded recycling options available in their states, and pitch leadership on the benefits of an expanded recycling program.
The success of Tare Market is clear in the fact that they have thrived during the pandemic, despite having opened in 2019. If your travels bring you to Minnesota, Tare Market is definitely worth a visit to explore how these concepts could be integrated into your retailer’s health and wellbeing offerings.