The Cero Market innovation is a market where the customer can purchase the necessary amount of a product without excesses, saving money, preventing waste losses, and considerably reducing the number of plastics used for packaging.
The central SDG that applies is #12: Responsible production and consumption.
The innovation focuses on both aspects of SDG 12 since it encourages a conscious purchase. To be successful, it needed to work with the suppliers for packaging issues.
María Victoria Talenton
Maria Cecilia Stagnitta
Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina
The Cero Market is a container-free market in Argentina, where each customer brings their container and has no minimum purchase amount requirement.
Each market has more than 400 items for sale in the following areas: groceries, ready to prepare food products, cleaning products, beauty products, and pet food.
The process is described below:
a) You weigh your container and put its weight on a label.
b) You choose the product you will buy, fill the container with the amount you want, and enter the product code.
c) You go to the checkout, where the salesperson weighs the container again, discounts its weight, and only charges you the amount you are carrying.
If you did not bring your container, you could buy one there. They have different types: jars and glass bottles in various sizes, kraft paper bags, and cloth bags.
For cleaning products, since the regulations for packaging traceability are stricter, they have agreements with suppliers. In this case, the system is different. You have to buy the first container at the store, which is approved by the supplier. Then, you fill it with the amount of product you want, always respecting the product to which the original container corresponds. Then they change the label with the traceability code to know the batch of products you are buying. In the event the label or packaging is broken, they make the change without extra charge.
The inspiration for Ana Pierre, the founder, came “from my concern as a responsible consumer, not as an environmentalist. I was wasting a lot of time looking for places where I could consume specific small quantities and without packaging”. So, she decided to face this challenge.
After discussing this idea with her current partner, they realized many people had the same concern. Given that Argentina did not offer this type, Ana began to investigate and found out that this alternative exists in other countries. Ana made exploratory trips to England, France, and Italy to gather information on already underway ventures.
When she returned, they started the project, which includes a lot of additional work since the suppliers did not prepare for this, even the furniture suppliers for the aisle display.
The innovation had an incredibly positive impact. Since the opening (four months ago), they have received more than 300 inquiries for the franchise.
Cero market was a need for many conscious shoppers, and these entrepreneurs found a real business opportunity for a triple impact venture.
In the first instance, some of the suppliers denied the possibility of selling without packaging have subsequently communicated to reevaluate the proposal given the positive impact.
The innovation is the business itself, which exceeded all expectations.
They have budgeted a break-even forecast to be reached on the fourth month of operations, and they reached it on inauguration day.
They had 300 inquiries for franchises since they opened. Franchises have two formats: Mini Cero with a full-stock merchandise format and Essential Cero, a smaller store, where only the products with the highest turnover are sold. They had closed two openings soon, one in San Isidro and another in Recoleta. They are also working on an agreement in Uruguay to open stores there with another Brand.
In terms of social impact, they believe they educate people on how to be a more conscious buyer. Impact occurs in small changes in habits, and this becomes tangible with their purchase at Cero Market, choosing zero wastes, local production, no single-use plastics, etc.
They thought the business would have a more significant impact on the millennial population. They are a generation with a greater awareness of environmental care, but they have clients of all ages.
To encourage responsible consumption, the owners seek to offer affordable prices and show that by comparing other traditional providers' counter prices.
In terms of environmental impact, there is a clear reduction in packaging and food waste. Taking as a reference some regular home products purchases, in a month and a half, Cero Market operations have reduced:
- 550 packages o 550 gr of noodles
- 868 packages of 500 gr of rice
- 265 bottles of 1 lt of oil
Ana Pierre, Change something so that everything changes
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Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, AR
Business Website: http://ceromarketargentina.com/
Year Founded: 2020
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
Cero Market is the first container-free market in Argentina, where each customer brings their container and with no minimum purchase amount required.
It is a different shopping experience, a conscious purchase, designed to take care of the environment, reduce food waste, and promote purchases from local suppliers.
Cero Market opened its doors in July 2020 and, a few months later, in November 2020, it certified as a B-company.