Online supermarket Pieter Pot raises € 2.7 million to make circular packaging for groceries the norm
The Dutch startup Pieter Pot raises € 2.7 million to meet the great consumer demand for sustainable alternatives to single use packaging. The ‘packaging-free’ online supermarket now serves the whole of the Netherlands and in total some 30,000 consumers have signed up for the waiting list. Also, major brands are partnering with Pieter Pot. The capital injection will be used to scale operations and develop Pieter Pot’s own circular packaging.
Martijn Bijmolt (28) and Jouri Schoemaker (30) have been working for just over one year on the online supermarket with a circular packaging system that makes the sustainable choice also the convenient choice. Often, the sustainable option still takes too much effort, energy and money. "Pieter Pot changes this. Online delivery means that no one has to carry around jars (‘pot’ in Dutch) and the product range can be much larger than in physical ‘packaging-free’ shops. In addition, we offer our products at prices that are comparable to ordinary supermarkets," says Schoemaker. "With our playful brand and jars that don’t need to be hidden, we show that it's much more fun to go shopping without all the packaging waste.”
The approach gets traction. Last year Jouri and Martijn operated from an attic room and they served their city, Rotterdam, on a cargo bike. After a crowdfunding campaign that raised half a million Euros at the end of 2019, Pieter Pot is serving all of the Netherlands. A year later, the ambition has increased which gets noticed. Three impact-oriented venture capital funds, SHIFT Invest (also the party behind Vandebron), Future Food Fund and InnovationQuarter, together invest € 2.7 million in Pieter Pot. Janneke Bik, Peter Arensman and Tijl Hoefnagels on behalf of the investors: "It is impressive what Pieter Pot has achieved in a relatively short period of time. With this investment, they will be able to scale up operations, serve the tens of thousands of people on the waiting list and develop their own circular packaging. Every person in the Netherlands uses an average of around 25kg of plastic per year. Pieter Pot's solution can make an important contribution to the reduction of single-use packaging and make circular packaging for groceries the norm.”
120,000 single-use packaging reduced
Pieter Pot is having an impact in two ways: reducing of packaging waste and decreasing the CO2 footprint of consumers. In one and a half years, 121,318 single use containers have already been saved. The impact of this is enormous, even compared with recyclable packaging. Alternative packaging, which potentially can be recycled, have a higher CO2 footprint than the circular jars of Pieter Pot. "Even if packaging gets recycled, it still costs a lot of energy. You can compare it to a bottle or a can of beer: bottles are the more sustainable option after they have been reused around 10 times", says Schoemaker.
Haribo, Heinz and Ecover partner with Pieter Pot
More and more A-brands want their products in Pieter Pot’s circular packaging. The first big brands that are now also available in the jars of Pieter Pot are Haribo, Heinz and Ecover. In the near future, their products will be sold in new jars, especially designed by Pieter Pot. These jars will be more user friendly and lighter, giving them an even lower CO2 footprint.
About Pieter Pot
Pieter Pot is the first online supermarket to deliver ‘packaging-free’ groceries by filling products in reusable jars and delivering them to consumers. The jars contain food and non-food products from both the Pieter Pot private label and well-known A brands, from rice to sweets, from olive oil to shampoo. Empty pots are taken back to be washed and refilled; a circular process which reduces the large number of (plastic) packaging.
About SHIFT Invest
SHIFT Invest is a Dutch venture capital fund that invests in innovations in food & agriculture, clean (bio-based) technologies, circularity and smart materials. Through its investments, SHIFT strives to create environmental impact alongside financial return. Together with the fund partners, SHIFT offers entrepreneurs a broad network and knowledge of the sector. SHIFT is managed by New Balance Impact Investors (NBI), an experienced team of investment professionals and entrepreneurs. NBI manages five venture capital funds, backed by strong and involved partners that share their mission of turning investments into impact
Future Food Fund is a € 12m seed capital fund, founded and funded by 30 entrepreneurs. Mainly with a background in food&agri and technology, these entrepreneurs wish to actively contribute to the success of the fund, not only with money, but also with experience and network. Future Food Fund is aimed at Dutch companies that want to impact the food&agri sector with innovative technology and / or disruptive business models.
InnovationQuarter is the regional economic development agency for Zuid-Holland. InnovationQuarter invests in innovative companies from Zuid-Holland with growth ambitions, assists international companies in establishing themselves in this unique delta region and organises (international) cooperation between innovative entrepreneurs, knowledge institutions and the government. Together with the business community, InnovationQuarter develops Zuid-Holland into one of the most innovative regions in Europe.
As a lifecycle financier InnovationQuarter provides companies with financing in different phases of growth. InnovationQuarter invests from three funds: IQCapital, UNIIQ and ENERGIIQ.