The COVID-19 pandemic has created a heightened need for restaurants to handle delivery and take-out orders, as more people have been ordering meals. However, concerns for the environment have not diminished. The Singaporean company, barePack, has thus offered a solution that benefits both restaurants and the environment with an alternative to single-use plastic. We spoke with Nicolas Piffeteau, associate and head of barePack’s operation in France, to get a better understanding of the company’s take on Paris Region, the circular economy, and their solution for a more sustainable future.
Can you tell us a bit about barePack, their operations in France (and more precisely in Paris Region), and your role within the firm?
barePack is a zero-waste solution for food delivery and take-away. We built a reuse ecosystem where restaurants deliver waste free meals to their customers. barePack is directly inspired by the sharing economy. People can get their containers from one vendor and drop them off at another restaurant.
I am Nicolas Piffeteau, associate and head of the operations in France. I lead the development of the service and we have already convinced 100 restaurants our two delivery platforms (Eatic.fr and resto.paris) to join our network since January 2021.
What led barePack to set up business in Paris Region?
barePack was first launched in Singapore in 2020 by French expats. And France is a very fertile region for waste reduction initiatives. The “loi antigaspillage” (anti-waste law) in 2016 and 2021 created a favorable regulatory environment with progressive measures to eliminate single-use plastic.
Paris Region’s food scene is very influential worldwide, so it was very important for us to be there as a proof of our concept and as a step towards bringing the reuse movement to a bigger scale.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business operations in Paris Region?
Of course COVID-19 impacted our operations but not always in a bad way. We provide restaurants reusable containers for free (membership is paid by the end users), and therefore, we have been helping many restaurants to transition towards take-away and deliveries without having to invest in expensive single use packaging.
Do you have any recruitment plans for the next 3 years?
barePack is growing fast and we expect the recruitment of 3 more persons in 2021. The plan is to build a support team in Paris Region and then to expand to other French cities. We are only at the beginning of the reuse revolution and there is already so much to do in Paris Region. With a network of 100 restaurants, we are already the largest reuse network in France.
What is the circular economy and how can it represent an advantage for businesses?
The circular economy principles enable us not only to reduce our impact on the environment but also to make businesses more efficient. For example, single-use packaging costs on average 30 cents per meal while the net cost per utilisation of reusable containers is between 2 and 5 cents. It makes a real difference for restaurants especially since food deliveries skyrocketed with COVID-19.
What has been a key success factor in your launch in France?
Right from the beginning of our adventure in France, we had the chance to partner with the leader of reusable containers in France: MonBento. They are originally from Clermont Ferrand and make design lunchboxes.
They have been committed to developing containers that fit the specific needs of the restaurants and of the reuse players like us. Partnering with MonBento gave us more legitimacy for French users but also key insights and strategic leads.
In 3 words, how would you describe (business in) Paris Region?
innovative, impactful, demanding
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