North West’s first bulk foods store opens in Exmouth

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Jess and Gerard Smith inside their Ningaloo Bulk Foods store.
Camera IconJess and Gerard Smith inside their Ningaloo Bulk Foods store. Credit: Alicia Perera

A young Exmouth couple are making inroads in the war on waste by opening what is believed to be the first wholly bulk foods store north of Perth.

Ningaloo Bulk Foods opened in the Exmouth CBD in early March, giving people the opportunity to purchase items ranging from spices to pasta to shampoo in the quantities they need by filling up reusable containers or compostable bags.

The store is an initiative of long-term residents Jess and Gerard Smith, who came up with the idea after starting to adopt a zero waste lifestyle and finding they could only do so much with the resources available in town.

Mrs Smith, who has witnessed the damaging impact of plastic on the environment in her work as a marine biologist, said she hoped the store would offer people in the North West a convenient way to help reduce their levels of plastic waste.

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“In the past few years, so many people have become more conscious of the environment and the waste they create,” she said.

“To be able to learn about that and then to actually have a way to do something about that individually, it really empowers people.”

“This store is about giving them the option to choose to live that way, where they never had that option before.”

Ningaloo Bulk Foods is modelled on established bulk foods stores elsewhere in WA and Australia including nationwide franchise The Source.

The Smiths have invested their own savings into setting up the store and have a focus on making its products affordable and convenient.

Mrs Smith said the business was already having an impact, with customers having saved an estimated 2000 plastics bags in its first month of operation alone.

“You’ve got to start somewhere and I think Exmouth is a good starting point, because we have the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef right on our doorstep and we really want to protect this area,” she said.

“By starting here, hopefully that will get the message across to other regional towns that it can be done, because if it can be done in a tiny town of 2000 people, then why can’t it be done somewhere like Karratha, which has a much bigger population?”

Mrs Smith said she also planned to offer waste minimisation workshops and a delivery service from the store in future.

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