Published: April 21, 2022 By

Of the 248 million tons of municipal solid waste sent to American landfills in 2014, more than 63 percent of it was packaging materials for food and other goods (  Moreover, 108 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States each year ( The disposable mentality surrounding how we package and sell food is slowly destroying our planet. Thankfully, there are innovative individuals working to change the way we distribute groceries that eliminates food waste and disposable packaging.

I have had the opportunity to work at Boulder’s very first zero-waste grocery store and interview one of the owners/cofounders, Rachel Irons.  Nudefoods is a small zero-waste grocery store and food delivery service in Boulder, Colorado. I asked Rachel about how Nudefoods got started.

“I had this idea earlier in life, and it came back up when I was working for Matt (another founder of NudeFoods) managing his commissary kitchens. And one of them had some extra space. So I was like, ‘Hey matt, what if we started a zero-waste grocery store in that extra room?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, sure, let's do it!’” So they rallied up a team and they made it happen.

I asked Rachel some of the values of Nudefoods. “Zero-Waste is always our first priority,” she says. Products are bought in the largest bulk size available and delivered in reusable, recyclable, and compostable (emphasis on reusable) packaging, then packaged into re-usable glass jars. “The whole point of Nudefoods is to supply food in a way that is sustainable and lighter on the environment.” Nudefoods does more than majorly reduce packaging waste. They rescue food when they can, ensure that meat products are coming from regenerative farms, and they try to buy organic as much as possible to reduce the number of pesticides put into the environment. Rachel even visits the farms where animal products are sourced to make sure they are up to Nudefoods’ sustainability standards. In other words, customers can rest assured that the food they get at Nudefoods is not harming the environment.

Nudefoods is a great example of how one idea can be turned into a reality. When passionate people are on board the idea is executed well, it can change the status quo. Rachel hopes to see this new way of grocery shopping become the new normal, and that circular shopping (shop, bring home, bring back to the shop) is a real option in every major city the way linear shopping (shop, bring home, throw away) is.

The story of Nudefoods is an example of what can be accomplished in a sustainable small business. If you have an idea that you believe helps the environment, you should go for it!






Be sure to try all of Boulder’s zero waste grocery options!