Naked Foods | Partner Spotlight

Naked Foods Organic Health Food Store is a chain of bulk food stores founded in 2012 by entrepreneur Caique Ponzoni and his wife Georgina.

Naked Foods is a values driven organisation brought to life from a passion for healthy living, sustainable and wholesome eating. The idea behind Naked Foods is all about natural food direct from nature and without the unwanted dressings of modern processing and packaging. The store emphasises sustainable consumption and minimising environmental impacts through their ethos and packaging. Their produce can be bought in brown paper bags, filled by scoop from bulk drums and customers are encouraged/incentivised to bring their own containers.

We interviewed Naked Foods founder Caique Ponzoni to learn more about Naked Foods story and the nude food revolution in Australia.

1. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. We are huge fans of Naked Foods - great name! Can you tell us where the idea originated from? Why did you choose Naked Foods and how did it all begin?

I grew up in Brazil and my grandparents used to shop at our local markets. The markets had an abundance of dried fruits and nuts, all fresh from local farmers. It was something I loved as a child and after moving to Australia, I was nostalgic that kind of food and the way it was served. 

Naked Foods started when my wife, Georgina, and I opened a stall in a Sydney farmers market. We started by selling fresh herbs and spices, roasted nuts and teas. From there the stall grew to other markets, and we added dried fruits and other snacks to our range. Eventually the demand was so high that we opened our first store in Bondi Junction. That store was a labour of love, long nights and a lot of hands-on labour.

Since then, Naked Foods has opened 21 stores Australia-wide and were so inspired with the feedback and support we receive from our customers  we cant wait to see whats next!

2. Have you always been passionate about food, health and wellbeing? What is your mission?

As a child, I was quite overweight, but at age 14 everything changed for me. I started running and eating well and placed so much more importance on my health than I previously had. It felt great and fuelled my passion for health and wellbeing. Since then, Ive moved to an organic wholefood diet. I love to run and ride my bike and always encourage my family to live a healthy and active life. Georgina and I are very conscious of the ingredients our family consumes and handpick every single Naked Foods product to reflect our values.

3. Naked Foods encourages customers to move towards a Zero Waste lifestyle. For some people, moving away from plastic packaging can seem like a daunting and overwhelming task. Can you offer our readers some simple tips and tricks to kick-start them on their Zero Waste journey? 

Its definitely a challenge to move away from plastic in our modern society but its getting easier. Were huge advocates at looking in your bin to work out how to make changes. You have a lot of food scraps in there? Start a compost bin or share it with someone who wants compost (theres websites for that!).Or maybe youve got lots of food packaging? Bring your own jars and containers to your local Naked Foods and fill them up instead of using any bags. Start simple and dont beat yourself up if its imperfect. We need millions of people doing zero waste imperfectly, not hundreds doing it perfectly. 

4. We just love your way with words, your message, put so eloquently, Undressing your diet exposes you to the very best nature has to offer strikes a chord. How do you spread your message and engage with your community to bring about the change you want to see?

Thank you! Thats something were always working on. We want to lead by example and are currently working with our head office building manager to implement compost and more recycling stations. Were also in the process of adding jar and bag sharing stations, and toothbrush recycling bins in our stores (teaming up with Terracycle)! We love to listen to our customers to hear their biggest challenges, and try to find ways that we can help.

5. What are some of the biggest challenges you face running a bulk food store? 

Since we sell hundreds of health foods and many lesser known products, our staff take on a lot of responsibility when it comes to advising and assisting customers. We often hire nutritionists or staff with a very strong knowledge of health and diet  its a big responsibility to advise customers on nutritional intake. 

6. Lets talk about attitudes for a minute. Have you noticed a general change in attitudes and behaviours when it comes to our food? How people have responded to Naked Foods? 

Naked Foods arrived around the time when the health movement in Australia was really taking off. Since then, we watched awareness about nutrition and wellness evolve as customers become more conscious of what theyre putting in their bodies. Its amazing to see individuals taking their health into their own hands and understanding the importance of diet on their overall mental and physical wellbeing  I think social media also plays a big role in that awareness. People are also thinking more about longevity  not only what theyre putting in their body now, but also what that will mean for their future.

7. Can you talk to your packaging choices? What was the thought process behind the way you chose your packaging? Can you offer any advice to other businesses that want to transition from packaged foods to an environmentally friendly/no-package concept? 

This is one of my favourite things about our store. For people who have never shopped in bulk, its super simple  when you come in store, you can either bring your own containers or use our brown paper bags. You can take as much or as little as you need.

8. Seven years into the Naked Food journey what are some of the positive stories and environmental impacts that you can celebrate?

We came into an entirely new market and were able to innovate with a new concept. The growing environmental movement has allowed us to continue to grow and be supported by the public.

9. We are so excited to follow your journey. What do you hope Naked will achieve in the next 5 years?

Were looking to take Naked Foods internationally, which is super exciting for us. Were also working on becoming a more educational platform to empower our customers with the knowledge and tools they need to tread more lightly on our Earth. Something else thats very dear to us (and highly requested) is taking the Naked Foods shopping experience into remote and rural areas and thats something were currently planning for!

10. Finally, is there anything else you would like to add or something that you would like to share with our readers? 

Chase your dreams, work hard and stay true to your values.

Naked Foods | @nakedfoods