An Interview with: Raphael De Ry
Raphael De Ry is an entrepreneur and owner of Edgar, an organic bulk food store in Hong Kong. The shop encourages customers to bring their own containers to cut down on unnecessary packaging and to reduce the carbon footprint.
Originally from Switzerland, Raphael is one of the most prominent game changers in town.
Q: How and when did you come up with the idea of opening the zero waste food store?
A: Initially, I imported healthy organic snacks for infants from Europe. I’d become a father and it was my biggest motivation. Later, I discovered a concept of zero waste stores and decided to implement it here in Hong Kong.
Q: What was the response from your target audience? Is it very different from Europe?
A: Consumers in Asia are very concerned about health benefits. As they are educating themselves more on natural and organic food, we see the increasing demand in our products. I’m pretty sure they will catch up quickly with more mature markets, such as Europe and the US.
Q: What are your daily challenges in running Edgar and what are the solutions?
A: We only opened Edgar in June so it will take more time and effort to promote the concept of zero-packaging and eco-friendly bulk buying. However, we are seeing a growing interest from our customers and the fact that their behaviour is changing. It will take time for this new way of shopping to become a normal habit; we need to keep pushing forward, encouraging and enabling people to make small changes day by day.
Q: Does it mean that you are planning to expand your business in Hong Kong?
A: I am certainly considering this option. Hong Hong has a growing community of zero wasters and the like. People are becoming more concerned about the environment and their own health. Our role is to provide the best solutions.
Find more about Raphael and his store here.