Plastic-Free Groceries: Zero Closes $11.8 Million Seed Round To Expand The US’s ‘Most Sustainable’ Delivery Service

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Californian sustainable packaging grocery startup Zero has scooped $11.8 million in seed funding led by Sway Ventures to continue its recent ‘two hour eco delivery’ expansion across the United States. The company, which delivers a wide range of groceries in plastic-free containers, claims theirs is the fastest service of its kind in the country.

Founded in 2019 by Brit Zuleyka Strasner, Zero is designed to offer a sustainable and cost-effective option to consumers, with an added egalitarian element: the company’s mission to make zero waste accessible to all kinds of consumers, rather than a choice limited to a wealthier demographic. The new delivery service is one way that sustainable shopping is being made simpler.

Zero groceries in sustainable packaging. Photo by Zero.

Serving the community

Zero currently delivers throughout Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. All delivery materials are reusable or compostable. Consumers can choose from a catalogue of more than 2,000 vetted products that represent high-quality, affordability, and low planetary impact. Everything sold is plastic-free and ranges include frozen items, fresh produce, home and self-care products.

“We started off as a membership business, designed for early adopters, which was a great foundation for us,” Zuleyka Strasner, founder and CEO of Zero said in a statement. “Now, as we’re moving into the next growth chapter of the company, our focus remains on servicing our customers in the very best way possible. Zero today is not only faster than most other players in the market, but also retains and continues to build a supply chain of high quality, organic and eco-friendly products, which has filled an important gap in the market. Better products, delivered plastic-free, more affordably, and in under two hours—it’s without compromise.”

2021 saw Zero report a doubling in customer numbers. The orders placed that year saved the equivalent of 35,000 plastic bottles being sent to landfills. The same-day grocery delivery offering has paved the way for predictions of the company’s growth tripling by year-end. Zero identifies this as a signpost for the appetite that consumers have for sustainable convenience. Lead investor, Sway Ventures, agrees.

“We are proud to support Zero, as they move into this exciting stage of the business,” Ken Denman, general partner at Sway Ventures said in a statement. “We believe in the mission of this bold and nimble startup, that aims to reshape the grocery delivery market by ticking all three essential boxes for a successful delivery service model: sustainability, speed, and affordability.” The latest round of funding bring the total raised to $16.5 million to date.

Zero glass jars. Photo by Zero.

The changing face of grocery shopping

Sustainable groceries are gaining traction and not just in the U.S. Dutch startup Pieter Pot revealed it had successfully closed another funding round, in December last year. With €9 million in funding to date, the company is eyeing expansion into wider Europe, including the U.K. It will seek to bring its zero waste supermarket model to as many countries as possible, to slash single-use plastic waste. The operation runs a delivery service that offers next-day availability, with all products arriving in reusable containers. The packaging is collected, washed and put back into delivery circulation. To date, 70,000 deliveries have been made using this model.

Norway is upping the sustainability stakes thanks to Oda. A leading online grocer, the chain has started printing the carbon footprint of grocery deliveries, on customer receipts. Giving consumers a first-hand look at how they are directly impacting the planet has led to a drop in red meat sales and a big uptick in plant-based alternatives.

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  • Amy Buxton

    A long-term committed ethical vegan and formerly Green Queen's resident plant-based reporter, Amy juggles raising a family and maintaining her editorial career, while also campaigning for increased mental health awareness in the professional world. Known for her love of searing honesty, in addition to recipe developing, animal welfare and (often lacklustre) attempts at handicrafts, she’s hands-on and guided by her veganism in all aspects of life. She’s also extremely proud to be raising a next-generation vegan baby.

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