When Verity Noble moved from London to Boulder eight years ago or so, she was surprised to learn the city, so in-tune as it is with natural foods and sustainability, didn’t have a market dedicated to bulk foods. Sure, there were the bulk aisles at some grocery stores, but she says she found herself “schlepping” up to Simply Bulk Market in Longmont to get her fix, and then questioned the overall eco-benefit of buying natural food in bulk if it meant driving so far.
So Noble, and a team of three other cofounders, created Nude Foods Market, which launched in July 2020 and delivers curated boxes, ugly produce, bulk staples, prepared goods, local packaged products and more, by bicycle. People can buy an item once or subscribe to regular deliveries for a discount. One can order, say, day-old challah bread for $2, pasture-raised eggs for $7 a dozen or, for $25, a box of “rescued” produce — too misshapen, discolored or damaged for the regular stores, but still fine to eat — which rotates with the season and is sourced from local farms during the summer, and local hydroponic farms and other suppliers in the winter. The prepared goods are made in-house and rotate based on ingredients and season (try sweet potato chili or the organic lemony lentil soup, to start).
From the chaos that was 2020, some businesses found opportunities where others saw challenges. Nude Foods fits in the former category. The original plan was to have customers come in to shop, but the team decided to shift to an online model, and Noble says that several months of everyone ordering everything online helped eliminate any hesitation to order food in such a manner.
“I think the pandemic really helped us, which is unusual,” she says. “People got used to ordering online. We have a lot of older clients before the pandemic who would’ve been like, ‘What? Ordering online? No,’ whereas now they’re much more used to it.”
Plus, she says, the glass jars food comes in are easy to wipe down and, of course, assert Boulder’s focus on sustainability.
The small leadership team of Nude Foods is uniquely suited to launch such a business, with skills culled from the food, business and startup worlds — for instance, one of the founders owns commissary kitchens in town and works with food producers to source their food and put it in the glass jars, which are then sold through Nude Foods.
“It’s definitely a joint effort. Everyone’s got different skill sets. Everyone is really good at what they do,” Noble says.
Noble came to Boulder after being headhunted to work at an incubator of sorts for impact companies. She figured it’d be a fun foray into the U.S., but like so many others, once she got to Boulder, she realized, “Oh I love it, it’s amazing.”
So she called her husband and they decided to make a go of it in Colorado. If that sounds like a big move, Noble says it’s in her blood to build things and move boldly: “My parents were both entrepreneurs. This is in my blood.”
Nude Foods has been a hit with the community, Noble says, validating her hunch that there was an appetite for such a business in the city. Sales have grown about 10% every week since the launch last year, and so now the company is looking to find a bigger location and add an extra delivery day (right now, deliveries are made on Wednesdays).
After such a positive response, the bulk store itself is bulking up.
Visit nudefoodsmarket.com to order and find more information.