While staying in Mexico City I had access to a kitchen so I wanted to cook as many meals as I could and also have bulk snacks on me while I was walking around. Everything here is wrapped in single use plastic, so unless you're prepared, it can be tricky to navigate this city while striving to be zero waste. Here are the places I found that had items you can buy in bulk... "sin plástico"
This brand has four convenient locations and caters to those seeking out certified organic, natural food. It's like the boutique version of Whole Foods (minus the prison labour). I wandered into about three of the stores without realizing, until writing this post, that they are all under the same ownership. They are cute and some of them have little restaurants attached where you can get fresh squeezed juices and meals with vegetarian/gluten free options. The bulk bins mostly contain nuts, seeds, grains and other snacks. The Amsterdam Market had the best selection for my needs. Mexico doesn't have much regulation regarding food labels, so these stores are great if you want to know exactly where your food is coming from. This was also one of the few places I could find a mason jar...it cost me about 60 pesos (4.00USD), but I was happy to find one, since I forgot mine at the airport. *sigh* ...zero waste problems.
Click here for locations and hours.
I did most of my shopping at markets, and Mexico City has plenty of food markets where you can find fresh organic produce. The produce isn't labelled organic due to lack of regulation and cost. Your best bet is to look for produce without stickers; this usually guarantees that it hasn't been sitting around and was most likely picked that day by local, independent growers. You can also find everything imaginable in bulk, I was quite surprised at all the spices and snacks that could be bought.
I was lucky enough to go to Central de Abasto, it's the biggest wholesale market in Mexico City, it's where all the restaurants and smaller sellers go to get their products. It was huge and overwhelming at times but I did manage to do pretty much all my grocery shopping here for under 150 pesos (9.00USD). You do have to be very firm about not wanting things in plastic bags though, for the most part this confused a lot of merchants and they didn't understand why I would deny their offer of wrapping and sometimes even double wrapping every item in a plastic. I realized that the zero waste concept is almost non existent here, but I stayed true and did my shopping without the use of any plástico! This market is definitely worth checking out for the experience. This market is open 7 days a week from 6am-8pm.
Mercade el 100 is the first market in Mexico City that is entirely certified organic and green, it is located in Roma, a trendy neighbourhood. It has the same feel as a farmers market. Not only is everything organic but everything is also grown within 100 miles of Mexico City. This is the market to go to if you want to support environmental practices. It's much smaller than Central de Abasto but I managed to get everything I needed and this would definitely be my go-to market for produce, bread, chocolate and more. It's open on Sundays from 9:30am - 2:30pm.
There's lots of fresh, nutritious, delicious food all over Mexico City and it seems that there is a push for more green practices. Grocery shopping was a lot of fun and definitely worth experiencing while here.