We are launching the Oat Float, a zero waste food delivery service for Bristol. We will deliver top quality food and other household essentials in our gorgeous ‘70s electric milk float.
One side of the Oat Float will be packed full of delicious food, the other will be full of high-quality, earth-friendly toiletries and cleaning products. Customers can refill at the Float along with their neighbours, or if they're busy (or just feeling less sociable!) they can leave containers outside the door for us to refill. Our aim is to make mindful and sustainable shopping easy and affordable again. We want food that’s not wrapped in plastic to be accessible to more people, and that’s what the Oat Float is all about.
We will stock a wide range of products for people to refill. This will include groceries like pasta, rice and pulses, dried fruit and nuts, treats for kids, high-grade cooking oils, kitchen and bathroom liquids, tea and coffee and many more. Our range will be tasty, ethically sourced, and locally produced whenever possible.
This is more important now than ever. In lockdown, household plastic waste in the UK increased from 99 to 128 pieces per week according to the Everyday Plastics Survey. That’s 6,658 pieces a year, contributing to the 295 BILLION pieces of plastic that the UK throws away every year. We are second only to the US in countries that produce the most plastic waste. But don’t despair! This means that by cutting plastic consumption, we can have a meaningful impact on reducing the amount thrown away every year. Individual buying decisions really do matter.
Our market research of 160 potential customers has confirmed that this is a service which people across Bristol want and would use now. It also reminded us how loyal our customers are to the beloved Gloucester Road and to small independent producers. We are determined to work with Bristol suppliers and food producers, to help our neighbourhood and our city to continue to flourish. Powered by social media, street WhatsApp groups, local websites and most importantly word of mouth, the time for the Oat Float is now!
We estimate we will save over 20,000 pieces of plastic (bottles and food packets) being thrown away in our first year. And this will only grow as we expand the business. Coming out of the Covid crisis presents us all with an opportunity to change the way we live and consume, so that we can live locally and within our planet's means once again. ‘Normal’ clearly isn’t working - so who says we have to return to it?
To get the Oat Float on the road, we need to -
- Buy and insure the float, and convert it into a versatile delivery truck, with over 30 dispensers.
- Rent and convert a lock up space to store the float and our stock, with an electric charging point and large storage containers.
- Purchase initial stock for the first month in business.
To achieve this, we are going to need to secure a loan as well as fund-raising from friends and customers-to-be. So why crowdfund?
1) The less debt we start with, the lower we can keep our prices. We want to make the Oat Float accessible for as many people as possible. Instead of servicing the loan, we will be able to re-invest in the business to increase our range of products and stay price competitive with the big supermarkets.
2) If we can successfully crowdfund and demonstrate that we have a committed customer-base, it will be a lot easier and cheaper to secure the loan we need.
3) It gives us a chance to grow the Oat Float community, so that you can get involved in making the big decisions (look out for those Oat Float Votes!)
Here is a breakdown of our costs, and how your money will be spent -
I currently work part time at IKEA, and next year I’m off to study economics and human geography at university, having finished my A levels studying business and economics this year. I enjoy learning about these subjects, and how we can use them to protect our ecosystems and bring about change in our society. I love spending time outdoors, and I’m a keen mountain biker.
This venture is incredibly important to me. I have wanted to start a business for about two years now, and finding a way to do so without contributing to consumerism and damaging the planet further isn’t easy! So when Anna asked if I wanted to get involved in a plastic-free delivery service, I jumped at the idea. I really believe that this is an opportunity to take steps in the right direction and bring about change in our city. I hope you can get behind us.
I work as a Mediator, helping separating couples sort out money and arrangements for kids. I love it. I’ve known for a while I wanted to mix it with something local and full of joy. Then along came COVID, and the idea for the Oat Float. I am no eco saint. I still yearn for sunny holidays and b*c*n sandwiches. But I try to think about my impact on the planet, and the climate emergency we are facing. I was brought up to be crazily obsessive about food waste, and I live with a family of foodies, so I know that passion for food, and thinking about what we consume are part of the same deal.
I’ve known Sam since I moved to Bristol in 2009. I try to impress him with my up to date use of emojis and knowledge of social media - Facegram anybody? Our shared mantra is ‘Test your assumptions’. Sam keeps me sensible with his laser-eyed focus on website functionality, cash flow and the supreme importance of a good nights’ sleep!
We know we are asking for money at a time when finances are tight for some people. But if the Oat Float sounds like something good to you or something that you would use, we would really appreciate any help you could give us to get it off the ground.
And if you aren’t able to donate, there are many other ways that you can help us.
-- Sign up to the mailing list on our website to hear all the latest news about our launch - www.oatfloat.com
- Follow our social media pages @oatfloatbristol on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with the launch of the Oat Float (see top of page for links)
- Share this Crowd-funder with friends, family and neighbours and anyone else who might be interested in the business
- Get in touch with any suggestions or ideas or any other ways you can help! [email protected]
We are also very aware that during the Covid crisis jobs are being lost, some businesses are closing and there are children and vulnerable people in Bristol who aren’t getting enough to eat. When we launch in Spring 2021 we want to be part of the solution. We are actively thinking about how best to do this. In the meantime if you want to know about any of the work that these amazing people are doing right now please go to:
The Vench Children’s centre: https://thevench.co.uk
Food Cycle: https://www.foodcycle.org.uk/location/bristol/