FAQs

About the shop

Yes, during the Covid-19 Lockdown please use our Online Store to Click & Collect: Order at Harmless. Please read the Important Information section on the Homepage of the Online Store before placing your order.

For our most up to date opening hours, please check our Google Business listing.

During the Covid-19 Lockdown please refer to the Important Information on the Online Store for up-to-date guidelines.

For those of you who have never visited a bulk-food store before, welcome! We operate a little differently to most shops you will be used to. When we return to normal follow the advice below.

  1. Make sure to bring your own containers. We recommend reusing the packaging from previous products such as empty plastic bottles, glass jars, takeaway boxes etc. Please don’t put food inside packaging that once contained cleaning products or other non-food items of which the residue if ingested, could harm your health. We also ask that customers do not bring receptacles that originally contained animal-products as there could be a contamination issue.
  2. Once you arrive, you must weigh each container on the scales and mark its weight. We’ll be happy to show you how if it’s your first time, just ask one of our friendly assistants!
  3. Keep all your containers in one place while filling up as this will make it easier for you to keep track and out of the way of other customers. There are several counters and surfaces upon which you may gather your supplies.
  4. Once you have filled up with everything that you need, bring it to the till and we will then weigh the final amounts (subtracting the weight of the containers themselves) ready for you to pay. Please note that we are a card-only establishment.

We are a card-only establishment.

There is no on-street parking available. We encourage you to consider walking, cycling or taking public transport of which there are many convenient options. For public transport links, check our Contact page.

Yes, please do! Just be aware of other customers who may not be so keen, and of course keep an eye on them in case they’re cheeky enough to sneak a lick of the peanut butter!

About the stock

We sell a wide variety of goods including but not limited to:

  • Grains and cereals
  • Pulses
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Herbs and spices
  • Coffee beans and loose teas
  • Oils and vinegars
  • Confectionery and snacks
  • Pantry items
  • Vegan products
  • Cleaning products
  • Bathroom products
  • Zero-waste tools

If you cannot find the item you are looking for, it is probably out of stock or we may not stock it! Feel free to get in touch to ask about a particular product.

At the moment our current available stock can be found on our Online Store. Feel free to get in touch to enquire about a particular product.

We share all our latest news on Instagram.

If it’s an animal product then you are out of luck, we will never consider stocking animal products.

In other cases, it is likely we have thought about it, we may even be looking for a supplier.

In some cases, it might be impractical for us to stock the product due to lack of demand or size of the supplier’s minimum order. We would never want to cause any unnecessary food waste.

Having said that, try us! We are always open to suggestions. You can use our contact form or get in touch on social media to ask about stocking particular products.

At the moment, you can find the prices of the available stock on our Online Store. All of our products are commodity products which means the prices change weekly if not daily. If you would like to enquire about the current price of an item we stock, please get in touch via social media or use our contact form.

It depends on the comparison. We have had customers in the past bring in cost/ 100g comparison lists of their preferred supermarket. Please bear in mind that Harmless products are premium products; the quality differs significantly to supermarket own-brand items and the price will usually reflect this. Having said this, they are commodity products and the prices vary regularly. Sometimes our prices beat supermarket prices and sometimes they don’t.

When judging what is expensive, we have to look further than the final retail price. Harmless takes into consideration not only the financial cost to the consumer, but most importantly, the cost to the planet, the growers and tradespeople.

We do not sell honey and we will explain why. One honey bee spends its entire life working its tiny furry ass off to produce a total quantity of honey that would fill a teaspoon. They make this food to feed themselves and their babies.

Bees make honey by collecting nectar from flowers, and passing it between each other where the enzymes in their bodies change the chemical structure into honey. This food is nutritious and naturally resistant to bacteria and mould.

Bees do make excess honey but they do this in case of times of scarcity. By taking their backup and replacing it with sugar syrup, it weakens the hive and leaves them more susceptible to attack from disease and pests. In addition to this, we disagree with many of the honey gathering techniques employed by beekeepers which can also hurt and weaken the hive.

There are in fact around 250 species of bee in the UK including 24 types of bumblebee and just one type of honeybee. By now we all know about the campaign to save the bees from pesticides and habitat loss, yet how many of us realise we need to save all bees and not the honeybee alone? By consuming more honey and therefore supporting the honey industry, we’re actually creating competition for food sources among bees (and all nectar consuming insects). Instead we encourage you to mow your lawn less frequently and plant more bee-friendly flowers.

We do not sell dairy milk in any containers. Milk is the product of lactating mothers, designed to feed their babies. Humans are the only species that actively drink the milk of another species and past infanthood.

Many of our products are organic but not all. You may refer to our Harm Less Scale on the home page. At Harmless we have a set of principles of which we have organised according to order of priority. At the top of the scale are those priorities we believe will have the most positive impact on our planet for example, choosing plant-based ingredients.

Although very important, choosing organic is towards the bottom of our scale. When considering a supplier, we focus on the agricultural and manufacturing processes involved. This gives us a better idea of the sustainability of a company than its organic certification, or lack thereof. Many small businesses cannot afford to get certified, yet it is these small independent businesses we are most keen to work with.

The closer the better! We prioritise UK and European suppliers in order to reduce the transport distance and therefore carbon emissions. We are also more comfortable ordering from companies based within the European Union because we can be more sure about the health and environmental regulations they’ve adhered to.

Most dry foods come in 25kg paper sacks however occasionally we get an unwelcome surprise when something randomly comes in a plastic sack.

We either return it to be reused by the original packers or recycle it.

A few of our products come wrapped in plastic, our ‘bacon’ for example. We prioritise vegan products above plastic-free because we want to encourage more customers to adopt a plant-based diet. A reduction in meat-consumption is often cited as the most effective action we can take to cut our carbon emissions.

About your visit

Please follow the guidelines on the homepage of our Online Store during this time.

You must bring clean, dry and preferably lightweight, empty containers. We recommend collecting reusable packaging from other recently finished products such as plastic tubs, bottles and takeaway boxes, glass jars and bottles.

We do sell cloth produce bags. We don’t however sell glass jars or bottles as we know there is already an abundance of these! If you prefer glass containers then it is easy to save these from the recycling bin, ask your friends and colleagues to to collect them for you or have a look in charity shops

If you arrive at the shop and realise you don’t have quite enough containers, ask us, we may have something you can use in the back.

Please don’t bring us your empty jars and other containers. While we would like to help everyone reuse, we are not a recycling company! We simply don’t have the space to keep spare containers.

In the past we have found that, as soon as we stop offering paper bags or glass jars, our customers immediately start bringing their own! This is the reuse mentality we hope to encourage.

It is important to properly clean and dry your food containers before bringing them to refill. We don’t have the facilities for you to wash them here and we don’t provide alternative containers. Your food will keep longer in a container that is not contaminated by food residues or dampness, as this could cause your grains to sprout or grow mould, and preventing food waste is good!

Also please do not bring containers that previously contained animal products. We want to remove any risk of contamination when making contact between our containers and yours. If insufficiently cleaned, the residue may also affect the shelf-life of your goods.

Do not reuse packaging that once contained non-food items to refill with food items. Chemicals and other particles from the original product could contaminate your food and harm your health.

As a general rule, try to reuse packaging that once contained a similar product for example, refill a plastic washing up bottle with washing up liquid; refill a glass olive oil bottle with more olive oil; refill a peanut butter jar with loose nuts etc.

All children are welcome—we love meeting all your little eco-warriors! Unfortunately however, we cannot allow your children to serve themselves at the shop. We ask that until they are a little bit taller and a little bit stronger, they do not get involved in the refill process. This is to prevent spillages and contamination. Please keep an eye on your children at all times, particularly around the laundry liquid taps at the front of the shop, which are low down.

Please refrain from wearing real fur into the shop. If you were to enter wearing fur, we would kindly ask that you either remove the item and store it out of site in your bag or we can put it in the back for you for the duration of your visit. This is our policy to protect our staff and customers. As a reward for respecting our rules, we can offer you 10% off your next shop with us.

In some cases, you may not realise that you are wearing real fur. If the item comes from China and was relatively pricey purchase, then it is quite likely you could be wearing the fur of cats or dogs. We are very good at spotting real fur and will take the opportunity to talk to you about it, in case you are not already aware.

Leather on the hand, is usually a byproduct of the meat industry. While we do not want to support the meat industry, we understand that leather is a widely used material.

For suppliers

Please go to our Contact page and fill out the contact form there.