At These Sustainable SF Markets, Grocery Shopping Doesn’t Feel Like A Chore

Jamie Ferrell Jamie Ferrell

At These Sustainable SF Markets, Grocery Shopping Doesn’t Feel Like A Chore

The Bi-Rite Family of Businesses has 2 markets, an ice cream shop, a cafe, a catering commissary, and much more.

The Bi-Rite name has been a San Francisco institution for over 80 years. Their mission is “creating community through food,” and they’ve certainly delivered – visit any of their locations and enjoy a grocery shopping experience that’s simple, interesting, and community-minded.

[Image: @biritesf via Instagram]

In the interest of promoting health and safety during the pandemic, Bi-Rite has dedicated hours for seniors and at-risk guests from 8-8:30am Monday through Friday. Healthcare workers are given priority access and guests are required to wear face coverings and respect social distancing measures while in any of their establishments.

[Image: @biritesf via Instagram]

According to their website, Bi-Rite sources their food with a strict set of guidelines that’s 40 pages long. Their goal is to create mutually beneficial relationships with local farmers, so as to cultivate a positive impact on the food system and effect change in the community. 

In 2017, Bi-Rite managed to divert 800,000 pounds of waste from the landfill by recycling and composting. They re-purpose, compost, or recycle 85% of their waste, making them just 5% short of their goal of becoming a Zero Waste company.

[Image: @biritesf via Instagram]

The first Bi-Rite supermarket on 18th Street was originally built in 1940, and it’s maintained the same facade ever since. Immigrant brothers Jack and Ned Mogannam purchased the business and opened their bodega there 1964. Ned’s sons, Sam and Ralph, worked at the bodega as young people before leaving San Francisco to pursue their own dreams. In 1998 Sam returned and reinvented Bi-Rite Market to include farm-fresh, local foods and a restaurant-style kitchen in the center of the market.

[Image: @biritesf via Instagram]

Over the years, the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses expanded to include:


  • A second Market on Divisadero Street
  • Bi-Rite Creamery: A gourmet ice cream shop using local dairy products from Straus Family Creamery and featuring hyper-seasonal flavors. They even have a solar-powered ice cream truck that you can catch, starting soon, at some exciting places around the city.
  • Bi-Rite Cafe (temporarily closed): A cafe serving up delicious and healthy food at Civic Center Plaza.
  • Bi-Rite Catering and Commissary Kitchen: Delivers seasonal meals throughout San Francisco, and offers a 10% discount to nonprofits.

Bi-Rite also includes 18 Reasons, a non-profit community cooking school that provides free culinary, and nutrition education programming in low income communities, as part of the family.  

[Image: @ieatsf via Instagram]

Bi-Rite became a Certified B Corporation in August of 2015. When a business receives a B Corp certification, that means that it “meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.” B Corps must meet a rigorous set of parameters and are legally required to regularly evaluate the impact of each business decision on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. Businesses are evaluated on a 200-point B Impact Assessment scale, and must achieve a minimum score of 80 to receive the certification. Some famous B corporations include Ben & Jerry’s, Allbirds (started in SF!), and Klean Kanteen.

[Image: @kt_ishungry via Instagram]

According to the B Corp website, Bi-Rite achieved a score of 103.9 in 2017 for its commitment to sustainable and ethical businesses practices. That’s a 10% improvement upon its previous 2015 score of 94.5. Bi-Rite was also recognized as a B Corp Best for the World Honoree in 2018 and 2019, meaning it scored among the top 10% of all B Corps on the Community section of the B Impact Assessment.

[Image: @biritesf via Instagram]

Be sure to visit the Bi-Rite Markets at 3639 18th Street and 550 Divisadero St from 8am – 9pm 7 days a week. Or stop by their other locations to support this innovative family of businesses.


[Featured Image: @biritesf via Instagram]

Food & Drink Wellness & Nature