8 Reasons to Buy Clean Foods in Bulk

It’s National Bulk Foods Week (And I don’t mean BJs or Costcos bulk items) from October 14-20, 2012, food retailers around the country will celebrate and promote the benefits of buying in bulk. Some stores will even offer discounts and promotions for bulk items. For a list of participating retailers in your state, check out this list. One store that is not listed is the 4th Street Food Co-op. I talk about it all the time to my friends. It is located at 58 East 4th Street in Manhattan. In many health food stores and cooperatives, you will see a variety of items in bulk from grains, beans, cereals to even cooking oils, shampoos, and dish soap. Here are 8 reasons to buy bulk this week and every week!

1. Organic bulk foods on average cost 89% less than their packaged counterparts. Bulk foods also prevent a significant amount of packaging from entering landfills.

This is just an average cost. A great way to compare is look at the unit cost of the packaged item. This is usually located on the left side of the shelf price tag in an alternate color highlight price per pound, quart, or gallon. If the price per pound is more than the bulk, obviously the bulk is the better buy.

2. Bulk goods require less overall transportation to deliver to consumers. Bulk foods do not require the packaging components that must be produced and transported prior to being filled. And the transportation of bulk product to retailers is efficient because it can be packed more densely on a truck.
3. The manufacturer of paper and cardboard pulls trees from our forests, dumps contaminated water into our streams and uses enormous amounts of energy resulting in grotesque levels of CO2 emissions pumped into our atmosphere.

You can further reduce package wasting by bring in your own reusable produce and grain bags. A great example is reusable produce bags by Natural Home. I currently use these bags every week for my bulk grocery shopping and they are great. They are holding up very well. They are made of polyester and have drawstrings.

4. Food packaging may limit a consumer’s ability to buy in quantities desired which can result in food surplus and ultimately waste.

You can buy a little bit or a lot a bit. You can cater your budget to exactly how much you actually need vs buying more than necessary.

5. Although most natural food companies sell their food products in recyclable packaging, there are still some food companies that use non-recyclable materials. And some consumers choose not to recycle which creates additional burden in our country’s landfills.
6. Packaging often limits a consumer’s ability to actually see the product they are buying.
7. In a grocery store, packaged products require more labor to ensure fresh product. Shelves must constantly be rearranged.
8. With bulk, product density at the store level can be significantly higher. So stores can provide a wider variety of foods in the same space.*

Where do you like to purchase your bulk food items?

If you stop by the 4th Street Food Co-op this week (58 East 4th Street in Manhattan), mention my post and that it is National Bulk Foods Week to receive 8% off your total purchase. Some packaged goods are the only taxable goods in the store so your actually saving money! You don’t need to be a member to shop there and they have one of the best bulk spices and teas section in the city. To refill my bottle of organic garlic granules cost less than $2.50. POW!

*Bold Bulk facts provided by National Bulk Foods Week council board.


YGL staff