More and more shoppers are being enticed into the bulk aisles of their food stores—and for good reason! Buying in bulk is great for your budget (buy just the amount you need, at the best prices) and the environment, since there's less packaging required. With the opportunity to see and smell a product outside the package before you buy, it’s a fun way to shop too.
Start by stocking up on staples: the bulk section is full of great buys for your pantry, like beans, nuts, cereals, flours, and grains. You can take advantage of the bulk section to sample small amounts of nut butters (many stores even offer the option to grind your own), pastas, and teas and coffees before committing to a large quantity.
Whatever your recipe, herbs and spices can be bought in just the amount you need for a fraction of the price of whole jars. It makes it easy and cheap to explore new cuisines that call for small amounts of herbs and spices you don't stock in your pantry. Also look for pet food and household and toiletry items, such as laundry detergent and soaps.
Besides being more cost-effective, buying bulk allows you to experiment with new foods. Bring home just enough quinoa for one meal, for example, or enough currants to substitute for raisins in your oatmeal one morning, and then come back for more when you know it's a winner. No section of your co-op is more fun to browse!
If you're new to bulk buying, don't be shy; co-op staff will be happy to help you get started with weighing and marking your items.
What are your favorite bulk buys? Join the conversation with other shoppers by commenting below, and get more tips and advice for making the best choices in the aisles of your co-op.