Why buy in bulk? Because it is THE most cost-effective way to shop for the freshest ingredients with the least amount of packaging. A win-win-win for your wallet, your body, and the planet. A pinch is mere pennies; bulk costs 89% less than packaged alternatives, on average. You reduce the amount of waste in landfill and the energy needed to create, process, ship, and break down packaging. True savings all around!
You need not be intimidated by shopping in the bulk section! Bring your own containers, jars, bags, receptacles, whatnot. Simply weigh each BEFORE you fill it. Write down the "tare weight" (weight of container alone with nothing), which will be subtracted from the price of the full container. Then, fill with bulk goods to your heart's content. Write down the code (often called the PLU#) for that specific item. The cashier will weigh the item and ring it up when you pay – and off you go!
Buying in bulk has countless benefits. You get the amount of any item in a quantity you actually need or want – massive or tiny, free to try new things or experiment with foreign foods without the commitment of buying an entire package. And if you don't like it, no biggie; there won't be a ton sitting around going bad or bound for landfill.
Food in the bulk section is also more fresh than packaged goods, as it is replenished often and doesn't sit on shelves after being sealed and shipped days, weeks or even months prior to purchase.
What can you buy in bulk? A better question would be: what CAN'T you buy in bulk?!
– Grains, nuts, cereals, dried fruit, sweeteners, rice, oats, flour, pasta, trail mix, beans, cereal, seeds
– Nut butters (almond, peanut, sunflower) can often be ground fresh into your own container
– Oils, vinegars, and honey await in dispensers
– Herbs, salts, and spices are a must, even just a pinch for a new recipe!
– Coffee and teas smell divine
BONUS: your pantry will look prettier! My kitchen shelves are lined with mason jars containing foods of many colors, shapes, and sizes!