Every item in our bulk department is 10% off, all month long! Get inspired by the article about bulk in our latest newsletter:
Bulk Foods by Anthony Orlando
I’ll be up front; I’m going to attempt to persuade you, over the course of the next several paragraphs, to buy more bulk foods; or more precisely, to buy more of your foods in bulk. If you’re reading this I bet you’re already at least a little agreeable to the idea, and many of you are likely seasoned bulk shoppers already. Maybe I don’t even need to finish the article! I’ll go ahead and stay clocked in though.
But for real…
Bulk buying isn’t a foreign concept to many shoppers, especially co-op shoppers. Bulk foods have long been considered a cornerstone of the cooperative grocery store model. In fact, this very co-op was founded as a buying club, whose goal was to leverage the buying power of its many (about 100 in 1976) owners to save money by sharing the cost of discounted bulk purchases of things like rice, beans, meat, vegetables, etc. Today, most major grocery chain stores feature a bulk foods department, and there are even a handful of major franchises operating solely as bulk goods retailers; beginning with Southern California’s Fedco in the late 40’s and continuing today with places like Sam’s Club, Costco, and Canada’s Bulk Barn. So clearly it’s a successful business model that appeals to a lot of people. Sam’s Club alone did $57 billion in sales last year, with roughly 50 million members in the U.S.
The word “bulk” is synonymous with “large quantities” for many shoppers, and while it’s true that the whole concept is founded on the principle of the volume discount, it’s not necessarily true that you, the consumer, must be the one to make the large purchase in order to realize the savings. The name of the game in bulk buying is price per unit. Since River Market buys things like brown sugar, peanut butter, and organic cashews in those large quantities and without all the packaging that accompanies your typical center store grocery item, we’ve already attained the cheaper cost per unit on those items. This means that whether you buy 5 ounces or 5 pounds of something, you’re getting the same discounted price. So no, you don’t need to buy a year’s worth of dried cannellini beans in one go in order to make your grocery budget more efficient. Don’t get me wrong, you absolutely can buy in 5lb quantities if you’d like, but if you just need ¼ C for tonight’s soup, you can just buy that amount for exactly the same price per unit. Not only does buying only what you need save you money immediately with the smaller price tag, it’s also an effective method for reducing food waste (which totals about $160 billion per year in America).
See? I knew this would be a breeze. So, now that I’ve convinced you to buy your dried beans and unsalted nuts in bulk, what else could you potentially be buying in the bulk department? How about your coffee beans? Or granola? Or trail mix, or local honey, or olive oil, or shampoo and conditioner, dish soap, all your favorite herbs and spices, pastas, soup mixes (just add water!), sugar, flour, dried mango, tea… have I hit my word count yet?
As an added incentive, and just to show you how strongly I believe in the merits of bulk buying, I’ll use my authority as marketing assistant to take 10% off everything in the bulk department for the entire month of October! EDITOR’S NOTE: [Anthony does not have any actual authority at the co-op. The October Bulk Sale, however, will occur as described.]. And here’s some extra bulk buying advice; consider phasing in bulk products slowly as you use up the remainder of what you already have. Also, take advantage of any-quantity-buying and just get a single serving of something to try out before you buy the full amount. And be sure to explore the whole department for all the items you can’t get anywhere else (like our curried cashews, dried mango slices, and cocoa & cayenne dusted almond Naughties)!
Is bulk better? Well; it’s cheaper, more efficient, less wasteful, and even more convenient in many cases. Maybe I’ll leave it to you to draw the conclusion there. As for me, I’m at 700 words baby. I think I’ll celebrate with a treat from the bulk department. Have I mentioned the dried mango?