SAVE MONEY, REDUCE YOUR WASTE, HELP THE ENVIRONMENT!
A bulk food store is a place that offers a variety of food items in large containers available for purchase via a scoop and weigh method. This method involves you being in charge of how much you purchase of a particular item by only scooping up the amount you desire. Most items are labelled with a price per 100 grams or per kilogram. At the checkout, the item is then weighed and calculated according to the price per 100g/kg.
I like to visit my local bulk whole foods shop (The Full Pantry in Croydon) every couple of weeks and stock up on my pantry staples such as oats, rice, pasta, dried herbs and spices, nuts, seeds and dried fruit. The Source Bulk Foods is a popular bulk food chain across Australia, but most supermarkets are now offering the scoop and weigh method to customers with regards to some products such as grains, nuts and dried fruits.
If you are consuming a WFPB diet then chances are you’re going to be eating a lot of grains. The price of grains/cereals such as oats and rice or other items such as dried legumes can vary across brand and store. I find the prices work out cheaper when purchasing from a bulk store as you are not having to pay for packaging or a brand name!
Pictured: homemade multigrain hot breakfast cereal mix - brown rice, quinoa, barley, steel cut oats & millet. Each grain bought individually in compostable brown paper bags!
There are many things I love about shopping at a bulk food outlet. My top 5 include:
1. Variety: Bulk food stores offer hundreds of food items to choose from. If there’s something you’ve never tried before or are looking for an alternative, chances are you’ll be able to find something to choose from.
2. Save Plastic Waste: Supermarkets these days are filled with single use soft plastic which is something that is becoming detrimental to our environment. Bulk food stores encourage you to bring your own eco-friendly reusable cloth bags or glass jars to use when selecting your item (you just need to make sure you weight the empty jar first so that weight can be deducted at the checkout!). Some stores may also offer paper bags which can later to recycled or added to your compost!
3. Choose the Amount You Need: Buying from bulk stores allows you to only purchase the amount you require. There is nothing worse than making a recipe once which calls for X amount of something but you’re having to buy an entire packet. Only purchasing what you need is also a great way of trying new things. Treat yourself to a small serve and if it’s something you like, buy a bigger serve next time!
4. Save Money: Choosing to buy from a bulk food store is a great way to save money. Prices per weight are generally cheaper and more affordable than regular supermarkets.
5. Save Waste: I hate wasting food, so it’s good to know that every little bit I’m purchasing is going to be used because I’m only buying the amount I need.
Pictured: Dried chickpeas, spirulina powder, nutritional yeast and red lentils.
I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping old jars from pasta sauces or spreads and reusing them to store my goods in. Reusing the jars you’ve already got is a great way of eliminating your waste, plus they make your pantry look nice and organised! Bulk shopping is also a good way to teach kids about sustainability, food waste, money saving and ways to reduce their plastic use. So get the kids involved, let them help scoop the food item into the bag and have a shot at weighing it or let them choose a new item to try.
If buying from bulk food stores is something that interests you, I highly recommend giving it a shot! It’s quite a fun experience and I love buying small serves of new things to try. Most of the time when I buy something new, I’ve already finished it by the time I’ve driven back home (dried mango was my downfall… it’s so good!).
Pictured: dry soy beans (for making soy milk), walnuts, maca powder and homemade peanut butter made from 100% peanuts!