A Guide to Shopping Bulk

Beans, peas, pasta, nuts,  lentils, soup mixes,  dried fruit, granola, cooking oils, flour and more! The bulk trail at Valley Natural Foods has pretty much everything you need for snacks and meals, usually at a deeper discount than packaged grocery items. So what is stopping you from shopping bulk? Maybe you are overwhelmed by the over 300 choices, maybe you are not sure how to cook those beans or lentils or maybe you don’t know how shopping the bulk trail works.

Buying in bulk has economic and environmental benefits. A Portland State University Food Industry Leadership study found that, on average, organic bulk food items are less expensive than their organic packaged counterparts. Manufacturers also save, on average, on bulk foods materials and delivery costs, helping reduce the amount of product packaging going into landfills.

So why shop bulk?
-You can buy only what you need which means less food waste and lower food costs.
-The bulk department is budget-friendly since it can save you money.
-There is less wasteful packaging because bulk foods do not require the plastic and cardboard components of packaged goods of which crowd our landfills.

Tips for shopping bulk
-Although we provide you with plastic bags or containers to fill with bulk foods items, you can also bring your own containers to produce even less waste. Make sure to weigh your container prior to filling it as the cashier will need to subtract this from the weight of the product.
-We do carry some bulk containers such as spice jars and loose tea containers.
-For an even more planet-friendly option, consider using empty food containers from other products. Just make sure to clean them properly!
-Make sure to write the “PLU” number of the product on the white stickers or twist ties provided and place it on the container or bag of the product you are purchasing. The cashiers need the PLU number to ring up the product at the registers.
-Do not mix different bulk foods items together in one bag or container because cashiers need to ring these items separately as each has different prices and PLU numbers.
-We also have bulk spices and wellness products. These are located in the Wellness Department.
-Some other bulk items we carry include coffee, tea, olive oil, peanut and almond butter, honey, vinegar, coconut oil and more.
-To further increase savings, look for sale signs. Various items go on sale throughout the store, including a few items in the bulk department. This would be the time to stock up on your favorite bulk item.
-Keep your empty bulk containers by your reusable bags to help remind you to bring them back to the co-op.
-Try new things! The bulk aisle is the perfect opportunity to try new items.

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