The Portland State University Food Industry Leadership Center reveals in a study it conducted for the Bulk is Green Council (BIG) that buying organic foods in bulk will help Americans save 89 percent of their food expenses. See the big difference compared to purchasing them in their packaged form!
According to consumers who buy in bulk, their top three reasons for doing so are:
- To buy the exact amount of food needed (leading to less food wastes)
- To save money
- To avoid unnecessary packaging
Bulk buying is friendly to the environment because it employs less packaging. You may not realize how quickly this can add up. The bulk buying report states that if Americans bought coffee, almonds, peanut butter, and oatmeal in bulk for a year, it would save hundreds of millions of pounds of waste from going into landfills.
Manufacturers may also gain from bulk buying. They can save an average of 54 percent on material and delivery expenses when packing their products in bulk.
You may even increase your savings if you join a buyer’s club or food co-op in your area. When the group orders larger quantities of food in bulk, the food is split and distributed among its many members.
Finding bulk organic food is easy. You can now order it online or find it at your local health food store. Another option would be to order organic food in bulk from local farmers.
Is Bulk Buying Really a Good Idea? Factors to Help You Decide
Although the promise of an 89 percent slash of your food expenses is alluring, it should not be your only motivation for buying bulk. Dr. Joseph Mercola states that there are still a lot of considerations:
- Will you consume it all? – Remember that any food you buy and throw away translates to money being wasted. So, ask yourself the question above before purchasing foods in large quantities. Consider that you have to consume organic foods before their expiration date. Grain and nuts go stale and rancid when left stored for too long. They can also attract bugs.
It is important to know where to store food when you purchase them in bulk. For dry goods, airtight containers that are placed in a dry, dark, and cool place is ideal. Raw nuts and perishable goods, on the other hand, should be kept in the refrigerator. Make sure you have enough freezer space for organic meats and produce.
- Is it really a cheaper alternative? – Always check the unit price of different sizes and packaging options to determine which has the best deal. Dr. Mercola also says that you can also factor in the benefits of having less environmental waste for bulk items.
- Will bulk buying really contribute to your health? – Dr. Mercola says, “Just because it’s organic and in bulk doesn’t mean it’s good for you.” Foods such as pasta, candy, most grains, and some varieties of dried fruit are common items that will not help you achieve optimal health. These products should only be consumed in limited amounts.
Other Strategies That Will Minimize Food Costs
You should stop spending precious money on unhealthy options such as cereals and chips. Invest your money in healthy foods such as raw organic dairy, cage-free organic eggs, fresh vegetables, and fermented foods.
Dr. Mercola highly recommends cultured foods because you can ferment them on your own and they’re economical – you can use a portion of one batch to ferment the next. Aside from this, he offers other tips that can help those who are troubled by a tight budget:
- Have someone prepare your meals for you to avoid the temptation of succumbing to costly and unhealthy fast food and convenience foods.
- Be resourceful and use every morsel of food at home. Seek the help of your grandmother or anyone older than you, since it is common for them to use leftovers and ingredients and turn them to a meal. An example of this is using the bones from a roast chicken to make stock for soup.
- Planning your meals in advance will help you budget your money. Dr. Mercola suggests planning your meals a week ahead and having ingredients on hand. By doing so, you can prepare meals ahead of time – if you’re short on time because of work. He adds that this simple strategy can help you eat better and save money, as well as enable you to bring healthful food with you to work.
- Avoid food waste by reviewing the two steps above. You should also check out Dr. Mercola’s 14 Ways to Save Money on Groceries and learn how to keep your groceries fresher and longer.
- Buy more organic animal foods. Dr. Mercola says that the most important foods to purchase organic are not vegetables, but animal products, such as meat, eggs, and butter, because the former tend to concentrate pesticides in larger amounts. If you are struggling with a tight budget, you should buy organic animal foods first.
Apart from these tips, you should also get your food directly from the grower. Not only will you obtain healthy, locally-grown organic foods, but you will also find that their products have minimal packaging (thus a lower carbon footprint), are guaranteed fresh, and are grown without chemicals or genetically engineered seeds and toxins.