If you’re a part of a large family, you’re probably familiar with bulk buying – after all, how many meals can a standard pack of noodles last? But did you know that bulk groceries could also benefit smaller families? It is not just easy on the pocket, bulk food can also force you to live more healthily because of the choices you made in advance. You can completely eliminate the need to rush into the supermarket every other day, plus there will be enough food for those unannounced guests.
What is Bulk Buying?
Bulk Buying involves buying food and groceries in packages much bigger than regular supermarket packs; for example, rice bags could be as big as 10 or 20kg. Bulk buying used to be restricted to catering units or industrial kitchens, but the savings involved have got the individual households interested too. If bought with proper planning and budgeting, bulk groceries can translate into huge savings per year, money which can go into buying that computer for your teenager, or upgrading your kitchen!
Benefit to the environment
Bulk groceries don’t just save you money, they can also be your contribution to a safer environment so future generations can benefit. It’s a fact that a lot of packaging is required to keep our goods fresh and consumable. In case of smaller individual packs, packaging is obviously more per gram when compared to bulk groceries. And don’t forget – all that packaging goes into landfills once the product is consumed. By bulk buying, you can not only reduce your packaging cost, but reduce the overall waste generated through packaged goods.
Which foods should you choose?
Bulk Buying is the best and the cheapest option for goods that have a longer shelf life. If you walk down the supermarket aisles and take a look at the expiry dates of the items, you will get a fair idea of which items are suitable for bulk food buying. As a starting point, it is easier to mark those items in your list for bulk buying that have a shelf life of three months or more. Nearly all types of rice, pastas, lentils, coffees, teas, cereals, sugars and condiments will form a large part of the group. Amongst the non-food items, detergents, dishwashing liquids, toiletries, aluminium foils, wrapping plastics and papers are sure contenders for bulk buying. If you glance through the items mentioned, you would notice they form nearly 75% of your grocery purchases, so opting for bulk groceries translates into cheaper groceries.
How should you store them?
Bulk goods generally come in large packages and you need to sort them into usable units once purchased. It may be easier to break them into monthly quantities while storing. You can use bins and jars which are already available at home or buy new ones since they will last a long time. In any case, it will work better if you carefully label each container with the names and expiry dates to avoid wastage and confusion later. The bulk groceries can be stored in your basement, extra cupboard below the stairs or in the pantry.
Watch those expiration dates!
Buying bulk food is not good for all products and some effort also goes into making sure that the food you’ve bought in bulk adds to your savings. Without proper planning and awareness, you could end up losing money instead of saving it by having to throw away the items that either remained unused or were past their expiry dates. It is important that you record your purchases for a month or so and decide on the bulk buying of certain items based on your consumption pattern. And if you are averse to spending time on canning and preserving the perishables like fruits and vegetables, it is better to not include them in your list of items for bulk food buying.
Beware of pests, humidity and extreme weather conditions
You opted for bulk groceries because they were cheaper. If they are somehow damaged and left in-consumable, you have not just lost your savings but also have to shell out extra money to replace them. So care needs to be taken while storing these goods. Make sure the packaging cannot be tampered with by your pets; the jars are airtight and stored in a cool dark place. Damp and humid conditions need to be avoided and the goods need to be stored in a place where they do not come in direct contact with moisture. Freezers and temperature controlled pantry units may be an option, but only if you are planning on long-term bulk buying.
On the whole, bulk buying can be cheaper buying, but only if you know what to buy in bulk and how to take care for it once bought. With some prior thinking, you will always have a full pantry at a reasonably lower cost than if you were buying in smaller units. It helps to check online before making a decision. You can check for options in our online shop, click here to go there now. Our blog and newsletter give more information on bulk buying and related activities.Image source – publicdomainpictures.net