Blog post written by Madeline Jurek, IUPUI Dietetic Intern
Pushing a full cart headed towards the grocery checkout line can be intimidating. We continue to see grocery prices rising due to inflation. One way to save money while grocery shopping is buying in bulk. Buying a large quantity of a food item at once rather than only purchasing one or two items when needed can save big bucks in the long run. Bulk buys can be beneficial for both large and small households. As with anything there are pros and cons to this art of grocery shopping. Fortunately, with a little planning, bulk buying can save you bulk money!
Where to Start
The first thing that comes to mind when talking about buying in bulk is probably wholesale stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, and the like. The disadvantage to these stores is that you need to pay a membership fee to shop there. Stores like Walmart and Kroger offer some food items in bulk at great prices too. Paying attention to the “per unit/ounce” area on the price tag will show the money you’re saving when buying in bulk.
Image from www.mainesnap-ed.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Unit-Price-poster_revised-3.19.19_Page_1.png
Other stores like Fresh Thyme have a bulk pantry section where you can self-serve the amount of a product you would like to purchase. Buying items like nuts, seeds, or oats, from this section is often cheaper than buying prepackaged items. Buying in bulk this way also helps out the environment by reducing the amount of plastic packaging waste.
Image from www.freshthyme.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/bulk_3.jpg
Items to Buy in Bulk
Some popular items to purchase in bulk include:
These items are great choices to buy in bulk because they stay safe to eat for long periods of time. However, the most important part about this shopping strategy is planning! Only purchase items in bulk that you know you will use. If you or your household doesn’t love to eat rice, then do not add it to your bulk buy shopping list. One of the hidden dangers of buying foods in large quantities is food waste due to not eating the food before it goes bad. This will defeat the purpose of saving money because you will lose money in the food you’re tossing in the garbage can.
Other Benefits of Bulk Buying
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Bulk Ingredient Recipe Ideas
Things to Remember
Now that you’re well versed in buying in bulk, don’t forget to always start with planning. Be sure before you buy a bulk item that you’re prepared to use it all before it goes bad. Keep a couple of staple recipes in mind while shopping for your bulk buys. Ensure you have all other necessary ingredients for the recipes before starting to cook. If you need some new ideas, use the "Search by Ingredient" tool here on the NutritionHub website to find recipes that use your bulk ingredients!
Staff Registered Dietitians at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, along with guest blog posts by dietetic interns