The Good Foods' Blog

Bulk Shopping: Save Money and the Planet

“Did someone say spelt?”

This is a repost from a blog published in October 2018. Join us today through Friday, 8/26/22, for 25% off all bulk goods, including bulk grocery, cleaning, body care, herbs, spices & teas!


Bulk shopping for salt and oats may not seem like an exciting adventure (unless you’re about to set out on the Oregon Trail,) but when you shop our bulk aisle, you can be the master of your own destiny.

You can eliminate single-use waste altogether, discover a new favorite flavor, actually know and use what’s in your pantry – instead of just using it to store a collection of questionable tins from 1997 – and get a bunch of other benefits just by experiencing the magic of the bulk shopping. And we don’t just have a variety of flours and sugars and such for you to pick from. You can also get unpackaged coffee, tea, herbs, spices, body care products like bath salts, shampoo, clay, rose petals and beeswax, plus cleaning products like laundry soap and dish pods. Aside from having ingredients to make pretty much anything you want to make, what are the advantages of bulk shopping? My personal favorite is…

“Ew, David.”

Eliminating Plastic Waste
When you shop our bulk aisle, you can bring your own container which means you are taking a stand against single-use plastic. According to a study cited by the government of Canada, “each year, globally about 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the oceans. This is like dumping the content of one garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute.” Not only is that potentially lethal to anything that lives in the ocean, according to One Green Planet, single-use plastic contains chemicals that may be harmful to humans and even if a piece of plastic is cut into tiny pieces, it still takes a human lifetime to break down and The Ecologist says “US plastic waste is causing a global environmental crisis.”

Wheelbarrow full of coffee? Definitely an option.

We probably can’t single-handedly save the entire planet, but one thing everyone can do is cut back on how much plastic we throw away. This is easy to do with bulk shopping. As long as you have a cashier or someone at the Hospitality Desk weigh your container before you start filling up, you can use literally anything to carry your goodies home.

Do you have a collection of hoarded Mason jars from an event six years ago you’ve been meaning to do something with since then? Great. Do you want to cut out the middleperson and put your loose tea directly into your teapot? Awesome. Helping us cut back on plastic use is a great reason to do bulk shopping, but another good reason to do it is that it helps in…

The perfect amount of peppercorn.

Eliminating Food Waste
Another of my favorite things about bulk shopping is that I can buy the exact quantity I need of whatever I want. If a recipe calls for a teaspoon of allspice, I can just buy a teaspoon of allspice. Which is great considering that I don’t even know what it is and am confident that I will never use it again. I definitely don’t need an entire container of it going bad in my cabinet being a waste of space and money.

I recently found a tin of cloves from Kroger in my spice cabinet. When I say “tin” I mean tin which I’m pretty sure they haven’t sold in decades. I ran across a tin which was, aside from the contents, identical to the aforementioned one being sold on Etsy. Because it was considered vintage. Clearly, I only needed a fraction of the cloves I thought I did when I bought that entire container and I could have avoided the wasted money, space and materials had someone only told me about the wonders of buying bulk.

In addition to buying only what I need, I can also try things before I buy them. If I’m concerned a certain curry powder will be too spicy for some of the people I want to serve at my giant fancy dinner party, a good idea would be to buy just enough to have a taste and make a decision based on that instead of buying an entire container of it which would potentially end up taking up space in a landfill. It’s pretty easy to see why bulk shopping is where it’s at, so now let’s take a look at…

Almost right, but we prefer you use scoops.

How Bulk Shopping Works
Let’s be honest, I didn’t even consider buying anything from the bulk aisle the first dozen(s of) times I shopped at Good Foods because it was so intimidating. It seemed like everyone knew how to do it and I didn’t and it seemed too difficult to figure out, so I just pretended like I didn’t like saving money and cabinet space and plastic waste. The good news is that I found out that there are literally only three steps. Unless you count paying. You should also pay for what you buy. But as far as steps to follow in the actual bulk aisle, all you have to do is:

  1. Choose a (preferably reusable) container. If you bring your own, get it weighed at the Hospitality Desk when you first arrive.
  2. Pick out your product and put as much as you want in said container.
  3. Label your container with the PLU number found on the bin. We provide masking tape, paper twist ties and pens just for this purpose.