Whether your first or last stop is the bulk aisle, it’s one of our favorite areas in the store. If you’re never shopped bulk, what are you waiting for?!

We love shopping from the grocery store bulk bins for a variety of reasons. For starters, bulk bin shopping is often a great way to save money. Bulk prices are often lower because they do not include built-in packaging costs. In addition, buying non-packaged items conserves packing materials. Buying in bulk also allows you to buy as much or as little as you want. This cuts down on unnecessary waste. Finally, bulk shopping can be a creative experiment. If you are trying a new recipe and only need a small quantity, this is definitely your best option. You can organize your cupboards with jars and containers filled with favorite foods, in the exact quantities you want so they can always be fresh.

Here are a few basic tips on how to bulk bin shop. If bringing your own container weigh it on the store scale before filling it, and note the weight. This is weight is called the “tare.”  When you check out, this tare weight allows you to only pay for the item you are buying, and not the weight of your container as well. Alternatively, you can use the bags offered at your store. Also, always remember to look for the “PLU” number on the bin and write this number down for your cashier. PLU’s (otherwise known as Product Look-Up Numbers) are numbers that cashiers and supermarkets use to help make product identification, price and inventory control more accurate and streamlined.

Are you new to bulk bin shopping? If so, you might begin by buying a few of your favorite staples in bulk (e.g. sea salt, sugar, oatmeal, legumes etc).

Another idea is to pick an item from the bins and plan to use it in batch cooking for the week. For example, you could buy chia seeds in bulk and then use them in your smoothies and as breakfast cereal toppings for the week. Another idea is to purchase quinoa in bulk and make breakfast cereal with it, a big one-dish vegetable quinoa salad for your upcoming lunches, and as a side for dinner served along with a poached salmon or roasted tofu. Quinoa is just one example of a versatile food available in bulk that is great to have on hand. Other handy batch-cooking items include rice, legumes, and couscous. This way of shopping and menu planning allows you to use up your bulk purchases quickly and keep your staples fresh.

Lastly, try making your own concoctions by mixing a few of your bulk items together. We like to purchase oats, dried fruits, and various nuts and seeds in bulk. At home, we make delicious muesli cereals and keep them in beautiful ball jars for the coming weeks’ breakfasts.

Are you ready for your next bulk bin adventure? Whether you are an old pro or a newbie, we hope these tips have inspired you to come in and try something new from our bulk bins.