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A FRESH Point of View: Celebrating Bulk Buying

It’s National Bulk Foods Week – a good time to point out the benefits of this economical, greener way to buy many staples, snacks and other foods and goods.

I love bulk sections of any store, not just ours, because of the selection, quality and value you can get buying items in bulk instead of individual little packages. Think about the advantages:

  • Reduce waste by buying just as much of that grain, cereal, nuts, or peanut butter as your family will use.
  • Save money – when you compare prices ounce to ounce, you almost always pay less for bulk foods compared to their individually packaged counterparts. One contributing factor: Unlike most national brands, bulk foods bear little or no advertising costs that must be passed on to the consumer.
  • It’s greener: Rather than layers of cardboard, paper and plastic packaging, bulk foods have little packaging, and are sold in plain, unprinted containers. (Another way they end up costing less.)

And then there’s my favorite reason: It’s just fun to shop the bulk aisles. You can actually see what you’re buying, compared to many foods hidden away in dense packaging. And since you can buy just a little bit, you can try that unusual grain, new flavor of granola, or odd spice that you need for just one recipe, without making an expensive commitment to a big package.

Haven’t stopped into the section yet? Here are some of my current favorites, to put on your list:

Quinoa: Haven’t tried this supergrain yet? Try just a bit. It is a complete protein, goes well with all kinds of seasonings and vegetables, and cooks up in just 20 minutes.

Dried mango:  A sweet, healthy snack and so much more portable than fresh mango slices: Pack it in a lunchbox, keep some in a drawer at the office, take it along in the car.

Dark chocolate-dusted almonds: Two heart-healthy superfoods for the price of one! Plus, you get the antioxidant benefits of the dark chocolate without as much sugar as in candy or pastry.

Organic rolled oats:  You should always keep high-fiber, cholesterol-reducing oatmeal on hand, not just for a filling breakfast but for making homemade cookies or granola. And this is organic – double score.

Raw walnuts:  A great source of Omega 3’s, and delicious as a snack or in recipes.

Orange almond granola: We have lots of terrific granolas, but this one, gently scented with orange and bursting with almonds, is a favorite.