Feature

Bulk food stores for bulky savings

Green Lifestyle

They might not be as prolific or convenient as the big supermarket chains, but buying from bulk stores means you’re not only helping to reduce plastic packaging, you’ll save yourself money too.

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Flannerys supply natural and organic products at their stores around Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

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You’ve probably heard about how bulk food stores are meant to be a good thing, but why are they so different to a conventional supermarket?

Bulk food stores are places where food items are offered in large quantities, which can be purchased in large bulk lots, or transferred from a bulk container into your own smaller container for purchase.

According to a Bulk Foods Study in the US, consumers can save an average of 89% on the cost of their grocery shop by purchasing bulk foods.

Owner and brand manager of Sydney-based business, Honest to Goodness, Karen Ward told us that; “There’s certainly a growing bunch of consumers interested in good health, and also looking after the environment for future generations.”

“We’ve noticed more and more of our customers, in both our wholesale and retail store, are choosing to buy in bulk now, bringing in their own reusable containers. We’ve also had people return boxes to us for reuse.”

Another major benefit is that the consumer can choose exactly what they need by weight, either choosing to buy large quantities of items, or as small a quantity as needed to try a new recipe.

Because of this option to buy amounts as per their need, there’s a huge potential to reduce food waste. Australia wastes an estimated 4.06 million tonnes of food every year. And the average NSW household throws out $1,036 of food every year, with food waste making up 38% of the total rubbish in household garbage bins in the state.

But the benefits aren’t just with the consumer. For a company choosing to sell bulk foods as opposed to packaged foods, they can save on materials and lower their distribution costs.

Owner and founder of Naked Foods, Caique Ponzoni left his job as a Graphic Designer for Billabong to follow his passion for fresh food, and he’s never regretted it.

“We are naked from nature and there is nothing to hide – so should be the food – naked food.”

All the products in Ponzoni’s bulk store are either organic or locally-sourced from farmers.

“For example, we get our almonds straights from farmers in Australia… they’re so fresh that people ask me if the raw almonds are in fact roasted, because they have an incredible flavour,” says Ponzoni.

Ponzini wants to make his bulk food store not just a store, but also a hub for healthy lifestyles for his customers. His staff are qualified nutritionists, so expert advice is always available.

“I am even starting a yoga class for my customers in the spare room!” says Ponzoni.

Ward says that it's also about supporting your community. “You’ll pick up some great quality food at an affordable price, and at the same time support a local business.”

Patricia Teague from Miss Spelt's Grains and Goodies in Healesville, Victoria, says; “I have been blown away by the community support I've received. It took probably a good six months for people to find Miss Spelt's, but once it started, the business has just grown steadily.”

I started with a fairly empty store compared to where it is now! I grew my stock lines as customers asked for particular items; I figured it was better to stock what my customers wanted rather than guessing on what I thought they needed. I'm keen to expand on the lines offered in bulk as demand grows and word continues to spread about my little store.”

Ward says that bulk food stores are so much more than just a place to buy food. “Shopping in a bulk food store is also good fun if you love food, as you can see, smell, and try the products you are about buy.”

So remember, there’s five great advantages of buying from bulk stores:
1. You can customise the amount of food items you want to purchase according to your need;
2. You directly contribute to reducing packaging and food waste;
3. You can improve your own wellbeing through expert advice;
4. You're supporting a locally-owned and run business;
5. You’ll save money.

We've compiled a list of some great bulk food stores across Australia. Click here to see if we've featured a store near you.