Have you ever wondered how much you can REALLY save by buying bulk food vs. prepackaged foods, like rice, beans, oats, flax seed and other dry foods? I have! It’s always said that buying from the bulk bins is cheaper, but how much cheaper is it?
I took a trip to Whole Foods, who has a nice selection of organic bulk groceries and compared their prices to popular packaged brands like Everyday Value 365, Bob’s Red Mill, Lundberg and others.
Based on my comparisons, you really can save by buying bulk, and not just a few pennies per lb. Some of the savings were as high as almost $3 per pound! Check out the results.
Bulk Vs. Prepacked
Pros and Cons
A few things to keep in mind are sale prices and coupons. For example, let’s say the Bob’s Red Mill organic rolled oats go on sale for $3.79. There’s a $1 off coupon you can use, bringing the price down to $2.79, so just $1.39 per pound versus $1.69 per lb. bulk. You’ll want to print and keep this list handy so you can compare if it’s cheaper to use bulk or buy the product on sale with available coupons.
Another thing to keep in mind is freshness. When you buy prepacked foods, there is an expiration date and it has been sealed from air and contaminants. Bulk foods are constantly being exposed to air, which oxidizes the food making it spoil faster. It is also susceptible to germs, although most would be killed through cooking.
I’ll Never Buy These Again!
While I was there, I also did a price comparison on bulk spices. What I found made me feel like a fool! I recently bought several glass jar organic spices as the store didn’t have a bulk section. I knew I overpaid, but I had no idea how much I was overpaying! Some spices were marked up as high as $9.72 per ounce! I can’t imagine those little glass jars justify that much of a price increase!
Bulk Vs. Spice Jars
No Bulk Spice Section?
Most local health food stores and chains have a bulk spice and herb section. Again, you’ll have to be aware of oxidation spoiling the food. If you don’t have a store near you that sells bulk spices, you can order spices and herbs in bulk in sealed bags from companies online like Mountain Rose Herbs. There are also coupons available for glass jar spices, like Simply Organic. Just wait for a sale to purchase. Stores like Whole Foods, Meijer and Kroger also have select organic spices in jars available at a lower price through their store organic brand.
*The second column in the spreadsheets show the bulk price per lb./oz., the third column breaks down the packaged price per lb./oz., the fourth column shows the actual size and price of the packaged food and the last column shows the savings comparing price per lb./oz.
What do you like to buy in the bulk section to save money?