A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BULK FOOD SHOPPING
Picture this: you’ve just completed your weekly, fortnightly or monthly grocery shop. You unload your groceries from the back of your car, with less than four bags weighing down your arms (which are needed to do other things, like make a really great piece of art or win a thumb wrestling contest). You unload your Pelli bags and place your grains in your pantry, fresh produce in the crisper. You step back, admire your work and let out a little sigh knowing that you’ve just contributed toward saving thousands of little lives. You feel good about it, too, and let yourself relish in a moment of pride (but only a moment because we’re all about being #humble, right?)
You might be reading this, and thinking to yourself “what kind of dream world are they talking about!?” Well friend, let us introduce you to the world of bulk food shopping. Big, bold words - we know. You might even be associating the term “bulk shopping” with the idea of hoarding, but let us be the first to say absolutely not. This is not an article to tell you 101 ways to buy-up at your local Costco. In fact, bulk food shopping encourages the idea of living with less. Less packaging, less plastic, less clutter. It’s all about slowing down, acknowledging what food products you’re buying, and how much waste you’re contributing by buying items with too much packaging.
Shopping local and placcy-free doesn’t have to be a stressful event. With these three simple tips, you can wave goodbye to pre-packaged goods and say helloooo to a less chaotic, more aesthetic and environmentally-friendly shopping journey.
More and more, bulk food shops are popping up in Australian shopping centres. And we can’t fail to mention the old faithful farmer’s market. Remember those? You’ve likely popped into one on a Sunday morning, and probably said “We should really come to these more often!” on your way out. And you totally should. Not only does bulk food shopping contribute to minimising waste and packaging pollution, but it also supports our local farmers and producers! You can’t really fault that, can you?
You know those little plastic baggies that the major grocery stores have on rolls in the produce sections? And how even though you’re only buying two apples, you feel the need to use a whole baggie just to keep them safe in your trolley?
We’d love to take a moment to give props to Mother Nature herself for providing our little fruit friends with their very own packaging - their skin! There’s no need to package them twice for your short trip back home. Simply bring your own produce bags, slip them in and carry on your way.
Further avoid packaging by bringing your own containers for grains, flour, cereal and nuts. No need to go out and buy some - wash and re-use old pasta sauce jars, jam jars and whatever else you might already have laying around the house. Oh, and all of those Tupperware containers you’ve forgotten to return to your mum? Yeah, bring those along too.
Like we mentioned earlier, you might have previously associated the term bulk shopping with hoarding. Mid-blog check in: are we changing your mind? We hope so. Well anyway, if there’s one thing that may be misconstrued about bulk food shopping, it’s that you are supposed to buy in BULK.
False. Only buy what you need.
Repeat after us: there is no need to bring home 10 jars of muesli when you haven’t eaten it in six months. Most items within the store will be in bulk containers, but it’s up to you to measure out the quantity that you need.
Wandering into a bulk food store without a game-plan can be pretty daunting. Rice and milk and shampoo - oh my! Allow your eyes to feast on all of the goodness that sustainable living has to offer, but ensuring that you’ve planned ahead will give you (and your bank account) a reason to celebrate later.
We recommend only buying fresh produce weekly or fortnightly, whereas other items such as grains and baking products can be purchased bi-monthly or when running low.
Is it appropriate to enter a shameless plug here? Call us bias, but we think our reusable bags are the coolest on the block. You’d totally be defeating the purpose of all of your hard work if you were to carry home your groceries in a plastic bag. Invest in some quality reusable bags, produce bags and bread bags to ensure that your impact is well-felt. Shop the Pelli collection here: https://pellibags.com.au/collections
Well, that’s all from us for now. Good luck, and see you at the farmer’s market!