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There are three key reasons that bulk foods are poised to become a bigger seller in supermarkets across the country, says the Bulk Is Green Council: They are typically less expensive per ounce than their packaged counterparts; you can buy only what you need; and the lack of packaging is as green as it gets.
Long a staple of natural and organic food stores, bulk foods are becoming a popular addition to the offering of conventional food stores, according to the Bulk Is Green Council. “At one time, virtually all of our business came from natural and organic grocers, but that’s changing fast,” said Scott Johnson, a member of the Bulk Is Green Council and president and CEO of Trade Fixtures, a manufacturer of bulk food merchandising systems. “Today, 50 percent of our systems are being installed at conventional food stores that are adding or enlarging bulk food departments.”
An advocacy organization to help consumers, food manufacturers and grocers learn about the environmental and economic benefits of bulk foods, the Bulk Is Green Council also includes Clint Landis of Frontier Natural Products Co-op, Sarah Galusha of the Hain Celestial Group, Morty Cohen of SunRidge Farms and Aaron Anker of GrandyOats.
The Incredible Bulk
When it comes to “green” appeal, bulk foods offer a mountain of selling points, says the Bulk Is Green Council, which touts the following benefits:
1. Bulk goods require less overall transportation to deliver to consumers. There’s no packaging production involved and the transportation of bulk product to retailers is efficient because it can be packed more densely on a truck.
2. No packaging means a smaller carbon footprint. The manufacture of paper and cardboard for product packaging uses energy; it can impact our forest resources, and result in CO2 emissions pumped into our atmosphere.
3. Bulk allows consumers to buy only what they need. Food packaging may limit a consumer’s ability to buy only what they want, which may in turn result in food waste.
4. Less labor at retail. In a grocery store, packaged products require more labor to ensure fresh product. Shelves must constantly be rearranged.
5. With bulk, product density at the store level can be significantly higher. This allows retailers to provide a wider variety of foods in the same space.
More information about the Bulk Is Green Council is available at www.bulkisgreen.org.