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The Bulk is Green Council (BIG), a Portland, Ore.-based national organization dedicated to raising awareness of the environmental and economic advantages of buying organic and natural foods in bulk, is again inviting retailers, grocers and co-ops across the United States to take part in National Bulk Foods Week 2012, which will take place this year on Oct. 14-20.
A key goal of the promotional week is to encourage new consumers to visit the bulk food aisle. As well as the economical and environmental benefits touted by BIG, bulk aisles now offer a wide selection of organic and natural foods, as well as the opportunity to exactly the amount needed, according to the council.
“Shopping for natural and organic foods in the bulk foods aisle is the most economical and environmentally friendly way to shop,” said Ellen Bouchard, category manager at Norway, Iowa-based Frontier Natural Products Co-op and BIG member. “National Bulk Foods Week 2011 was a tremendous success, and we’re looking to go even bigger this year.”
In 2011, more than 600 retailers teamed with BIG for National Bulk Foods Week, and more than 13 governors declared National Bulk Foods Week in their respective states. This year, BIG is looking to raise the number of stores taking part to more than 1,000.
As part of the promotion, the companies that comprise BIG are offering special product savings that can then be passed along to consumers during the week. BIG will additionally provide stores with signage and other materials to promote the benefits of bulk foods and attract new bulk food shoppers. Further, participating stores will vie for BIG’s annual industry recognition: the 2012 Bulk Foods Retailer of the Year.
A study released earlier this year by Portland State University’s Food Industry Leadership Center and cited by BIG found that organic bulk foods are on average 89 percent less expensive than their organic packaged counterparts. The first such study to ever be conducted in the United States also discovered that buying bulk foods greatly reduces the amount of product packaging otherwise destined for landfills, and that food manufacturers can save an average of 54 percent on bulk food materials and delivery costs.