The Ultimate Guide to Effective Bulk Buying
If you find yourself buying the same list of groceries at the supermarket week after week, you could be wasting a lot of time and a lot of money. Buying in bulk may seem like a daunting and expensive step, but the long-term gains are massive – so it could be well worth taking a visit down to the cash n carry to stock up on essentials and family favourites.
The Benefits of Buying in Bulk
There are a great selection of benefits to buying in bulk, and we highlight just a few here.
It Saves Money
While the initial cost of buying food in bulk is higher, you'll reap the savings over time. Buying larger quantities reduces the price per kilo, meaning that each individual meal will cost you less. If you're trying to cut down your spending, bulk buying food could be the answer.
It Saves Time
When you stop to think about it, the weekly shop often takes up most of your evening or Saturday morning. And that's before you even get round to preparing and cooking. People with busy lives often find bulk buying frees up more time in their schedule to do the things they want – spending time with their family, enjoying their hobbies, or simply relaxing.
It Saves the Planet
Buying in bulk produces less packaging waste, as items aren't sold in individually wrapped containers. Bulk buying also results in reduced food waste, as you're less likely to have items you've forgotten about sitting in the back of the fridge for weeks.
You Can Plan Ahead
If you're the kind of person who has usually run out of ideas for meals by Thursday, bulk buying could be your saviour. Buying ingredients in bulk means you can plan meals way in advance. This takes the stress out of cooking and guarantees a tasty meal every night of the week.
It Encourages Healthier Eating
If you're trying to eat healthier, buying food in bulk can be really beneficial. Once you have the right ingredients ready and waiting to make balanced, healthy meals, there is less temptation to order a takeaway. Healthy habits can be formed through bulk buying, and you'll soon find eating your five a day is less of a challenge.
What Can I Buy in Bulk?
You'd be surprised how many items on your usual shopping list can be bought in bulk.
The tiny jars of spices available at the supermarket are incredibly costly compared to buying in bulk. Buying spices by weight is much cheaper.
Rice, pasta, lentils, beans, grains, nuts and flour are all ideal for bulk buying as they can be stored almost indefinitely, as long as they are kept in sealed containers.
Fruit and Vegetables
Certain fresh fruits and vegetables are ideal for bulk buying as they can be chopped, sliced or peeled, and then frozen in portions ready to add to a stir fry, stew or smoothie.
Fruits ideal for freezing:
- Bananas – chop into inch-thick slices to make a delicious icy cold smoothie.
- Berries – easy to use from frozen in baked goods, or can be defrosted overnight in the fridge to eat fresh.
- Grapes – frozen grapes make a refreshing and healthy snack in the summer.
Most vegetables can be frozen successfully for up to a year. Chop or dice onions, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, herbs, and spinach and vacuum seal in portions to avoid freezer burn.
You can also bulk buy canned, dried or pickled fruits and vegetables, which will last without needing to be frozen.
Meat and Fish
Save yourself a small fortune when you bulk buy your meat and fish. These items can be bought frozen and stored as they are, or else bought fresh and vacuum sealed in portion sizes. Check the recommended storage times before bulk buying meats and fish, as some types can be frozen for longer than others. For example, bacon and sausages can only be kept for 1-2 months, while whole chickens, turkeys and beef joints can be safely frozen for up to a year.
Cheese, butter and yoghurt can all be bought in bulk and frozen for use at a later date.
Grate your cheese before freezing so you can grab a handful to sprinkle on top of lasagne, macaroni cheese or pizza before it goes into the oven.
Storage Tips for Bulk Buyers
Clever storage will ensure your bulk buys last even longer. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your investment:
- Vacuum seal your meat, fish, fruits, vegetables and leftovers to save space in the freezer and keep food fresher for longer.
- Transfer bulk dry goods to sealable containers.
- For large quantities of items like rice or pasta, use labelled tubs as storage.
- Write the date items were frozen on the package to keep track.
- If you are limited for storage space in the kitchen, try storing goods elsewhere like on top of cabinets or even under the bed.
Where Can I Buy in Bulk?
Buying food in bulk does mean you might have to branch out from your usual supermarket to find the best deals and the largest quantities.
The best time to visit the market for bulk buyers is close to the end of the day, when the stalls will be selling produce at knock-down prices. You can often buy bags of miscellaneous cuts of meat by the kilo, or as many bananas as you can carry for £1.
Butchers and Fishmongers
Get to know your local butcher or fishmonger and it's likely they will be happy to cut a deal with you for buying large quantities.
Wholesale stores are where caterers pick up their food in bulk. Some of these shops allow members of the public to shop there as long as they have a membership card. These stores are the best places to buy dried goods like rice and flour in bulk.
Bulk Buying Tips and Tricks
Look Out for Sales
If there are products you buy regularly but can be quite costly, such as cheese or meat, keep an eye out for discounts and be prepared to bulk buy when you find a great deal. These can be portioned out, vacuum sealed, and stored for use at a later date.
Keep Track of What You Use Most
Sensible bulk buyers will realise over time that there are certain foods they use a lot, while others are only used occasionally. There's no use bulk buying steak each month if you only have it on rare occasions. Be sensible about what you choose to buy in bulk to avoid overstocking.
Buy Fruit and Vegetables When They're in Season
Seasonal produce is cheaper, tastes nicer, and is better for the environment as it hasn't been imported halfway across the world. Simply freeze and enjoy all year round.
Now that you've got a broader plan for bulk buying food for the family, don't forget that many of these ingredients can be stored for even longer using the FoodSaver vacuum sealing system, so you can save money and reduce food waste. For more information about our innovative vacuum sealers, visit the homepage.