(Carolanne Wright) As the economy continues to limp along, many are experiencing a belt-tightening effect on their budgets. Unfortunately, this often results in choosing conventional foodstuffs over organic in an effort to save money. But this doesn’t have to be the case. A recent study has found that we needn’t sacrifice healthy food during times of economic hardship — instead, we can use a straightforward strategy to purchase organic fare without the hefty price tag.
You get what you pay for
Clipping coupons and comparison shopping for the best prices on grocery items are common practices when budgets are tight. And yet, another powerful approach to deep savings on organic food is just a bin away — namely, the organic bulk section at your neighborhood market. It may be a familiar option, but one that is vastly underutilized in our grab-and-go culture. For even greater bargains on edibles, local food buying clubs offer exceptional deals for their members. Using the power of numbers, the club purchases bulk organic foods — ranging from fresh produce to dry goods — which are then divided among the group. Each member pays for their share and enjoys substantial savings over supermarket prices.
“A 2012 study by the Food Industry Leadership Center at Portland State University found that consumers saved an average of 89 percent compared with supermarket costs when they bought large quantities of certain organic foodstuffs, including grains, beans and spices,” reports Mother Earth News. The study also compared organic products such as coffee and tea, confectioneries, pasta, dried fruit, nut butters and flour.
However, the savings don’t end there. When we opt for bulk food, petrol use is reduced (since bulk products can be packed more densely into trucks), the strain on natural resources is lessened and waste minimized. According to the Bulk is Green Council:
– If Americans purchased all their coffee in bulk for 1 year, it would save 240,000,000 pounds of foil packaging from ending up in landfills.
– By purchasing bulk oatmeal, five times the waste of its packaged equivalent would be saved.
– Seventy-two million pounds of waste would be diverted from landfills each year if Americans purchased their almonds in bulk.
And if every American family bought bulk peanut butter for one year, 7 pounds of waste per family would be saved.
Naturally, for this kind of environmental impact to take place, it’s with the understanding that consumers are supplying their own reusable containers. The disposable bags and plastic tubs available at bulk bins nationwide defeat the purpose, although you will still enjoy hefty savings during checkout.
To learn more about the benefits of bulk purchasing, as well as how to start your own buying club, visit Mother Earth News.