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Sustainable cost savings suggest continued growth in the bulk foods industry

March 2010
Shoppers are looking for easy and affordable ways to go green as we approach the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in April, and are turning the bulk foods aisle in record numbers. Using minimal packaging and offering a cost savings of 30 – 96 percent over packaged products, bulk foods fit the bill for the budding chef or the environmentally concerned penny-pincher in 2010.

With the influx of new retailers offering bulk foods and double-digit sales growth in 2009, buying food in bulk is slated to be one of the biggest money-saving trends of 2010, according to the Bulk is Green Council.

Dedicated to helping consumers, food manufacturers and grocers learn about the environmental and economic benefits of bulk foods, the Bulk is Green Council recently reported that 2009 bulk food sales increased an estimated 15 percent over the previous year, with more than 1,000 retailers adding bulk food offerings nationwide.

Bulk Foods

“People are paying closer attention to the food they purchase,” said Mark Devencenzi, a founding member of the Bulk is Green Council from SunRidge Farms. “They’re shopping smarter and turning to bulk food for budget and eco-friendly alternatives that don’t lack in quality.”

Several consumer trends studies related to increased interest in cooking at home are driving the council’s positive outlook. A 2009 survey by the Nielson Company found that 46 percent of Americans are going out to eat less often, 76 percent of whom don’t want to sacrifice quality in the food they purchase.

“Bulk foods are ideal for use in home cooking, offering everything from rice to spices at a cost savings of anywhere from 30 to 96 percent over packaged products,” said BIG council member Clair Sidman from the Hain Celestial Group. “And, with more than 6,000 retail outlets in America offering bulk foods, these goods are widely accessible.”


Supporting the council’s assertion that interest in sustainable products is also on the rise, Reuters reported that “four out of five people say they are still buying green products and services today – which sometimes cost more – even in the midst of a US recession.”

“Bulk shopping makes it easy for consumers to go green in an affordable fashion,” said council member Clint Landis of Frontier Natural Products Co-Op. “It’s smart, sustainable shopping that uses minimal packaging and allows the customer to reduce waste by purchasing as little or as much as they need.”

Founded in 2008, the Bulk is Green Council is made up of eco-entrepreneurs and bulk food leaders including the Hain Celestial Group, SunRidge Farms, Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, Trade Fixtures, and Lundberg Family Farms.

Bulk is Green Council is an organization dedicated to increasing consumer, retailer and grocer awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of buying in bulk. Founded in 2008, the council serves as a research and advocacy group, conducting and publishing studies on industry trends and offering educational tools and resources online. The board includes industry leaders Hain Celestial, SunRidge Farms, Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, Trade Fixtures, and Lundberg Family Farms. Additional information is available at


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