The average annual food expenditure for a typical UK household was a massive £4,753 in 2018. Of this, families spent 66% (£3,151) on groceries and 34% on dining out – takeaways, cafes, restaurants, etc.
If you’re wondering how to trim down your grocery shopping expenses, then the easiest and smartest way – is to shop in bulk. Bulk foods cost up to 89% lesser than individually packaged foods, according to the Bulk is Green Council. Wholesale shopping is not only lighter on your wallet but also is good for the environment too. Bulk foods require lesser packaging and lower transportation costs, thereby helping you reduce your household plastic wastes.
Bulk shopping may feel a tad bit intimidating initially – will I use up all the goods I buy? How do I store them at home? What if it expires? Worry not! We help you with it all.
Here are a few ways to save the most money while going on bulk grocery shopping trips.
1. Plan before you Hit the Store
Use a mobile app to jot down ingredients that you have run out of in your kitchen. Plan a weekly menu and list out all the food items that you need for it. It helps you stay focussed on what you want, avoiding impulse buys, thereby keeping your bill value down
2. Make use of Seasonal Deals on Fresh Produce
Most wholesale food distributors in the UK offer seasonal deals on fresh – fruits and vegetables. But, most consumers avoid buying veggies and fruits in bulk because these products have a limited shelf-life. You have to consume them before they get rotten.
Having a few creative recipes and ways to store foods comes in handy. For instance, if you find amazing deals on strawberries, you can purchase a few kilos and make homemade strawberry jam. Apples can be converted into applesauce, shred potatoes and freeze them to make hash browns later.
3. Use your Mobile Calculator
While bulk foods are generally cheaper, stores sometimes offer great discounts on individually packaged items. Use the calculator on your mobile to crunch the numbers. See if it makes sense to purchase a particular product in bulk or packages.
4. Don’t go Overboard
Remember that any ingredient thrown in the trash can in your kitchen is equal to flushing money down the drain. Just because you see a super awesome deal on kidney beans, it doesn’t mean you have to get it, especially when your family hates kidney beans.
Always get foods that are shelf-stable and can be used up in the next few months. Even if a food has a long shelf-life, you want to use it while it’s fresh and not after it’s gone rancid.
5. Use the Bulk Bins to Try out Small Quantities of New-to-You Foods
Want to try quinoa but not sure if you'll like it? Purchase a small amount from the bulk bin, instead of committing to a whole box. When trying foods for the first time – always choose a conservative amount. You can buy in bulk later if it makes it into your weekly menu.
6. Master the Right Ways of Food Storage
Let's say that you have purchased an enormous sack of flour and left it in your pantry. When you reach for it after a few months, you notice that it has a tiny hole, and the flour has spilled all over your pantry shelf. That's your money wasted.
To avoid such situations, you need to learn the right ways of food storage. Double-bag flour and sugar to prevent spills. Transfer dry ingredients like spices, beans, pasta into reusable air-tight containers, and jars for longer shelf-life. Make sure to label and date the canisters so that you know what's inside and how long before it expires.
When you store foods on your open pantry shelves in glass jars, you expose them to light, which can alter the flavour. Purchase opaque disposable food containers in wholesale and use them to store your dry ingredients, thereby avoiding direct exposure to light.
7. The Freezer is not just for Ice-creams
Did you know that flours and nuts stay fresh for longer when stored in the fridge? The same goes for several other ingredients like brown rice, beans, pasta, etc. By storing these foods in the freezer section of your refrigerator, you can extend their shelf-life by a few more months.
8. Shop Online
One of the biggest drawbacks of purchasing groceries in bulk is that you have to carry a lot of items back home. It can be a huge trouble if you take the tube or the bus while going grocery shopping. Today, there are several online grocery shopping sites in the UK that offer free home delivery. Make use of this facility to reduce transportation costs.
The Bottom Line: Bulk Grocery Shopping does Wonders for your Household Budget
While it may seem like extra work initially, once you understand the nuances of bulk shopping, you can see that it helps you save more in the long run. Make use of the tips listed here and get started with wholesale grocery shopping.