Tag Archives: bulk

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Thrifty Food: How to buy organic food for cheaper than non organic

One of the main reasons people choose not to buy organic food is because of the expense. I want to tell you about my friend Amanda and her friends who have found a way to buy their organic food for cheaper than the supermarket non- organic versions.

Lentils, chickpeas and grains invariably cost less when they do it this way and other products are on a par, price-wise. Quality-wise these products are top of the range, much healthier and better for the environment as they are spray-free.

Formally speaking Amanda is part of an organic bulk food cooperative, but put simply she is just part of a group of friends who order their organic products together!

Amanda and her family are one of 12 families who buy large quantities of food each month and then distribute it. Each month the families send their shopping list to one member who then goes on line and orders it, picks it up from the depot, and divides it up amongst the families according to their shopping list. This part is quite a lot of work but because there are 12 of them each family only has to do it once a year.

The day in the month that all the families come to pick up their order is a bit of an organic celebration day, with each family bringing a scrumptious dish and everyone sharing a meal together.

Amanda says “Because we are buying directly from the wholesaler we are cutting out the middle people who are normally the ones that add the extra costs onto products. I love that I can buy fantastic quantities of stuff for even LESS than the non organic stuff at the supermarket.”

Tips for setting up a bulk organic food co-op
Find like-minded friends.
There needs to be enough of you to order food in quantities that get you the cheap “bulk” price and enough of you to get the shipping costs down. If there are five or so families then the postage and packaging costs can be shared amongst you and will barely be felt. However 12 or more make the ordering and distribution occur just once a year for each family.

Get a bank account
A shared bank account will add ease- families put the amount for their order in each month and the whole saler can be paid for out of this.

Sort out your storage
You will need lidded buckets and large jars and at least one big cupboard for storing things- you don’t want sneaky mice getting involved with your nice organic oats!

Allow a few months to really get in the swing of it
It can take a while to iron out a few things- such as ordering the right amount of stuff so that it lasts a month but you don’t have too much surplus

Get everyone on board
Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them each month. The person doing the ordering will send out a reminder email for everyone to get their orders in and they will do the grunt of the work.

Find a treasurer
Having some one who is not scared of maths to oversee the finance and make sure the order is paid for and the sums are correct will make life a whole lot easier.

Amanda and the Go Organic co-op use Chantal’s in NZ but if you are UK based Infinity Foods is a wonderful place too.

How do you keep the costs down on your ethical shopping list?