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How to shop at your bulk food store

And why it’s easier than you think

By Erica Watson

It wasn’t that long ago that “bulk shopping” was little more than the pick-and-mix lollies at Target or the local cinema, but these days bulk – or ‘naked’ – food stores are springing up on every corner. The sugary treats are being replaced with organic fare like quinoa flour and chocolate-covered goji berries, yet bulk food stores aren’t just the sum of their hipster ingredients that most of us will never cook with. They’re actually a really great way to shop minus all the single-use plastic packaging.

I’ll admit I was a little intimidated at first; I had questions. How did it work? What do I buy? And are they expensive? Yes, it can be more time consuming than heading down to your local supermarket, but if you shop mindfully, it can end up being more cost-effective, especially if you only require a small amount of a particular item. Plus, you’re likely to discover some pretty cool things outside the hum-drum of your usual supermarket.

Here are our top three hacks for successful shopping at the bulk food store;

Start with staples

These include flour, legumes, sugar, salt, grains and nuts. Take an inventory of your pantry before you go so you know exactly how much you need of each. The beauty of bulk food stores is you can buy as little or as much as required.

Refill, refill, refill

Stock up on oils like olive or coconut or try raw honey. My local store also has Tamari (gluten free soy sauce) and kombucha on tap. Invest in a quality glass jar – they’ll often sell these too – or simply upcycle an old bottle you’ve recently finished.

Consider your bathroom and kitchen

Shampoo, conditioner, and soap as well as dishwashing liquid are all readily available in most bulk food stores. And again, you can buy small amounts to try them out before committing. By refilling these regularly you’re significantly decreasing your single-use packaging.

Oh, and if you still want the lollies, they have naught treats too.

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