Lesley Kennedy

Here’s the Secret to Scoring Cheaper Organic Foods…


There’s an understandable allure to organic products, what with their aura of goodness and sustainability. The only turn-off: organic can be just so darn expensive. But what if you could snag things like organic granola, nuts and coffee at more than half off?


That’s just what a recent study commissioned by the Bulk Is Green Council suggests. As NPR reports, the study, which was conducted by researchers at Portland State University’s Food Industry Leadership Center, compared the cost of packaged organic products at a half dozen Portland, Ore.-based stores with their counterparts in the bulk food aisle.


The results? Researchers found that, on average, the packaged versions were 89 percent more expensive than the bulk items, which translated into a savings of 56 percent.




But not so fast, says NPR. It’s not so much that the Bulk Is Green Council (which, as you might have guessed, is a bulk industry trade association) made a donation to Portland State in exchange for the results of the study (the council apparently had no say in how the study was conducted). It’s just that the 56 percent savings might be a tad overinflated.


NPR examined the study results and then did some price comparisons of its own at a couple Washington, D.C.-area stores. All in all, the news organization says it found a 21 percent savings on bulk organic products at one store and an average 14 percent savings for both stores.


So, yeah, that’s a big difference to go from 56 percent to 21 percent, but, we must confess, even a 10 percent savings is enough to get us to think about shopping more often in the bulk aisle for everything from dried fruit to beans to pasta to spices. And as Earth Day approaches, you can feel good by factoring in the environmental benefits as well.


“According to the findings, if coffee-drinking Americans purchased all of their coffee in bulk for one year, nearly 240 million pounds of foil packaging would be saved from entering a landfill,” a release from Bulk Is Green states. “If Americans purchased all their almonds in bulk for one year, 72 million pounds of waste would be saved from a landfill.”


Saving some green and going green, too? Sounds like it’s time to clean up in the bulk food aisle.





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