After a well-taken series of Instagram story posts on my Bulk food organization, I’ve decided to put together a post highlighting my tips for bulk-food storage while touching on vegan pantry staples. Let’s get right into it!
Why is having a bulk pantry so important?
- Purchasing ingredients or items in bulk will lower your waste consumption and curb your garbage contribution. By purchasing items without packaging, you are able to contribute to a zero-waste or low-waste economy. There is no guarantee that your soft plastic or hard plastic will be recycled with your city so it’s best to not consume the package at all. Containers can be collected but may not be converted.
- If you purchase your bulk items from small shops, you are able to support a small business. In Vancouver, I enjoy going to NADA and The Soap Dispensary. You can locate bulk food in large shops such as Save-On-Foods, Superstore, Whole Foods, Bulk Barn, etc.
- When you display your items in bulk, you can see your ingredients more clearly and will use them frequently.
Is purchasing in bulk less expensive than pre-packaged?
- Purchasing in bulk will always be cheaper than pre-packaged. You are not paying for a branded mark-up or cost of packaging.
- If you purchase your bulk from a store like The Soap Dispensary or The Refill Shop who takes your order and provides you with the final product, you will be paying a middle-man mark-up but it is still cheaper than pre-packaged.
- You can find items that will cost a little more but will last you longer. We purchase laundry detergent that is 8 x the strength. We use a fraction of what we would normally and it will last us triple the time.
Can I use my own packaging when purchasing bulk?
Most stores will not allow you to purchase your bulk in your own containers due to their health and safety codes. However, there are stores like The Soap Dispensary, The Refill Shop, NADA and Bulk Barn that encourage you to bring your own containers.
If you do not have your own containers, please refrain from using the plastic bags they offer! You can purchase your own reusable cloth bags and if you do not have those, grab some brown paper bags from the bakery department.
Can I purchase bulk cleaning supplies?
Yes! We purchase laundry detergent, hand soap, dish soap and dishwasher soap. You can find everything from all-purpose cleaner to even bath and body products like shampoos and lotions.
If you type in “bulk food organization” into Pinterest, you’re sure to find endless inspirational images also known as “organizational porn” but please don’t type that into Google! This is very different from the Google search. The above photo does not showcase all of my pantry staples and this is also not how my cupboard looks every day. I did put this together for the sake of this image and that’s typically what you’ll find on Pinterest. We can get wrapped up in how other people’s pantries look with their matching containers that cost $20 per piece that we look down on our own. The thing is, it’s not really about the look of the pantry but the items you can find to store your food.
Here are my tips for creating a bulk food pantry that works for you:
- Create a list and start small with items that you use daily or weekly. Creating a bulk pantry becomes very costly if not done properly and there is no rush!
- Use containers that you already have: Tupperware, jars from peanut butter, sauces, etc.
- Locate more containers from your local recycling room. If you live in an apartment as I do, just hop down to your recycling room and find glass containers that are being dropped off for recycling. I’ve done this twice so far and have scored some awesome jars that you can see in the image above. The reason I do this is that I am looking to lower my consumption waste of packaging and purchasing more packaging to contain my bulk is not why I do this.
Now that you’re getting started, I’d love to share what vegan staples I have in my food pantry for anyone who is creating their own list and may share the same diet. All of these items can be purchased in bulk.
|BAKE / COOK||GRAINS / MORE||SEEDS / NUTS||EXTRA|
|Flour – Almond, Tapioca, Garbanzo (chickpea), Coconut, Quinoa and All-Purpose||Pasta||Flax||Rose Petals|
|Arrowroot Powder||Oats||Zatar||Protein Powder|
|Baking Soda||Rice – White, Black & Brown||Hemp Hearts||Spices|
|Cornstarch||Beans – Red, White & Black||Sesame||Coconut Flakes|
|Baking Powder||Quinoa||Chia||Coconut Shredded|
|Coconut Sugar||Chickpeas (dry & wet)||Sunflower|
|SAUCES / OILS||LIQUIDS|
|Avocado Oil||Rose Water|
|Coconut Oil||Orange Blossom Water|
|Olive Oil||Elderberry Syrup|
|Sesame Oil||Loose Leaf Teas|
|Maple Syrup||Maple Syrup|
|Balsamic Vinegar||Apple Cider Vinegar|
I’d love to see your bulk food options!! Tag me at @RandaSalloum on Instagram and show me what your pantry looks like.