BIG is an organization dedicated to helping consumers, food makers and grocers learn about the many environmental and economic benefits of bulk foods.

by swilliams on Mar 19, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Portland, Ore. – March 19, 2014 –The Bulk is Green Council (BIG), together with natural food stores and grocery stores across the country recently participated in the 2013 National Bulk Foods Week to celebrate and educate consumers about the eco-friendly and affordable benefits of buying natural and organic foods in bulk.

 

Approximately 1,200 stores signed up to participate in this weeklong event held October 13-19, 2013 by decorating their stores, promoting through literature, offering samples and discounts on bulk food products, and telling the Bulk is Green story.

 

A big thank you to all involved for helping to make this year's National Bulk Foods Week our most successful yet.  More than 1,200 retailers nationwide participated in the 3rd annual National Bulk Foods Week - keep up the good work and spread the love for (and word about) bulk foods!

 


The Bulk is Green Council (BIG) is proud to announce Fresh Market Store #105 as the winner of the "2013 Bulk Retailer of the Year" award.  Fresh Market #105, located in Miami Beach, FL showed creativity and enthusiasm in promoting National Bulk Foods Week.

Congratulations Fresh Market, Store #105!

 

The Bulk is Green (BIG) Council would like to thank everyone who participated, and encourages you to participate in the 2014 National Bulk Foods Week to be held in October.

 

For more information about the benefits of buying in bulk, please visit www.bulkisgreen.org.

 

ABOUT BULK IS GREEN COUNCIL

The Bulk is Green (BIG) Council is an organization dedicated to increasing consumer, retailer and grocer awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of buying natural and organic in bulk. Founded in 2008, the council serves as a research and advocacy group, conducting and publishing studies on industry trends and offering educational tools and resources online. The board includes industry leaders Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, Hain Celestial, Lundberg Family Farms, SunRidge Farms and Trade Fixtures. Additional information is available at BulkisGreen.org.

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by Admin on Aug 9, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Sizing up Your Growth Strategy, Natural Foods Merchandiser - Joel Warner

 (Click to enlarge)  

Expansion.  It's likely the most exciting, but intimidating, milestone in the lifespan of your business.  Whether you’re looking to add a second location, expand an existing store or just increase your product offerings, growing your company comes with risks—but also sizeable potential rewards.  “Expanding boils down to one question,” says Tom Sokoloff, president of Paradise Health and Nutrition, a three-store chain in Brevard County, Fla. “Are you ready to have your life changed?”  If you are ready to make the leap for your business, questions abound: What’s the smartest way to go about an expansion?  How do you determine the right spot for a new location or the products and services to feature in an enlarged retail space?  And how do you know if it’s really time to grow? 

Here are some tips on what to do—and not to do—from retailers who’ve successfully expanded.

Know when the time is right.  It’s easy to think that once your store has reached a certain level of sales, it’s time to grow.  But Dean Nelson, owner of Dean’s Natural Food Market, says he had different reasoning behind expanding his flagship store in Ocean Township, N.J., from 5,800 to 7,500 square feet and adding smaller locations in nearby Shrewsbury and Basking Ridge.  “Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you should expand,” he says.  “You expand when you think you are not hitting a particular market in your store.  Are you driving consumers elsewhere because you can’t meet their needs?  That’s really the expansion question.”  Store expansions, after all, mean not just major capital expenses, but also sizeable increases in overhead costs, and you have to be sure the potential increase in market share is worth it, Nelson says.  That’s why, before he expanded his operation, he consulted with outside experts.  “I don’t usually believe in consultants,” he says.  “But I think there are times when you need to reach outside of your knowledge base and get some guidance, so you can make a decision on quantifiable information, and not just your gut.”

Consider new locations.  “We used to be able to draw people from up to 15 miles away routinely, because if they wanted good natural, organic products, they didn’t have another choice,” says Terry Brett, owner of the Kimberton Whole Foods chain in Pennsylvania.  “But as mainstream stores started to add more and more natural and organic lines, I saw we were going to lose a lot of these customers.  They were going to drive three miles to Wegmans to do their natural foods shopping, rather than drive another 12 miles to our store.”  Today, the reality is, if retailers want to keep these customers, they have to go to them.  That’s why Kimberton currently boasts five locations.  But how do you determine where to plant your flag these days, especially when there aren’t many communities left that aren’t already serviced by natural options?  One way is to design new stores that build upon, instead of dominate, the existing natural retail landscape.  For Sizing up your growth strategy example, Donnie Caffery of Good Foods Grocery in Virginia, made sure his two small-footprint stores were part of the regional “natural food circuit” by focusing on an area untapped by his competitors: bulk food offerings, including 450 bulk bins and 350 jars of spices and herbs.  “Nobody else around here is moving that department forward,” he says.  “We’ve found a niche within a niche here.”  Niche positioning is also the reason why Brett’s ongoing expansion strategy entails moving closer to bigger retailers such as Wegmans, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market, instead of away from them.  According to Brett, the presence—and success—of such stores suggests there’s an existing market for high-end natural foods, one that could also support smaller, independent stores like his that offer a specialty selection.  “There’s a huge movement to buy local,” he explains.  “We can focus on sourcing products locally or regionally and have a number of products you can only get at a smaller independent because the vendors can’t supply these larger chains.  We are going to be the ‘town grocery store’ to a certain degree.  So many small mom-and-pops have been knocked out of business by the big chains.  There’s a chance for small-footprint retailers to come in and become a local community market.”

Nail down a plan.  Having a well-reasoned expansion plan in place is essential, says Shannon Hoffmann, co-owner of GreenAcres Market.  For example, as GreenAcres grew from a single store in Wichita, Kan., to a second store in Kansas City, Mo., and then a third in Jenks, Okla., the business made sure to nail down its inter-store organization and communication systems.  “We needed to know how the stores would communicate, how they were related and how the central staff would work equally between all stores,” Hoffmann says.  “You don’t want to fall into an out-of-sight, out-of-mind syndrome,” in which one location ends up attracting greater managerial attention to the detriment of the others.  At the same time, GreenAcres put together solid ground teams for each store, crews that understood the unique needs of their location.  “The local community needs to feel that the store is their store,” Hoffmann says, and not an operation that is being managed from afar.  For Sokoloff, careful expansion planning also meant having a savvy financial strategy in place.  For his first store expansion, he secured a bank loan.  But he found he didn’t like being in debt, nor did he enjoy supplying the bank with his financial records each year.  So when it came time to expand again, Sokoloff saved up as much cash as he could so he could cover the cost all at once.  That resulted in a lower price tag because “you can get contractors to work a better deal if you are willing to pay cash when they finish the job,” he says.  But the most important thing to plan for, says Sokoloff, is for not everything to go as planned.  “Realistically, there will always be things that end up taking longer than you think,” he says.  “Even when you plan out everything six months in advance, something will always delay the operation, whether it’s nuances of the inspection process or certain building materials not being available.  The biggest lesson is to be patient with all of these factors.”

Maximize your existing location.  “Bigger is not always better,” Hoffmann warns.  “You really need to look at what you’re already offering and be maxing out what you’ve already got.”  Even when it seems like your store is bursting at the seams, “it’s amazing how you can find room,” she points out, by cleaning out the back room or using sales data to identify and remove slow sellers.  In Nelson’s case, expanding his flagship Dean’s Natural Food Market wasn’t simply about creating more space for existing offerings, but also branching out into new services.  Because many natural retailers’ center-store product lines are under fire thanks to conventional retailers’ forays into natural products, Nelson decided to go in the other direction, making room for peripheral offerings such as a juice bar.  “We identified something that Wegmans and Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s don’t do, which is fresh juice,” he explains.  Foodservice is an exciting peripheral to consider while expanding, but it’s a move that shouldn’t be taken lightly, warns Caffery.  “The minute you step into foodservice, you are stepping into a new arena,” he says.  From ingredient prep to menu pricing to marketing considerations, the operation is more like a restaurant than grocery store.  “Unless you have a foodservice background, you should have a manager who understands that world,” Caffery says.

Enjoy the results.  Yes, a store expansion can be a trying experience.  But for Caffery, once the dust settled, the results paid off.  “Nothing’s more rewarding than when you make that expansion and your customers walk in the door at the grand opening and are so excited for you,” he says.  “It has been so worth it.”

Joel Warner has written for Wired, Businessweek, Grantland, Slate, Westword and many other publications.  He is co-author of The Humor Code, a global scientific exploration of what makes things funny, to by published by Simon & Schuster in early 2014.

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by swilliams on Jul 3, 2013 at 4:56 PM

Earth Month 2013 brought more than 800 pledges from eco-minded shoppers who took the pledge to love bulk foods for Earth Month! We could not be happier with everyone's support and enthusiasm for bulk foods, and hope that support and love for bulk foods will continue in the future. A big congratulations to our winners in the weekly drawings as well:

  • Debbie from Fort Calhoun, NE
  • Ruby from Foothill Ranch, CA
  • Brandy from Nottingham, MD
  • Angela from Savona, NY

Looking forward to celebrating Earth Month 2014! Stay tuned for additional information regarding next year's Love Bulk campaign.

 

Cheers,

The Bulk is Green Council

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by swilliams on Jul 3, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Bulk is Green Council Launches Food Retailer Recruitment for National Bulk Foods Week 2013

Third annual commemoration encourages consumers cut down on food waste

 

Portland, Ore. – June 11, 2013 – The Bulk is Green Council (BIG), a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing consumer, retailer and grocer awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of buying foods from bulk bins, is once again seeking retail partners for its annual National Bulk Foods Week. This year’s week, now in it’s third year, will take place October 13-19 at grocery stores and co-ops across the country.

 

This year BIG hopes to draw particular attention to the role buying from the bulk bins can play in helping to reduce consumer food waste. A recent press release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that roughly 30 to 40 percent of the food supply in the United States goes to waste. Further, the EPA reports more food goes into landfills nationwide than any other single material in municipal solid waste, and in 2010 alone Americans generated more than 34 million tons of food waste.

 

However, according to a recent study conducted by the Portland State University Food Industry Leadership Center (FILC), the main reason consumers shop the bulk foods aisle is for the ability to buy the exact quantity needed. As a result, consumers said bulk items were less likely than packaged items to be thrown away, which results in less food waste. National Bulk Foods Week is one way BIG encourages more consumers to be conscious of the waste they produce.


“Pre-packaged foods tend to create high amounts of food waste, and many consumers are already aware that they can cut down on that waste by buying smaller quantities in the bulk section of their grocery store,” said Todd Kluger, vice president of sales and marketing at
Lundberg Family Farms, a founding BIG member. “With our third annual National Bulk Foods Week, we are looking to partner with retailers to raise even more awareness around this important benefit.”
 

During National Bulk Foods Week the companies that comprise BIG offer special discounts on select natural and organic bulk foods to retailers that can then be passed along to consumers. Participating food retailers are also provided complimentary promotional signage and other materials to promote the benefits of foods from bulk bins and attract new bulk foods shoppers. In addition, participating stores will be entered in the running for BIG’s annual industry recognition – the 2013 Bulk Foods Retailer of the Year. In 2012, more than 800 retailers joined BIG in celebrating National Bulk Foods Week.

The benefits of buying in bulk also go beyond just cutting down food waste. The PSU FILC study found organic bulk foods on average are 89% less expensive than their organic packaged counterparts. Buying from the bulk bins also greatly reduces the amount of packaging waste that ends up in landfills.

 

BIG recently wrapped up a highly successful Love Bulk Foods for Earth Month campaign, which encouraged consumers to take a pledge to purchase bulk foods once a week during Earth Month in an effort to get them excited about the many environmental benefits offered by foods from bulk bins. In all, some 800 consumers took the digital pledge.

 

Food retailers interested in signing up to participate in National Bulk Foods Week 2013 can do so at BulkisGreen.org.

 

More information about National Bulk Foods Week, the PSU FILC bulk foods study and the benefits of buying foods from the bulk bins can also be found at www.bulkisgreen.org. 

 

ABOUT BULK IS GREEN COUNCIL

Bulk is Green Council is an organization dedicated to increasing consumer, retailer and grocer awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of buying natural and organic in bulk. Founded in 2008, the council serves as a research and advocacy group, conducting and publishing studies on industry trends and offering educational tools and resources online. The board includes industry leaders Attune Foods, Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, Lundberg Family Farms, SunRidge Farms and Trade Fixtures. Additional information is available at BulkisGreen.org.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:

Ashley Sherrick

Koopman Ostbo Marketing Communications

P: 503.517.6955

ashley@koopmanostbo.com

 

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by swilliams on Mar 21, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Portland, Ore. - To help celebrate Earth Month this April, the Bulk is Green Council (BIG) is challenging consumers to take the pledge to “Love Bulk Foods” (by bulk foods we mean foods bought from the bulk bins of a grocery store) for the chance to win a gift basket filled with everything needed to help create a natural and organic pantry filled with eco-friendly bulk foods.

Eco-conscious consumers interested in taking the pledge should visit the Love Bulk Foods pledge page on the BIG website and sign a digital pledge to purchase bulk foods once a week during Earth Month. Pledgers automatically will be entered in a drawing where winners will be selected once a week at random and receive their very own Earth Month starter kit filled with everything needed to help create a natural and organic pantry and get on board with bulk foods.

Why should consumers take BIG’s pledge to Love Bulk Foods? According to a recent Bulk Foods Study conducted by Portland State University’s Food Industry Leadership Center (FILC), buying natural and organic bulk foods from the bulk bins provide significant benefits to the environment – chief among them being a substantial amount of packaging waste diverted from landfills. What better time than Earth Month for consumers excited about bulk foods and their environmental benefits?

Check out the above infographic that shows why the earth loves bulk foods.

ABOUT BULK IS GREEN COUNCIL
The Bulk is Green Council is an organization dedicated to increasing consumer, retailer and grocer awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of buying in bulk. Founded in 2008, the council serves as a research and advocacy group, promoting industry trends and offering educational tools and resources online. BIG also sponsors National Bulk Foods Week each October. The board includes industry leaders Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, Hain Celestial, Lundberg Family Farms, SunRidge Farms and Trade Fixtures. Additional information is available at BulkIsGreen.org.

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by Admin on Nov 19, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Portland, Ore. – November 19, 2012 –The Bulk is Green Council (BIG), together with natural food stores and grocery stores across the country recently participated in the 2012 National Bulk Foods Week to celebrate and educate consumers about the eco-friendly and affordable benefits of buying natural and organic foods in bulk.


Approximately 800 stores signed up to participate in this weeklong event held October 14-20, 2012 by decorating their stores, promoting through literature, offering samples and discounts on bulk food products, and telling the Bulk is Green story.


“Bulk food aisles have been around for decades, and the countless environmental and money-saving benefits are becoming more well-known among shoppers,” said Clint Landis, chief marketing officer for Frontier Natural Products Co-Op and a founding member of the Bulk is Green Council.  “Still, for those who have never shopped in bulk, National Bulk Foods Week provides the perfect opportunity to discover the environmental and economic benefits of doing so.”


Governors of fifteen other states also formally recognized the benefits of shopping the bulk foods aisle by proclaiming Oct. 14-20, 2012, National Bulk Foods Week in their states.


The Bulk is Green Council (BIG) is proud to announce Market of Choice #7 as the winner of the "2012 Bulk Retailer of the Year" award.  Market of Choice #7, located in Corvallis, OR showed great creativity in promoting National Bulk Foods Week.  To help celebrate and promote all the good reasons to buy in bulk, Amanda C., Bulk Buyer for Market of Choice #7 decorated her bulk section very well, brought in 15 local bulk food suppliers for sampling and also brought in waste management personnel to talk about the packaging savings associated with bulk foods.  Congratulations Market of Choice #7 and Amanda!


The Bulk is Green (BIG) Council would like to thank everyone who participated, and encourages you to participate in the 2013 National Bulk Foods Week to be held in October.


For more information about the benefits of buying in bulk, please visit www.bulkisgreen.org.

ABOUT BULK IS GREEN COUNCIL

The Bulk is Green (BIG) Council is an organization dedicated to increasing consumer, retailer and grocer awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of buying natural and organic in bulk. Founded in 2008, the council serves as a research and advocacy group, conducting and publishing studies on industry trends and offering educational tools and resources online. The board includes industry leaders Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, Hain Celestial, Lundberg Family Farms, SunRidge Farms and Trade Fixtures. Additional information is available at BulkisGreen.org.

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by Admin on Aug 24, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Portland, Ore. – August 18, 2010 – Appealing to the soccer mom and the penny-pinching couple alike, shopping in the bulk foods aisle has quickly become one of 2010’s hottest trends, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Celebrating National Bulk Foods Day on October 23 and this boom in bulk shopping, the Bulk is Green Council is proud to announce the launch of the first of a series of two YouTube videos that follow everyday shoppers on a trip to their neighborhood grocery store, documenting how they save time and money while shopping green.

"Budgets are tight and people are thinking twice about how far their dollar takes them," said Bart McKnight, founding council member and Category Manager for Trade Fixtures.  "We decided to document the experiences of real people to better understand how Americans are getting creative with their purchasing decisions, and we think that these videos will teach people a thing or two about to how to make cost-effective, eco-friendly choices at the grocery store."

The first YouTube video, which can be viewed here, follows a 40-something man and a mom and her son on their quest to gather the 11 ingredients needed to make a wholesome natural snack.  The man shops in the regular aisles of the grocery store, while the mom and child shop exclusively in the bulk foods aisle.  The drastic difference in total cost and time required of each is then compared.

The second video in the series follows a different set of shoppers who are prepping a gourmet dinner for a group of friends, and will be launched in time for the first-ever National Bulk Foods Day on October 23.

"The videos reveal some interesting information about how people shop for food today," said Clint Landis, founding member of the Bulk is Green Council and Chief Marketing Officer for
Frontier Natural Products Co-Op.  "We suspected that the mother and child shopping natural in bulk would save money – anywhere from 30 to 96 percent – but we were surprised to see the little boy had fun selecting all the ingredients from one aisle.  He actually taught his mom how to shop in bulk, while the single man shopping in the regular aisles had to run all around the store to find what he needed and ended up pretty frustrated."

The Bulk is Green Council launched the YouTube campaign as part of an ongoing effort to educate people on the environmental and economic benefits of shopping natural and organic in bulk.  Founded in 2008, the council includes industry leaders Hain Celestial Group, SunRidge Farms, Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, Trade Fixtures, and Lundberg Family Farms.  The Bulk is Green Council invites YouTube viewers to share their own experiences shopping in bulk by posting their story in the video’s comments section at http://www.youtube.com/BulkisGreenCouncil, or by contacting the council at BulkisGreen.org.

 

ABOUT BULK IS GREEN COUNCIL

Bulk is Green Council is an organization dedicated to increasing consumer, retailer and grocer awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of buying natural and organic in bulk.  Founded in 2008, the council serves as a research and advocacy group, conducting and publishing studies on industry trends and offering educational tools and resources online.  The board includes industry leaders Hain Celestial, SunRidge Farms, Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, Trade Fixtures, and Lundberg Family Farms.  Additional information is available at BulkisGreen.org.

by Admin on Apr 22, 2010 at 2:37 PM
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Bulk Is Green council wishes everyone a Happy Earth Day.  Remember bulk is a very easy, economical, and practical way that you can participate in saving resources in reducing your carbon footprint.

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by Admin on Mar 30, 2010 at 2:28 PM
RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—If you're looking for one easy way to go green this spring, stop buying packaged food and start buying in bulk. Buying in bulk allows you to ditch all the excess packaging—even use your own, reusable containers—and buy it for less...(more)

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by Admin on Mar 22, 2010 at 3:19 PM
PORTLAND, OR—With the influx of new retailers offering bulk foods and double-digit sales growth in 2009, buying food in bulk is slated to be one of the biggest money-saving trends of 2010, according to the Bulk is Green Council...(more) 

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