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

Got questions about bulk?

We have the answer!

  • Bulk foods are on average 89% lower in price than packaged goods, according the Bulk Foods Study conducted by researchers at PSU’s Food Industry Leadership Center.
  • Buying in bulk significantly reduces packaging waste, and prevents it from entering landfills.
  • Buying food in the exact amount needed decreases food waste and optimizes value.
  • Companies choosing to market bulk foods can save 54% on material and delivery costs, according to the PSU Bulk Foods Study.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Do bulk foods offer the same quality and consistency of packaged products?

A. The quality of bulk foods is the same and often greater than that of their packaged counterparts. Bulk and packaged products (say granola or rice, for example) often come from the same source. However, with packaged products, consumers pay a premium for the brand name, advertising, special packaging, etc. Bulk foods rely on their quality, price, taste and overall value for sales.

Q. Some natural and organic food packaging is made with recycled material. Why is bulk better?

A. The bags and packages provided for bulk foods are usually fit to the size of the purchase and made of low-grade, recycled paper or plastic. This means that less packaging waste ends up in the landfill and fewer resources are consumed during packaging and shipping process, since more large bulk bags can fit on a pallet when shipped from the producer to the retailer.

Q. How is it that people waste less food (and therefore, money) by buying in bulk?

A. With bulk foods, only the amount needed is purchased. Consumers decide the portion, so they’re not forced to purchase a large amount of unneeded product that goes to waste. Bulk items are also less likely to be thrown away than packaged items, which results in less wasted food.

Q. How can shoppers be sure that bulk foods are fresh if they’re not in a sealed package?

A. Bulk foods mostly come in gravity-fed bulk food dispensing systems that automatically rotate product to ensure fresh food is constantly available. What you see is what you get, so consumers can quickly tell the quality and freshness of the product.

Q. Why are bulk foods more affordable than their packaged counterparts? Is something being sacrificed?

A. When buying bulk foods, shoppers are paying for the product and nothing more (no extra fancy packaging, production, and distribution costs for said package) saving an average of 89 percent over packaged goods. The trend in packaged foods is to reduce the amount of food in the package without reducing the price and to charge premiums for overhead costs, meaning consumers end up paying for more than they get.