Following new measures against the Covid-19 virus, today’s news has been awash with more stories of shoppers feverishly emptying shelves of certain products. Often, I’ve heard this referred to as ‘bulk buying’, which is unfortunate because that term better describes something planned, considered and rational. Thus, bulk buying clubs are made up of people working together in their common interest to save money by buying collectively from a wholesaler. The process of putting a group order together is a co-operative act, more akin to a ‘slow food’ meal – the very opposite of anxious, impulse purchasing. Far better to describe what we’ve seen over recent days as ‘panic buying’ – anti-social and, ultimately, against all good sense.
About this site
This site aims to encourage and support the setting up of further
bulk buying clubs and small food co-ops in Ireland by sharing the
experience of individuals who have operated a ‘pop-up wholefoods’ model over a number of years.
When we started our Dublin 1 food co-op in 2012, just one of our members was a parent, but in the years that have followed we’ve seen many of our households sprout youngsters and we’ve been finding our way around the world of baby products as never before.
Continue reading “Low-cost and parent-friendly”
Pop-Up Wholefoods, the Dublin 1 food co-op, has begun the new year looking to expand – a little – as it settles into its new home at D-Light Studios. It plans to add around a dozen additional members over the course of 2020, growing its collective purchasing power while still keeping operations small-scale and friendly.
Continue reading “Growing slow in Dublin 1”
Zero waste came to the fore in 2018, with more and more options to buy loose wholefoods by weight. In many instances, though, these were only well-suited to people wanting relatively small amounts of the available products. For those wanting bigger quantities – such as organic flour for home-baking – the cost per kilo of this approach has been its biggest draw-back. It’s just plain expensive! The real savings with bulk purchasing come from buying ‘wholesale’, rather than retail – an option that’s generally off-limits for ordinary households. However, two food co-ops in the city are addressing this issue in different ways.
Continue reading “Go co-op for bulk organic in Dublin”
Tomorrow, I’ll be setting out with an assortment of bags and containers to fill with organic wholefoods – nuts, seeds, pulses, rice and more. Yet, my destination won’t be a zero waste shop or stall, but rather a low-key warehouse in Dublin’s North Inner City. There, a ‘pop-up’ co-op will spring into action to allocate pre-ordered deliveries.
Continue reading “Buying with minimal waste”
The idea of forming a bulk buying club may sound like it would involve recruiting lots of people, but that’s probably not the case. Two related pieces of advice shine through a range of published guides to running such a group:
Continue reading “How many members is ‘enough’?”
- Start small
- If you can, start with people you already know
As today’s Irish Times highlights, a wave of Zero Waste shops and initiatives have sprouted around Ireland and Britain over the past two years, helped by popular campaigns against single-use plastics and a healthy media appetite for the topic. While many of the new initiatives have taken the form of small retail outlets, the bulk buying club model has also been adopted by those looking to go packaging-free, as with London’s Naked Larder.
Continue reading “Joining the zero waste club?”
If you live in a small house or apartment with limited storage, the idea of buying food in bulk may simply sound impractical. However, it’s important to understand that with a bulk buying club, bulk ordering is a collective process which doesn’t necessary mean that individual members and households each have to commit to large quantities. Thus, a group may be ordering 25kg sacks of rice or lentils while making it possible for members to benefit from simply taking a modest share, say of 1 or 2kg. In this way, everyone can benefit from the lowest possible cost per kilo but no-one is compelled to take more food than they can use or comfortably store.
Continue reading “Don’t let ‘bulk’ put you off”
The wonderfully named Naked Larder bulk buying club in South London is the focus of an excellent blog for the Food Co-ops section of Sustain’s website.
Phili Denning, the founder of Naked Larder, has so far added six posts about her early steps with the project. Continue reading “Naked Larder: a starting out story”
Unilever’s 2017 buy-out of Pukka Herbs raised the issue of popular organic brands becoming acquisition targets for multinational companies – in this case a huge corporation whose products range from processed foods to detergents, with brands including PG Tips and Domestos, and operations which include palm oil and tea plantations.
This post discusses how widespread this phenomenon has become and explains the advantage that bulk buying clubs have in responding to such shifts.
Continue reading “When brands change hands”