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 bulk quantities – such as organic flour for home-baking – the cost per kilo of this approach was its biggest draw-back. Buying several kilos of something ought to bring both an economic and environmental saving – less cost, less overall packaging. Yet ‘wholesale’ bulk purchasing is generally off-limits for ordinary households… although two food co-ops in the city are addressing this.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:
- 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.
Many people across the island of Ireland are keeping a close eye on Brexit developments – and bulk buying club members are no exception.
Several groups based in the Republic currently source their deliveries from British wholefood cooperatives, importing without the slightest issue due to the two countries’ shared EU membership. However, in just five months, these small-scale arrangements could become untenable under a potential ‘No Deal Brexit’ bringing the return of tariffs and a range of import procedures. Continue reading “Buying clubs on Brexit watch”
You can now find a Q&A with Pop-Up Wholefoods on the Foodture website: “Buying clubs vs. retail therapy”.
Foodture is a project aiming to nurture a culture of food citizenship and help build strong community support around Fair Food farmers, producers and more in Ireland.
Big thanks to our friends at Foodture for their support!
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.