“When a group of people want to buy food cheaply, but don’t want to pay rent or salaries or have a store and are all willing to work, they have a food conspiracy. Buying club and co-op are other names for this kind of organization, but they also apply to groups with paid managers, storefronts and profits.”
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.
Bulk buying clubs are friendly creatures – but often a little publicity shy! Most are simply ticking along as groups of friends who may have little need to recruit more members. They have no real use for a website or Facebook page and word-of-mouth may well be their only form of promotion. Continue reading “Good to know, hard to find”
Developing the ‘how to’ pamphlet to accompany this site has meant a rewarding trawl through literature developed by and for bulk buying clubs in earlier eras. One gem from 1983 still provides an excellent checklist of issues to consider around starting a group. Called ‘Deciding Whether to Organize a Food Buying Club’, it was published by the Cooperative Extension Service of Virginia Tech, a public university in the U.S., which has thankfully preserved and shared the document for the online age. Continue reading “Classic start-up checklist”
The July/August issue of Ethical Consumer magazine has a focus on palm oil and the issues wrapped up in its expanding cultivation, leading to deforestation, lost habitats and a hastening of climate change. Continue reading “Palm oil review: ‘no easy answers’”
I’m always glad that there are small, independent shops that sell wholefoods. The best of them steer clear of the temptation to pack their shelves with high-profit vitamins and supplements, with owners genuinely believing that good wholesome food is the best medicine.
But there’s a problem, still – one that the bulk buying club approach can fix. Continue reading “The problem with health food shops”