I wish for a day where I can walk to my local grocery store to shop an expansive bulk shopping section! I live in San Francisco and sadly I typically need to drive 15-30 minutes to get the true bulk shopping experience. To me, that means the store has an expansive dry bulk section, liquid filling options for things like olive oils and vinegars as well as other items like coconut oil. In personal care, I love when there is an option to refill shampoo and lotion bottles. Ultimately, this is why Replenish Grocers came to life. I believe we need bulk grocery stores throughout the city to support each and every neighborhood. I saw a need and I decided to build my own store to serve the neighborhood I live in.
When I go bulk grocery shopping, I plan in advance and figure out how to make the most of my trip to the bulk store. How do I plan you ask?
1. I look through my pantry and see what things can I buy in bulk
2. I make a list.
a. A sample list might include mixed nuts, popcorn kernels, walnuts, almonds, balsamic vinegar, forbidden rice, avocados, lime, tomatoes, bulk lotion and shampoo.
3. I collect various glass jars (some bought + some reused). I find jars easier for many items.
4. I grab some mesh and cloth bags which can be good for things like popcorn or produce.
5. I grab my reusable bags to carry everything home. My favorite bags by Chico Bags hold up to 40 lbs and can be put in your washing machine. Did you know how much bacteria collects in those reused shopping bags over time? Having ones you can wash is a game changer.
The very first time I hit the bulk shopping section, I was intimidated! I literally sat there and took inventory of what everyone was doing. It’s really not so hard so don’t be intimidated. So here is what you do:
- The first step is to weigh your container to get the tare weight. I have some jars and mesh bags that already have the tare weight on them. You will want to write the Tare Weight which is the weight of an empty vehicle or container. Bulk sections will have stickers or paper twist ties to write this on. I use a grease pencil to write on the lid. Mesh and cotton bags will typically be “tared” at 0.05lb unless the bag includes a tag with the tar weight.
- Fill the jar or bag with your desired Replenish Grocers item
- Write down the PLU or Product Look Up number on a sticker, lid or paper twist tie so the associate can identify what item is in the container
- Some people elect to write the tare weight + PLU on their cell phone and then provide that information at check out.
- Take all your yummy goodies to check out. The associate will weigh your items, deduct the tare weight and only charge you for the product inside your container.
- Head on home for a nourishing meal knowing that you made a difference today. And come back soon to your Replenish Grocers team to continue your journey and impact! And tell a friend!
- And if you are intimidated by bulk shopping, know that our associates are here to help you and support you on your journey whether you are on day one or day 1000.
My Plastic TRUTH:
Do I get frustrated when I go shopping? Is it overwhelming? Is there plastic in my refrigerator and kitchen? The answer is a resounding YES! I love cottage cheese and other items and so far, I have not found a plastic-free alternative readily available. I want to reinforce that it is important to always remember to focus on progress, not perfection. Take steps to minimize your plastic usage over time. And in a year or two, you will look back and be surprised at the wonderful impact you have made. Celebrate the wins!