Oryana and many food co-ops first started out decades ago when health-conscious families purchased beans, rice, oats, flour, and other whole foods in 50 lb bags that they divvied up among themselves. These foods were very expensive at conventional grocery stores so they had to form buying clubs to purchase them in bulk amounts. Fast forward 50 years and Oryana boasts the largest co-op bulk foods section in Michigan where you can buy those same foods and hundreds of others without all the packaging.
When you purchase in bulk, you can get as little or as much as you want, from a partial ounce to 5 or more pounds. We’ve got everything from flour, sugar, grains, beans, rice, salt, nuts, and seeds to granola, coffee, tea, cooking oil, honey, maple syrup, candy, dried fruit, spices, medicinal herbs, snacks, and even soaps.
Shopping in bulk saves money because you don’t get more than you need and you aren’t paying extra for packaging. It’s an easy way to make your shopping even more eco-friendly.
Here are some handy tips for navigating the bulk department.
- Choose a container – Bring your own CLEAN containers (glass or plastic jars or containers, plastic tubs, cloth sacks, bottles, silicone bags, etc. from home.) If you bring a bag, we provide twist ties. If you forgot to bring a container, we have bags and containers available.
- Get the TARE weight – If you bring a jar, make sure to weigh it first and write down the weight, either right on the container, or on a sticker that we provide and place the sticker on the container. Scales, pens, and stickers are conveniently located in the bulk area. You want to make sure we don’t charge you for the weight of the container. You can also ask a cashier or customer service to weigh your container for you.
- Fill your containers – We have gravity bins where you place your container under the spout and release the lever, scoop bins where you use the scoops provided, and pour spouts for liquids.
For spices, teas, and medicinal herbs, use the small scoops provided for the product in the screw top jars. When you’re finished, place the scoop in the ‘used’ cup to avoid cross contamination.
For nut/seed butters and coconut oil, use the large portion scoops.
Note: Portion each bulk item into a separate container. Please do not mix bulk items in the same container.
- Write down the PLU number – The PLU (price look-up) number is on each bulk dispenser. Writing this number down on a sticker and placing the sticker on the product (or on a white twist tie) saves time at the register so the cashier does not have to look it up. If you get home and forget what a bulk item is, you can look up the PLU here.
- Not sure what to do? Feel free to ask any Oryana staff member for assistance. They will be happy to locate products for you or walk you through the steps of purchasing something in bulk.