Scoop up savings with bulk food

LOS ANGELES "Well when you buy in bulk you do a couple of things," said Janet Little, a nutritionist for Henry's Market in Woodland Hills. "One is you save money because you're not paying for that extra packaging and so the manufacturers can charge less. And then two, we're all thinking of living green and so environmentally now you're not paying for all that packaging so it not only saves you money, but it also saves the environment, the planet."

Little says when you buy in bulk you tend to save anywhere from 20 to 30 percent, plus you get the option of choosing as much or as little as you need rather than what the manufacturer wants you to have.

"We have actually over 300 varieties of bulk nuts, of flours, of grains, of dried fruits. You name it we have it," said Little.

While not everything can come from a bin, you'll find nutritious foods like dried beans, grains and flour, right along with the sweets and granola.

"I'm looking for high fiber, low calorie items because I do weight watchers," said shopper Lisa Fishman. "Usually nuts or trail mix, things I can portion out."

Trail mix is the most popular bin item, which is not only 80 cents cheaper for a pound than some 12-ounce trail mix packages.

We checked the price of six other commonly used foods and found the bins make it easy to scoop up savings.

A pound of oats is just 79 cents versus $3.29 for an 18-ounce canister. Are those extra two ounces really worth $2.50 more?

A pound of long grain brown rice, just 99 cents, is 44 cents less than a one pound package, which cost $1.45 for the same one pound of rice.

A pound of seedless raisins cost just $2.19 in bulk, yet a 15-ounce bag cost $1.80 more at $3.99. One of the best savings was a $3 difference on shelled raw almonds, $3.99 versus $6.99.

Comparing a pound of these seven items against packaged versions, you'll see a savings of $9.71 and get more food. Seven packaged items cost $25.44 rather than $16.73 for bulk items.

The bottom line bulking up is easier on your pocketbook and the planet.

And for those who worry about sanitation think about this... many of the foods that are healthy like the grains, legumes and whole flours are often heated before utilized. In addition, many companies offer a drop down spout for pouring so that hands are unable to get into the bins themselves.

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