Clint Landis is the chief sales and marketing officer at Frontier Co-op and a founding member of the Bulk is Green Council, an organization dedicated to increasing consumer and industry awareness of the environmental and economic benefits of bulk foods.
This year, National Bulk Foods Week begins Oct. 11. Here’s what you need to know about this sales and education opportunity, as well as the state of bulk overall.
Natural Foods Merchandiser: Why should natural food retailers prioritize bulk?
Clint Landis: Natural foods shoppers are leaders when it comes to buying in bulk. They are knowledgeable about the category and aware of the many environmental benefits of shopping the bulk bins, a chief reason being the amount of packaging waste diverted from landfills. Natural food shoppers also understand the ability to purchase the exact quantity needed through bulk, which results in less wasted food. For retailers, creating a human connection to foods through a storytelling approach can be a great selling point, and the bulk section is a good place to do so.
NFM: How can retailers revitalize their offerings?
CL: One of the latest trends in bulk sections is a revolution with the dispensing system itself. These days, bulk sections tend to utilize gravity-fed dispensing systems, which help eliminate sanitary concerns and keeps food fresher because it’s constantly rotated and air exposure is kept to a minimum. Another trend that’s appearing in bulk sections is bulk liquids, such as oils, honey, vinegar, liquid hand soap and shampoo.
NFM: What is National Bulk Foods Week, and how can retailers get involved?
CL: National Bulk Foods Week, now in its fifth year, will occur Oct. 11-17 at participating grocery stores nationwide. The goal is to educate shoppers on the environmental and economic benefits of purchasing foods from the bulk bins, and to bring new shoppers into the bulk aisles. Eliminating the intimidation factor and enticing people into the bulk aisles can be a challenge, and National Bulk Foods Week is all about helping with that challenge.
Enrolled retailers receive a complimentary toolkit they can use to help generate awareness of and excitement around the benefits of shopping the bulk bins. The toolkit includes collateral, cling-ons and fun decorations. And as an added incentive, councilmembers work with participating retailers to offer special discounts on select foods. Stores interested in signing up can do so at BulkisGreen.org.