Shopping The Bulk Aisle at The Co-op!

Shopping Monadnock Food Co-op’s Bulk Aisle

One of our shoppers’ favorite aisles in the store, our bulk aisle, offers dozens of spices, nuts, flours, grains, coffee, and even candy options! The aisle, though incredible in its offerings, can often feel overwhelming for newer shoppers and regulars alike. Let’s talk bulk!

Did you know you can bring your own containers?

We encourage shoppers to bring their clean, reusable bags, containers, and Tupperware to shop the bulk aisle! There are a few important steps we ask of you before filling up your clean containers:

  • When you bring your clean container into the bulk aisle, it’s important to weigh it before filling it up! Near the ground peanut butter, across from the bulk coffee, you’ll find a special scale that will provide you with the “TARE” weight of your container. It’s important to record the TARE weight to provide to your cashier so they can accurately deduct your container’s weight from the total weight when it’s full of your bulk item. Otherwise, you pay for your container on top of the item. If you need assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask an employee. We are happy to help! 
    • Weighing your container applies to all jars, including spice jars, jars for ground peanut butter, coffee, and olive oil.
  • Once you’ve recorded the TARE for the cashier, find the bulk item you’d like and fill up your container! It’s important that you also write down the three-digit code associated with the product, labeled as the “PLU” on the container. Since there are several organic and nonorganic offerings of products in the bulk aisle, this number is especially important to make sure you are paying for the product you have and want.
  • Did you fill your container with more product than you want? Talk to an employee! They can safely help you return some of the extra bulk product back to its original place.

Those are the basics of bringing your container to the bulk aisle!

What about the bulk spices?

Our Bulk Buyer, Mark, offered us some great tips for shopping bulk spices!

  1. Select the spice or tea you are looking for. Tip: Spices are organized alphabetically A-Z with the teas on the bottom two shelves.
  2. Take a small paper or plastic bag from the ones provided, or use a reusable spice jar or bag available for purchase at front end of the aisle, or bring your own clean bag/container (make sure to remember to get the tare weight from the scale in the aisle or bring it to the register so a cashier can weigh it for you).
  3. Write the PLU number (the three-digit code on the container)on the bag or on the twist-tie of the spice or tea.
  4. Fill your bag/container by pouring or using one of the scoops provided on the left (take from the Clean Scoops container).
  5. Close up your bag (paper bags fold over the top, plastic bags use the twist-tie) and put the spice away in its original location.
  6. Clean up the counter if you spilled any of the spice or tea (use the handheld dustpan and broom to the left and place the scoop in the Dirty Scoops container if applicable).
  7. Bring the spice/tea to the register when you are ready to check out and the cashier will look it up using the PLU you wrote down and will weigh it at the register.

You do not need to bring your own!

We have options for free in-store as well! You can use any of the paper/plastic/compostable options found in the aisle for free as well, and follow the same process for writing down the PLU for your product. You won’t need to TARE the bags we provide for free.

You can also purchase any of the glassware options found in the aisle and use them for the bulk aisle as well! There are glass jars for spices, mason jars, and olive oil containers available for purchase.

Feeling confused, overwhelmed, or curious?

This aisle has a lot going on! If you’re ever having trouble locating a product or are curious about its contents or how something works, please don’t hesitate to ask an employee!