By Peter Covino
Don’t you hate it when a recipe calls for one teaspoon of some exotic spice and you have to pay $6 for a jar of something you might never use again?
Rejoice, shoppers. Bulk Nation is coming to Osceola County.
The new food concept features an entire store with products, mostly of the dried variety, in hundreds of bins. You can buy everything from cereal to coffee, to flour, spices and candy, by the ounce or by the pound.
Bulk Nation opened its first store in Sarasota in 2013 and the idea has caught on quickly.
Company President Clay Donato is about to launch several new stores in the Orlando area and elsewhere in Central Florida, including Kissimmee.
“We have more than 3,000 items available,” in our stores, said Donato, which are placed conveniently in rows of bins.
The shopping process is fairly simple. You find the product you want, scoop out the desired amount, write down the appropriate bin number and pay for your purchase.
Take coffee for example. The store features 30 varieties.
“And you can buy a pound or just one bean if you desire,” Donato said.
The store should really be a great place to shop for all those home chefs looking for all those ingredients in a recipe, but you don’t want the expense of buying more than you need or some fancy container.
“It is a huge benefit consumers not to have to pay for packaging,” he said.
In addition to cost saving, Bulk Nation also offers many items you won’t find in the neighborhood grocery store.
“Ninety percent of our products are unique,” he said.
Another good example is flour. While grocery stores stock a few varieties, Bulk Nation features 30 different kinds.
Rice is another product where the variety is also a lot greater than the typical grocery store.
“We sell several exotic kinds of rice as well as some 20 different rice blends,” he said.
Bulk Foods should also be a great place to stock up for that next party. You can find all sorts of candies and snacks in the various bins, as well as nuts, seeds and other products to make your own trail mix.
Many products are organic and gluten free.
“We also have fresh stock,” Donato said, with new shipments arriving twice a week.
While the vast majority of products in each store are dried goods, there are some other surprises as well. You can buy honey at Bulk Nation. Honey is kept in heated vats to make it flow easier.
Or how about your own fresh peanut butter or other nut variety? You can grind the nuts yourself at Bulk Nation.
In addition to the rows of bins, Bulk Foods does stock some pre-packaged items.
And if you are buying loose tea, the shop sells accessories as well, like a tea strainer to make that tea.
There also is an assortment of containers and jars for home storage of your purchased products.
Products, like candy, are cheaper to buy by the pound as opposed to by the ounce, but there also are weekly specials where shoppers can save even more money.
Donato said the typical Bulk Nation store is about 4,000 to 5,000 square feet, and stores will sell most of the same products, but you will find some slight changes in merchandise according to store location. The Kissimmee store, for example, will feature more Latino products because of the large Latino population.
Among the many other products for sale at Bulk Nation are bean and soup mixes, cereals and grains, chocolates, dried fruit, drink mixes and protein powder, no sugar added products, honey and spreads, pasta and more.
The August monthly flier shows some of the discount prices currently offered at Bulk Nation including jumbo cashews, $6.99 a pound ($1.75 for four ounces); almond bark, $4.99 a pound ($1.25 for four ounces); pitted dates, $3.99 a pound ($1 for four ounces); in-shell peanuts, $1.79 a pound (45 cents for four ounces); Ocean Spray Craisins, $2.99 a pound (75 cents for four ounces); and sunflower meats, $1.99 a pound (50 cents for four ounces).
Spice product features include: black pepper, 79 cents an ounce; smoked paprika, 49 cents an ounce; ground cinnamon, 49 cents an ounce; cayenne pepper, 59 cents an ounce and spelt flour, $1.99 a pound.
Snack sale products include: Bear Crunch Popcorn, $4.49 a pound; Dieters Delight snack mix, $4.99 a pound; sesame sticks varieties, $2.99 a pound.
The monthly flier also include a few coupon specials such as take $2 off entire purchase of $10 or more and a free pound of fresh grind you own peanut butter with a purchase of $10 or more.
The new Osceola Bulk Nation store will open in the Buenaventura Lakes area, with a target date of October.
There is more information on Bulk Nation at www.bulknationusa.com.