Shopping more ‘consciously’ (sorry for the word, it cringes me out too but it is actually the most accurate word I can find to describe it) is something I’m becoming increasingly passionate about. Whether I’m comparing prices (yes I take notebooks to the supermarket and am always on the look out for discounted items), ethics (I recently found out about this awesome new ethical online department store) or reducing my plastic consumption (I am shopping more and more zero waste – check out this new online zero waste store that has recently opened), it’s a huge focus of mine at present.
But still, the inconvenience of traveling with my bags and jars (although buggies do come in very handy for this) or simply the lack of options means sometimes I need to mix things up. Enter bulk buying. And kilograms of cous cous and coffee arriving to our doorstep.* Here’s what you need to know to place your own order:
Which bulk store should you order from? Searching on Google will bring up a tonne of different online stores but I decided to opt for Suma which is a co-operative which basically means it’s run by its members. Everyone at Suma gets paid the same wage, regardless of what job they do and all their products are sourced ethically and they only sell vegetarian products, specialising in organic, vegan and fairtrade, which suits us really well. Bear in mind if you do go with Suma that they have a minimum spend of £250 and they’ll also direct you to a partner store which stocks their products if there’s one super local to you, so it’s definitely worth calling them first just to check in.
What next – I need a gang! Social media is your friend here, and in particular local Facebook groups. I put a message out on my local Parents group and within a day I had 11 other local parents wanting to be involved. I started an email chain going to gauge who was ‘in in’ and then got a Whatsapp group going to work out finer details. I then created a spreadsheet which you can find here. Note also the column comparing prices with supermarket prices – bulk buying saves you money!
Got my crew – now what? I phoned Suma (such lovely people!) who provided me with guest login details which I shared with the group enabling us to peruse the website to take a look at which products were available. We then agreed a window of 4 weeks to choose the products we wanted and enter them into the spreadsheet. Once we were ready to place the order, I asked everyone to transfer me the funds before I placed the order. I – the account holder – then phoned Suma to activate the account properly, provided bank account details and amazingly, simply sent their Sales team our spreadsheet and they placed the order for me. So convenient. Note that the order gets consolidated under the account holder but each person get their own separate invoice, which is also super handy.
It’s been a super simple, convenient and money -saving process and now means we are stocked in staples such as quinoa, coffee and fairy liquid for some time to come – happy days ! Finally, it’s also allowed me to start building a community of like minded local mamas in our area.
What’s not to love? Not least because I now have a supply of ground coffee to last me for MONTHS.