A Bulk Barn trip is like Christmas to me

It was very timely as it was just ahead of a States-side road trip (to Point Roberts, WA – we’ve never been to), SmartCanucks posted about Bulk Barn’s Earth day deals. Since we’d be passing through Richmond, I immediately made a list of things to buy and was eager to wash out different size containers to bring and try out for the first time their reusable container offer.

You see, I live in Vancouver and the nearest Bulk Barn stores to me are in North Vancouver (crossing two bridges), Surrey and Richmond. I am mostly likely to go to Richmond (on average once every couple of months) and not even usually that far into Richmond (Steveston) where the Bulk Barn is located.

For a year, I lived at 33 Bay Street in Toronto (on the 37th floor – sweet) and I would walk 30 minutes up Yonge to the Carlton Street location. At this time (and maybe it didn’t exist then), there is a closer one near St. Lawrence Market. Anyhow, something is preventing Bulk Barn from operating in Vancouver, Burnaby or the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody). What gives?

For my bulk food needs, I go to my nearest Save On Foods, not too far from my Olympic Village condo to the Cambie Street location. In the duration of an elevator ride, a condo-neighbour told me that not all Save On Foods are created the same and the next closest Save On Foods on Main Street does not have a great bulk section (actually, I knew that too, from a previous visit).

While I’m not sure how many bulk items are at Save On Foods but Choices Markets claims to have nearly 400 products. That is just 1/10th of the over 4,000 products that Bulk Barn has in each store. But the Save On Foods blog suggests that you can bring your own containers like you can to Bulk Barn so I will surely try next time!

I prepared 11 containers running the gamut from Rubbermaid TakeAlongs – I will like the Twist & Seal screw-top version – a couple of glass jars, an old yogurt container and another good-size (about 1 cup) plastic container I saved from a meal prep kit, and David’s Tea tins otherwise languishing unused but stored in my cupboard.

NPY would be mortified to have a queue forming behind him at the cashier as she patiently weighed and labeled all my containers and after that effort, I was pretty encouraged to use them all. It’s not hard at all! I wondered if any of my containers would get rejects – what if they were strict? But they weren’t.

With my containers laid out in the mini shopping cart, I strolled the aisles. Kiddo was stimulated to see all the different food in bins but as the novelty wore off, he wanted to access the food inside the bins. Naughty! Haha. Also super conveniently, I knew the volumes of my containers so I didn’t have to eyeball a scoop of product and just blithely scooped into the container that is most appropriate – e.g., only the smallest tin for the cayenne pepper and a large container for cashews and brown sugar (for an upcoming baking blitz).

In that way, I took advantage of the Earth Day offer of 15% off products when you use re-usable containers.

I’ve admired the gummy bear reusable tote bag for a while and it was also the one that kiddo will enjoy the most to see. It felt so good to not be using plastic baggies and twist-ties, to be using what is already in my kitchen. You can see that I’m super-conscious of these issues now!

Getting the tote bag for free was part of the Earth Day offer if  you spend over $15.

Also I got a branded glass jar which turns out to be made by Anchor Hocking. In no-nonsense sans serif font, I’m happy to promote Bulk Barn and even better, the lid says “Proudly Canadian”. The third Earth Day offer I took advantage of was 20% off purchase of resusable containers!

As for my Bulk Barn haul, I got:

  • Vanilla protein powder (Oh She Glows smoothies)
  • Yogurt-covered pretzels (for the kid)
  • Pearl barley
  • Roasted & unsalted cashews (for making sauces creamy, vegan-style)
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Allspice (trying this out – sounds awesome)
  • Banana coconut bites (for the kid who is off them, unfortunately)
  • Chocolate-covered quinoa
  • Nonna’s bowtie pasta
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Baking powder

Below is my recent IG post to share my sustainability goals and shopping trip with my friends.

1. Look-ee, a Bulk Barn hull 2. Earth Week @bulkbarnfoods promotion 3. Prepping containers for a Bulk Barn trip 4. Used all the containers #zerowaste Question #1- Why are there no Bulk Barn stores in Vancouver or Burnaby? Is there a conspiracy to keep out such a cool store? Question #2- Does/when will @saveonfoods let you bring your own containers to use at their fairly decent bulk foods section? Question #3- If no Bulk Barn (BOOOO), what are my comparable options in Vancouver? @choices_markets? When I lived at 33 Bay in Toronto, I would walk 30 minutes (2.3km) up Yonge to the Bulk Barn and it’s like CHRISTMAS for me. They often have $3 off $10 discounts and I could try so many different foods without commitment. Diversify my diet. Now, I get bulk foods primarily at Save On on Cambie but the selection is basic, then add Bulk Barn in Richmond to my day trip itinerary to Tsawwassen and Point Roberts and it feels like Christmas Amplified. True to my form, I was excited make a shopping list, dig out and clean my containers from meal prep containers to – yay- using @davidstea tins for spices to numerous mason/glass jars I have – get them weighed by the cashier before shopping, filling them instead of flimsy plastic bags and having to fasten with twist-tie and posting this shopping trip on Insta. And I managed to take advantage of all three #EarthDay promotions in one shopping trip. :) #proudlycanadian

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On this day..