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Sourcing Ingredients From Bulk Food Stores

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I'm going to start baking and freezing cookies and treats for an event in December.  The first I'll make is a nice, flour-less chocolate and coconut recipe.  This calls for unsweetened chocolate, sweet shredded coconut and pecan pieces.

 

I'm tempted to go to the local bulk food store to get these ingredients.  However, the last time I got some shredded coconut there, to make some trail mix, the coconut tasted like pencil shavings.  While it is one-stop shopping, with the impression that the products are sold at a discount, I'm wondering if they are just selling crappy, sub-standard ingredients, that are not worth the savings.  There is nothing worse than going to the trouble of putting together a good recipe, only to find out the ingredients do not taste very good.  That is why I am usually  a premium ingredient cook.

 

I'm wondering what people think about these bulk food stores, or has any background as to how they are run and whether they operate by selling poor products without any significant benefit to the consumer.  Thanks for any insight.

post #2 of 3

     Much depends on the  individual store. What they buy, how often, how well they rotate stock. Near me I have a member owned cooperative that sells a generous selection of bulk foods. Generally great products, well maintained by a caring staff. Having said that, I won't buy the bulk or fresh ground peanut butter very often without asking for a sample first. Certain products go downhill quickly. While you can grind the peanuts at time of purchase so the butter is fresh, that doesn't take into account how fresh the peanuts are or how well the bulk container is sealed to keep them fresh. I buy commercial peanut butter at the supermarket because the peanuts are processed, ground and sealed right away. 

 If you have any ethnic markets near by, they can be a good source of bulk foods as well. 

Places like Costco, Sam's Club buy in bulk and the products can be of good quality but checking for quality by sample isn't really possible. 

So you may need to do a bit of research in your area and talk to a few store managers. It isn't always a simple choice between crappy and quality.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Appreciate your comments. 

 

I go to one, the rice, grains, candies are probably fine.  The nuts taste a bit off and not nearly as good as pre-packaged, which I can get in larger quantity at Costco.  The dried fruits aren't as good, either.  I have a feeling a co-op, patronized by people who are serious about quality, would be much better.  I'll probably start asking around for one.  I know the results will improve.

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