Home Cooking Techniques & How Tos The Ultimate Guide: How To Buy Food In Bulk and Store Longterm
Buy In Bulk

The Ultimate Guide: How To Buy Food In Bulk and Store Longterm

by Helen
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Buying and Storing Food In Bulk

We buy food in bulk to save money and for fewer shopping trips or boxes from online grocery delivery and packaging waste.  I often get asked how to store or which food items won't go bad over time.  We have curated a list of 20+ healthy foods that will last years if properly stored.  There are many e-commerce stores where you can buy in bulk online, like Thrive Market, Costco, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and even Amazon.  While I prefer to buy organic, grass-fed meat, free-range, sustainable, and eco-friendly, sometimes finding cheap bulk food is tricky.  So far, I have discovered Thrive Market has the most affordable prices on specialty groceries and the most comprehensive selection.  Not only can you purchase dry goods in bulk, but you can also buy meat and frozen fruits and vegetables.  These tips are helpful for those new to shopping the bulk section — and looking to minimize their impact when it comes to grocery shopping.

We'll show you some of the best pantry must-haves that can last years—if stored properly.   We recommend reserving as much as possible in airtight containers—these OXO Good Grips canisters$54.95 for a 5-piece set.

If you are wondering if you can eat organically, you can learn how here.

[This post contains affiliate links.  Also, we participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and may earn a commission if you use these links to buy something.]

Buy In Bulk

Easy To Follow Ultimate Guide: The Best Healthy Food to Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk size is one of the tips that work consistently, every time.  Nevertheless, the most significant counter to buying in bulk needs to be that if you use it slowly, it will expire or spoil.  However, preventing food waste goes beyond buying in large quantities, and you can easily store all groceries properly for a longer shelf life with the proper kitchen storage.

Which are the best healthy foods to buy in bulk?  What items besides household supplies, including paper towels and trash bags, can you buy in bulk and save money?  But will they also last longer than a few months before having to be tossed out?  Creating more food waste and money.

There are quite a few ways to accomplish this task.  With a little bit of planning, some of these products require a freezer, but most will do well when stored sealed in a basement or kitchen pantry.  Keeping your kitchen and pantry organized is a plus when storing food long-term.  Being organized in every room in your home, including the laundry room, makes finding what you need easier.

You can also separate some of your bulk items to create a stockpile for emergencies that can be rotated and replaced to use them up before they expire.  You can store bulk meats you buy and other frozen fruits and vegetables if you have a freezer or an extra refrigerator.  Just be sure to rotate your items to use up what you have stored.

The next time you create your shopping list, consider buying some items listed below in bulk.  Simply knowing they will not spoil, the only unanswered question is, do you have enough storage space to store your items?

26 Grocery Items Including Meat To Buy Online or In The Store

What Food Should I Buy Food in Bulk?

What are the best groceries for bulk buying? 

  1. Whole Grains.  Such as wheat, farro, wild rice, ryequinoa, amaranth spelt, einkorn, etc. You will need a grain mill, but you will be amazed at how tasty freshly milled bulk flour is. For those with Gluten allergies, you can buy in bulk, and the items have about the same shelf life.
  2. Rice (brown or white)
  3. Beans & Lentils
  4. Pasta
  5. Peanut Butter
  6. Chia Seeds
  7. Oats (all varieties)
  8. Popcorn
  9. Frozen Berries
  10. Frozen Fruit and Vegetables
  11. Meat And Poultry.  Store meat in sealed dinner-sized portions in the freezer rather than glass jars.
  12. Maple Syrup.  If left unopened, maple syrup will keep indefinitely, so buy a case of smaller glass jars rather than one big jar.
  13. Honey.  Unopened honey will keep indefinitely. Once opened, its expected shelf life is about two years, so long as it is kept in a sealed container.
  14. Coconut Oil.
  15. Butter.  Store butter in the freezer.
  16. Canned Fish.  Similar to maple syrup, it would be easier and more practical to buy a case of smaller cans than one large can.
  17. Canned tomatoes
  18. Vinegar
  19. Whole Peppercorns
  20. Ketchup
  21. Mustard
  22. Frozen Vegetables.  Like meat, store sealed in dinner-sized portions in the freezer.
  23. Dried Fruits
  24. Nuts in a Shell. Remember the Nutcracker if you don't have one!
  25. Sugar
  26. Salt
Bulk Buy

How To Store Bulk Food Long Term

  • Use airtight containers—lids with seals; don't use chip clips, rubber bands, or paper clips.  Keeping moisture and air out is vital to keep your food fresh and pest-free while in storage to maintain food freshness.
  • What type of containers are best?  Glass is the best choice since chemicals won't leak into your food, and it's your most economical option if you already have containers on hand.  Empty-washed food jars, store-bought food storage containers, all sizes of Mason jars, or one large container for smaller silicone bags.  


  • Mason jars or reclaimed glass jars like once-held spaghetti sauce or peanut butter are ideal for storing smaller food portions. Even if you must use several jars for the same item, they are your most economical option.


  • If you use certain particular items reasonably often in the kitchen and want plenty on hand, but you need more space for lots of jars, you can buy some half-gallon glass jars.
  • A gallon glass jar will be a valuable investment if you mill flour every week for those items you use a lot of, such as whole grains. An excellent example of this for my family would be oats.


  • You'll want to invest in food-grade storage containers when you buy larger quantities of food, like 10+ pounds. These 5-gallon buckets and lids are BPA-free and have a tight seal, so much so that a lid opener is recommended.

Note: A 5-gallon bucket will hold about 37 pounds of whole wheat. 

Buy In Bulk Online

Reuse, Repurpose Storage Containers When You Buy Food In Bulk

Since the cost of containers can add up, you can save on that by buying food in a reusable storage container.

  • For glass jars, half-gallon and gallon jars of pickles you can get at Walmart, and you can reuse the jars.  To get the vinegar taste out of the jar, fill it with a few drops of dish soap and hot water.  Tighten the lid afterward and turn the jar upside down.  Set it and leave it on the counter for 2-3 days, then wash it out.
  • For 5+ gallon buckets, make an initial bulk purchase, including the storage container, and refill from there.  If the item's price is better, including the storage container, continue to buy that one.  Then, you can repurpose the old bucket for things that don't ordinarily come with storage-friendly packaging.

Storage Space Should Be Functional

Storing a bunch of 5-gallon buckets in the pantry is not a good idea. Instead, you can free up pantry space and organize and store it in the garage, basement, or closet. You can also keep a smaller container in the pantry for everyday use and refill it as needed.

Bulk Meat

Label Food Storage Containters

Lastly, write the basic cooking instructions or recipe on the glass jar before throwing the package away.  You can use cute chalkboard labels, custom, reusable labels, basic white mailing labels, or, you can use a permanent marker.  Also, you can write on labels the contents of each container using a marker, tag, sticker, or piece of masking tape.

If you buy bulk laundry items you can also store them in baskets, bins or containers and store them in your garage or if you have a large storage closet.  This especially helful if you are trying to keep your small laundry room organized.

How To Store Bulk Foods Long Term

What stores can you buy food in bulk?

There are several stores, but my favorite supplier when I buy bulk items is Costco. But are Costco membership fees worth the cost? Here are my guides on shopping at Costco.

What Should I Buy Food In Bulk?

Some items you should not buy in bulk at the grocery store are bread, fresh produce, cleaning products that you will only use within a year, and things you will only freeze or eat after it goes bad.

What Are Some Pros and Cons Of Buying Food In Bulk?

The pros: you can save money with lower prices, less packaging, and stockpile things you need. The cons: not making sure the bulk price is a more reasonable deal could result in wasting food and money.

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