Loving The Northwest

Loving The Northwest

Sunday, December 27, 2009

WinCo Foods Bulk Bin Shopping

I wanted to talk about the bulk bin section at WinCo Foods. I would normally pass by that section all the time. I figured it was the candy and nut section. I have occasionally picked up some spices before, but I never explored that section until the other day. I actually couldn't believe all the people in that section, I really never noticed (shame on me).

I was really surprised at the additional savings I would be saving by purchasing some of my items in the bulk bin section. I think the first thing is to start with a few items at first. Gather up storage containers at the dollar store, Wal-Mart, and Costco. Costco has some great canisters and pasta containers. They look really nice in your kitchen also.

Winco had some little containers for nuts and spices ranging in price from $.84 -$1.32. I would suggest for the spices to save your spice jars that you already have and when you run out, go to the bulk section, purchase your spice, and then fill it up in your jar at home. They will already be marked with the ingredient and everything.

For my first few items I purchased was popcorn $.61 lb, Wow. My husband makes popcorn almost every night. Then I purchased a few raw hide bones for my dogs, that was a really good price also. I was excited to see such items as: country gravy mix, brown gravy mix, cheese sauce mix, instant potatoes, chex mix, trail mix, corn nuts, brownie mix, pizza crust mix, etc. These all come with instructions and recipes. I was excited to open up more opportunities to my cooking world.

The next thing I need to do is comparison shop. Compare bulk prices to items on the shelf. As I gather up prices I will start tracking them against my bulk section pricing. I will then make the note on my weekly pricing if it's cheaper to buy in the bulk section. How exciting!!!

Here are some of the prices I gathered up. I didn't write down everything so I will try to keep adding to my list. I will start a new label/tab for WinCo Bulk Section on my blog so you can click on it and see the bulk prices.

Prices are all per pound

Dried Fruits/Nuts:
Strawberries $3.65
Cranberries $3.67
Blueberries $7.46
Plums $1.79
Raisins $1.56
Apple rings $2.75
Apricots $3.06
Red Apple rings $1.77
Banana chips $1.51

Raw Almonds $3.88
Chopped Almonds $3.67
Salted peanuts $1.58 (save your planters jars and fill them up with bulk peanuts)
Roasted Peanuts $1.48 (right now planters 16oz is $1.98, so you are saving $.50 buying bulk)
Butter Toffee Peanuts $1.64

Ground Cumin $3.38
Chives $10.16
Nutmeg $5.98
Paprika $3.82
Basil $2.22
Garlic Powder $2.66
Ground Ginger $5.59
Cinnamon $1.64
Sea Salt $.23
Iodized Salt $.20

Pearl rice $.91
Long Grain Wild Rice $.44
Converted Rice $.60
Long Grain Brown Rice $.55

Country Gravy Mix $2.30
Brown Gravy Mix $2.30
Chicken Gravy Mix $2.76
Beef Soup Base $3.91
Chicken Soup Base $3.32
Cheese Sauce Mix $5.31
Instant Potatoes $1.08

Soy Beans $.72
Lentils $.77
Black Eyed Peas $1.00
Split Green Peas $.55
Navy Beans $.76
Great Northern Beans $.83
Pinto Beans $.74

Elbow Macaroni $.79
Penne $.84
Rigatoni $.85
Small shells $.85
Large shells $.85
Rotini Pasta $.85
Egg Noodles $1.18
Spaghetti $.79
Linguine $.85
Lasagna $1.37
Cous-Cous $1.68
Tortellini $4.43
Parmesan Romano cheese $3.98
Parmesan cheese $3.76

Party Trail Mix $2.20
Animal Crackers $1.43
Pork Rinds $4.97
Cheese Curls (Cheetos) $1.89
Chex Mix, cheese favor also $2.93
Corn nuts $1.73
Popcorn $.61
Pretzels $1.89

Baking items

Sweet Flake Coconut $1.53
Baking cocoa $2.89
Granulated Sugar $.48
Chocolate Chips $2.62
Mini M&M's $4.18
Sprinkles $2.42
Powdered Sugar $.54
Brown Sugar $.54
Corn Starch $.76
Baking Soda $.48
Baking Powder $1.10
Buttermilk pancake mix $.70
Buttermilk Biscuit mix $.75
Brownie Mix $.80
Blueberry muffin mix $1.01
Pizza Crust Mix $.84


Yasmin said...

I love (and hate) WinCo's bulk food section. What I hate is that people will stick their hands inside the bins to grab things... and we all know that not everyone practices good hygiene. And worse, allow their kids to eat out of the bins or play with the food. Yuk.

Depending on the item, things will "sit" in the bin for weeks and will fade out due to being exposed to the air and light. A good example is the chocolate chips and the peanut butter chips. Older chips will look to have a white ting to it while the newer stuff is the normal brown color.

The BEST time to shop the bulk section is when an employee is refilling the bins because you're going to have "fresh" product inside the bins. They will refresh the bins at least three times a day (that I've noticed).

If you want something fresh or the bin is nearly out just ask on of the employees. A few of them are super nice and will get you the item from the back but some are grumps about it. Since I've bulk shopped at the Kennewick store for years now I know who to avoid. ;)

If you have to stick your hands inside the bin then take another bag and turn it inside out on your hand to use as a glove. Little trick one of the employees showed me a few years ago.

Also note, that not all of the bulk bin prices are less than the items on the shelf. You really have to watch the "per ounce" sign to see if you are getting a better bargain. Sometimes you are, sometimes you're not. I stopped bulk shopping over the last few months simply because the prices haven't been lower in the things I needed to buy. I still stock up on my cranberries and other dried fruits because those are typically far less expensive then prepackaged.

Last thing... while you can buy whole bags of beans and rice from the bulk section, WinCo will NOT sell the bread flour by the 35 to 50 pound bag because (I've been told) they're taking a loss on it as it is (they're not really since it's around 7 cents less per pound than the prepackaged).

Kevin and Kristin said...

They do have clear plastic gloves in slender boxes on top of some of the bin lids, so look for those when you're reaching in to grab that spaghetti!