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We all know that most of the time, a spice is offered in loose quantities in the bulk section of the supermarket and there's a prepackaged alternative sold in another area of the same store. Things like salt, pepper, flour, sugar, etc are these types of items. If it's used to flavor a food, it's generally sold in either bulk or prepackaged quantities.

Do you find that there's a lower cost associated with one or the other? I know most of us are big bin shoppers and look at the quantity/price correlation. Let's hear what you think. :)
 

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I wish I had an easy, short answer for this, but I don't.:clown2:

I shop at Winco--west coast store chain--for my weekly groceries. They have 3 options for spices. Bulk Bins, Spice Section and the Ethnic Food Section.

And it depends on what your buying where the best price is. Cinnamon Sticks--Ethnic Section. Same with Bay Leaves. Garlic Powder--Bulk Bins. Same with Chili Pwder.

And I also buy some spices at Costco.

I rarely buy anything from the spice section in the small containers. Crazy expensive when you calculate the per ounce price.
 

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I stopped by a Penzey's Spice store in Pittsburgh on my last visit and purchased a boat load of spices. Their 4 ounce packs were just about the same price as their 2 ounce jars (some were more and some were less). So I loaded up on the packs and used my stash of olive jars for storage. I try to buy bulk whole spices when ever I run out so their shelf life is longer. It does take some extra time to grind or crush when I need some though.


Garam Masala 4 oz. bag $7.65
Garam Masala 2.1 oz. 1/2 cup jar $6.09
Garam Masala .9 oz. 1/4 cup jar $3.55

Italian Sausage Seasoning 4 oz. bag $2.65
Italian Sausage Seasoning 3.7 oz. 1/2 cup jar $4.25
Italian Sausage Seasoning 1.7 oz. 1/4 cup jar $2.65

I don't have the prices of super market size jars but I'm pretty sure they can't beat the 4oz bag prices. I also find comfort in knowing that since Penzey's only sells spices their turn over of inventory is more than that of the local grocery stores and the quality is much better.

http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/c-SpicesAs_Herbs_and_Seasonings.html
 

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Ethnic stores are usually better for spice prices. Sometimes I will buy spices from the dollar store though.

The tiny prepackaged containers in the grocery store have crazy prices. I think the last container of Herbes de Province was something like $6 for a small container.

I went to my local Italian grocery store and they had one of the quart-size restaurant kitchen style containers of Herbes de Province for $3. The spices weren't ground up but they're actually better that way because they taste fresher.
 

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I've found that the best price for spices is found in my garden!

I know you can't grow "salt" or some others, but wanted to throw that out there... I have fresh herbs year round, bringing a plant or two indoors for the winter. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah I wish I could grow herbs all year in my garden but alas, I can't. :(

It's stuff like beef bouillon, flour, etc that I really need to start looking at making a price book for in correlation to bulk vs packaged pricing. I'd rather buy the bouillon and onion powder in bulk (to help with my homemade Lipton Onion Soup mix) because for $2.67, 16 4.5g satchels is just not enough (especially when 10 of them add up to the 1/3c I need to make the recipe for the mix).
 

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Me too! I find the health food store the best place to buy cheap spices. Even yeast is only $3.00 a pound! :)
 

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Another person who relies on their garden first for herbs/spices (fresh and dried). My second source is Penzeys, and I buy larger packages to save money. I often split Penzeys items with my sister-in-law. They keep very well when frozen.

There aren't any stores available here with bulk bins, per se. One of the drawbacks living in the middle of nowhere! I wouldn't get spices/herbs from the bulk jars at our little health food store because it's improperly stored in the light and heat; and I know some of that stuff has been there for eons!

I'm a member of The Grain and Salt Society and purchase bulk salt from them - http://www.celticseasalt.com/

I use very little commercial flour, but purchase bulk amounts of grains a couple times a year and mill my own flour. I make my own wheat flakes, farina, bulgur and cracked wheat; and keep a wide variety of whole seeds/beans/grains in storage.

We use a whey-based milk substitute, instead of store-bought milk, and purchase it in a 24# bucket, or a 50# bag when I can split it with a friend (that reduces the cost of a gallon to $1.66).

I purchase SAF-Instant yeast in 1-lb. bags from a restaurant supply store. They have bulk amounts of other foods associated with restaurants, such as soup bases, etc....
 

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I buy spices jars when they are on sale at CVS or Walgreens. Otherwise I find the Mexican packages of spices in our stores to be the cheapest way to go.
 

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It depends on the spice as to whether I can get it cheaper in bulk or pre-packaged.

I about fell out a little while back when I went to buy vanilla extract and the little bottle (I think 10-ish ounces) was almost $10, but the big bottle (64 oz) was $5. I thought it was an error at first, but no...it was real. They were made by two different companies, and both were imitation. Needless to say I have more vanilla extract than I will probably use in a lifetime in my cabinet right now. Though it does make an awesome potpourri
 

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A few months back DH and I were in a market and they had the fancy "?-Massey" Vanilla essence (thicker than extract) that Williams Sonoma sells. We love the stuff but stopped buying it as it's so expensive. This was about 1/2 of the W-S price, so we bought 1 (we were cash poor at the time). I keep meaning tio look fo0r more when I'm in that market, but havent' found it again yet, it might have been a close out!

Judi
 

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For christmas last year my stepmom sent a walmart gift card and I used it to get a food dehydrator. I have used it to dry garlic, onions and other spices/herbs. Right now I am drying a mix of green onions and white onions for onion powder. When that gets done I am going to be drying some onion flakes.
 

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My ethnic markets are also generally pretty good for spices. However. I also like going to the bulk food store, as I can buy a teaspoon at a time of spices and herbs - handy when I'm trying something new that I don't know how I'll like or how much I'll use. Plus buying small quantities means my supply will be fresh - if you buy jars that sit around in your cabinet for over a year, they will not be optimal. So you need to think about just how much of that oregano will I use over the next six months to determine whether that big package is really such a good deal.
 

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I buy yeast at Sam's club for about $4 for 2 lbs...can't beat that with a stick. My wife needed some nutmeg and cloves...went to the store and it was about $6.50 and $9.50 each for around 1 oz. Looked on Amazon and bought a 6 pack of each - 6 nutmeg 2oz bottles - $15.26, 6 cloves 1.875oz bottles - $16.52 , Spice Garden brand. Was thinking of selling the extras to pay for the bottle of each we wanted...flea market time!
 

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I wish I had an easy, short answer for this, but I don't.:clown2:

I shop at Winco--west coast store chain--for my weekly groceries. They have 3 options for spices. Bulk Bins, Spice Section and the Ethnic Food Section.

And it depends on what your buying where the best price is. Cinnamon Sticks--Ethnic Section. Same with Bay Leaves. Garlic Powder--Bulk Bins. Same with Chili Pwder.

And I also buy some spices at Costco.

I rarely buy anything from the spice section in the small containers. Crazy expensive when you calculate the per ounce price.
Thank you, this will be very useful to me next time I go to Winco! I also buy some spices at Costco.
 

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In our area, Sam's is -usually- cheaper on spices, but not always...sometimes, depending on the size of the container, I can find them at Dollar Tree or elsewhere cheaper...

We don't have many places where you can buy bulk foods that aren't already pre-packaged...one of our health food stores carries a few things, but the prices are quite high...other than that one...I don't know of any others...
 

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We don't have many places where you can buy bulk foods that aren't already pre-packaged...one of our health food stores carries a few things, but the prices are quite high...other than that one...I don't know of any others...
My husband and I are starting to talk about retirement - it's not for at least five years, but we are trying to check out some areas, as neither one of us really wants to stay in cold northern climates. One of the things that gets me is how limited some areas are for this kind of thing. We are blessed with wonderful ethnic markets and wonderful foods, and a lot of places have their own charms, but are somewhat lacking in the food area. We are going to have to think about what the priorities are! Hmmmm - mild weather or 30 different kinds of soy sauce????
 
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