Given that the United States Department of Agriculture has predicted that all food prices will increase in 2022, many consumers are looking to save money on groceries in any way they can. Typically, one way to save money on anything from peanut butter to raw chicken is to buy in bulk, either from your local supermarket or from big box stores like Costco, Walmart, and Sam's Club. According to a new study from CouponFollow and Instacart that examined cost-effective grocery shopping behaviors, some items make more financial sense to purchase in bulk than others.
The study, which compiled recent data from Instacart and 1,000 American shoppers, found that 86 percent of Americans shop in bulk at least moderately often. Additionally, while personal care items yielded the highest savings when purchased in bulk—approximately $6.37 per unit—meat and breads/grains weren't far behind, with a per unit savings of $4.67 and $3.43, respectively.
When it comes to specific food items, as opposed to general grocery categories, certain types of fish fillets boast impressive savings, as do select cuts of chicken and pantry staples such as brown rice, walnuts, and minced garlic. Keep reading to find out which additional foods are most discounted when purchased in bulk.
Top Loin Pork Chops
Buying top loin pork chops can save you 91 percent if they are purchased in bulk. Given that pork has seen a 14 percent price increase within the last year, saving more than 90 percent on pork bought in bulk is especially impressive. Since raw pork typically only lasts for three to five days in the refrigerator, make sure to store the remainder of your bulk pork purchase in the freezer instead. It can stay there indefinitely, but will be at its freshest within three to six months.
Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
Chicken fans will be happy to know that this boneless, skinless cut, which also happens to be super easy to cook with, can save you 87 percent when bought in bulk. With chicken prices expected to rise an estimated 6 to 7 percent over the next few months alone, this savings is worth noting. Just remember, raw chicken will last in the refrigerator for up to two days. Like pork, it will keep in the freezer indefinitely, but for the best quality, taste, and texture, use any frozen chicken parts within nine months.
Need a reason to stock up on tilapia fillets? We've got a few. In addition to being the star of this savory 20-minute meal that's perfect for busy weeknights, tilapia fillets can save you 83 percent when bought in bulk. Additionally, the farm-raised fish is a healthy meal choice, with about 23 grams of protein per serving. It's also a good source of niacin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, selenium, and potassium.
Atlantic Salmon Fillets
Salmon fillets are a popular meal choice, and one that it makes sense to buy in bulk whenever possible. By purchasing multiple salmon fillets at a time, you'll be spending 79 percent less. Use your surplus of salmon fillets to make this roasted spiced salmon dish, and stash any uncooked fillets you have left over in the freezer. They'll stay fresh (in a freezer bag) for about three months.
Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts
Whether you snack on a handful of macadamia nuts or use them to add some crunch to your favorite cookie recipe, you'll be happy to know that buying these healthy nuts in bulk can save you 78 percent. And unlike meat or fish, macadamia nuts won't take up any room in your refrigerator or freezer. Instead, macadamia nuts can be stored in your pantry for approximately five months.
Organic Brown Rice
While organic foods tend to be pricier than their non-organic counterparts, purchasing organic brown rice in bulk will save you about 77 percent. The healthy grain, which is very easy to cook, works great in a grain medley, is an excellent fried rice base, and can add some nutritional value to savory congee. Since brown rice can last for about six months in the pantry (and double that in the fridge) it's easy to justify buying this food in large quantities.
Though not as shelf-stable as macadamia nuts, walnuts will keep in the pantry (in an airtight container) for about a month. To extend the life of your walnuts, put them in the fridge for up to three months, or pop 'em in the freezer for up to a year. Use your walnuts bought in bulk, which are 71 percent less expensive than smaller packages of walnuts, to whip up energy bars, make your own plant-based meat, or add some crunch to a comforting bowl of pasta.
Organic Ginger Root
If you frequently cook with ginger, you'll be happy to know that organic ginger root purchased in bulk boasts a savings of 71 percent. Use the nutritious spice in soup, in a smoothie, or in bold stir-fries.
The recipes with chicken drumsticks are virtually endless, and many of them are very easy to make. Chicken drumsticks are also a favorite among kids, who aren't always the easiest group to cook for. Eager to satisfy picky eaters? Give these glazed drumsticks with rice noodles a whirl, or try these tea-glazed drumsticks instead. If you purchase chicken drumsticks in bulk, expect to save about 70 percent.
Organic Uncooked Tortillas
Uncooked tortillas can serve as the base for anything from a vegan breakfast burrito to sweet and savory quesadillas, so it makes sense to buy them in bulk if you can. You'll save 70 percent by doing so, and you can store any leftover tortillas in the fridge for a month and in the freezer for at least two months.
Peak mango season runs from May through September, but if you want a steady supply of mangos year-round, consider buying the flavorful, tricky-to-cut fruits in bulk (which will save you 66 percent) and freezing the ripe ones you don't use within about five days of your purchase. Use your mango haul to whip up a tropical smoothie or make some vibrant curry.
Artisan Romaine Hearts
This salad staple, which is also great when grilled, costs 66 percent less when purchased in bulk. However, since romaine hearts only last for about 10 days in the fridge we suggest you only purchase them in large quantities if you plan to use nearly all of them. If you're entertaining a big group, consider making this spring green salad or a platter of trendy lettuce chips. While you can freeze romaine lettuce, it won't be as crispy or flavorful once it defrosts, so use any leftovers in a smoothie or soup instead.
American Cheese Slices
Love it or hate it, this processed cheese is a food you should consider buying in bulk if you tend to use a bunch of it. Doing so will save you 66 percent. Use it in a classic grilled cheese or in this decadent mac and cheese recipe. Any slices you don't use will keep in the refrigerator for approximately three weeks.
As anyone who cooks often knows, you can never really have enough of this popular food, which makes it a good candidate to buy in bulk. Not only will you save 65 percent, but you can use it in anything from a trusty side such as roasted potatoes, to a hearty pasta dinner.
Almonds make for a satisfying, healthy snack, and if you have a habit of noshing on a handful of the nutritious nuts each day, you may want to buy them in bulk. Not only will you save 65 percent, but you can use any leftovers to garnish soup or overnight oats. And, in case you're curious, roasted almonds will last in the fridge or freezer for about a year, so feel free to save any leftovers.