Grocery Store Managers: How To Choose The Best Bins For Your Bulk Food Aisle

Posted on: 13 July 2015

A bulk food section makes your grocery store or food co-op feel like a beautiful, sensual market with large bins of lentils, colorful seeds and beans, aromatic teas and sweet treats. However, if you want your bulk section to be clean and appealing to your customers, you need to choose your bins carefully.Here's what to keep in mind as you look for bins for your bulk items:

1. Opt for clear bins

Ideally, so that you can showcase your goods, you want clear bins. Clear bins make a vertical display look appealing and colorful, and because clients can see inside the bins, they won't be as tempted to open them just to take a peak.

If you have any bins that have opaque or colored sides, make sure to cover them with a see-through lid so customers can still see what's inside.

2. Look for healthy plastic bins

With clear bins, you typically have two options – glass or plastic. If you opt for plastic bins, make sure the plastic is healthy and designed to last. You don't want to use plastic that is going to break down quickly and is better suited to a single use.

Although bulk shopping appeals to people for a range of reasons – some like the lack of excessive packaging while others like the prices – it appeals to many people who are health conscious. In addition to buying organic, bulk products, these consumers often avidly avoid plastics.

They avoid plastic containers because they leach elements from the plastic into the foods they hold. If you want to impress these clients and reassure them, avoid using plastic bins. If you opt to use plastic, choose BPA-free plastic and post that fact so your customers know.

3. Invest in bins that are dishwasher safe

Keep your bulk bin area clean by having your employees regularly monitor the area. They should scrub off fingerprints, spills or stains as they occur. However, once in a while, you should take apart your bins and wash them.

To make this job as easy as possible, look for bins that can be easily disassembled and put into the dishwasher. Also, make sure you kept the area swept, as spills can easily happen in the bulk food aisle.

4. Choose gravity-fed bins over scoops

To reduce spills on the floor and keep customers' hands out of the bins, consider opting for gravity-fed bulk bins rather than bins with lids and scoops. When customers have to lift lids and scoop out their purchases, the task increases the chance that the food will be exposed to germs or bacteria on the customer's hand or from the air itself.

With gravity-feed bins, in contrast, you don't have to worry as much about this issue. Rather than opening the bin, customers just pull down a lever, and the bin automatically and cleanly dispenses the bulk product they need.

5. Consider using a false front

Making a section of bulk bins look appealing is similar to making a buffet of food look appealing. Imagine what looks better – a buffet container full of tasty food or one with just a single serving left stuck to the sides of the container. Most diners obviously prefer the first option.

Keep that idea in mind with your bulk bins. Instead of showcasing mostly empty bins, keep your bins always looking full. You can keep your bins full by constantly dispatching employees to fill them, but with this approach, you have to worry about rotating the food and getting rid of old bulk items when you top up the bin.

An easier option is to just choose a bulk bin that has a fake front. The fake front showcases your product, and it makes it look like the bin is always full and always visually appealing. For more information about your options for bulk bins, contact a local manufacturer or supplier.