"An Easy Way to Cut Your Food Bill by at Least 30% – Part 2"

by Frederic Patenaude

In the first part of this article, I showed you that the best way to cut down on your food bill while gaining access to better food is to:

1 - Buy food in larger quantities (by the case)
2 - Cut the middleman and go through a distributor.

In this lesson, I'll show you the different ways to make this happen.

Organic Food Distributors

The first type of distributor that you should look at are organic food distributors. Basically, those are the companies that health food stores deal with in order to get their food.

For example, in the Montreal area (and Quebec in general), the main distributor for organic food is called Distribue-Vie or SunOpta. In other cities, there are other distributors, but the idea is the same.

You can set up an account directly with them and cut the middleman. For example, when I was ordering with Distribue-Vie, they were sending me a price list once a week by e-mail. I would reply with my order, they would prepare it for me, and I'd go pick it up. I was able to order a case at a time or even half a case.

The good thing about this is that if you order in larger quantities, for a minimum of a few hundred dollars generally, they will deliver the order for you. If you can't meet the minimum to get free delivery, all you have to do is pool with other folks who want organic foods, and ideally those who'll eat them in large quantities.

To find the organic food distributors in your area either look in the Yellow Pages and/or ask the people who work at health food stores who their distributor is. Tell them you want to start a co-op. Then contact the distributors and ask them what you need to do to set up an account with them.

Produce Stores

In most cities, you'll have to “supplement” your organic food supply with some commercial fruits and vegetables, since there isn't a big enough variety of fruits sometimes.

The way to get great food at low cost is to go to certain produce stores. These stores are generally next to each other in an area where there's a Farmers Market. They sell to restaurants and individuals, and can sell you cases at a time at a good price.

For example, in Montreal, near the big market called Jean-Talon, there are several such produce stores. I used to go all the time to a place called Leopoldo, where an Italian guy knows me.

The advantage of dealing with these merchants is that they'll eventually get to know you and give you better deals on food, since you become a “great customer.” They'll also let you know what their best stuff is each week.

Discovering Shangri-La

For many years, I dealt only with the resources I mentioned above. I would go to the organic food distributors, buy all my boxes of fruits and vegetables, then go to the market and buy more boxes of non-organic produce, and finally stop at the health food store to buy the few vegetables I couldn't buy elsewhere in large enough quantities.

That was until I discovered another kind of distributor.

With the popularity of organic food, distributors of conventionally-grown foods now carry organic fruits and vegetables too. These distributors typically sell both organic and non-organic foods to produce stores. Supermarkets generally have their own distribution system.

This for me was the missing “link” - the place where many produce stores get their own food!

In Montreal there's an area called the “Marché Central” - central market - which is not the Farmers Market, but a place where tons of distributors are located.

What I found out is that I could just walk into one of those distributors (I go to Gaetan Bono), and buy all the food I wanted without ever setting up an account with them!

The place is like a huge fridge, and there are cases and cases of fruits and vegetables. They have mostly commercially-grown food, but also organic.

The prices are lower than organic food distributors and lower than produce stores that sell by the case. For example, cases of organic bananas are $25 to $26, while the organic food store sells them at $29 to $30.

When I discovered this, it was like Shangri-La for a raw-food enthusiast!

To locate these distributors in your area, the process is the same: ask around, or look in the Yellow Pages.

By following the simple tips I have outlined in this article, you'll be able to easily cut down your food bill by at least 30% while gaining access to better, fresher and more nutritious organic foods.

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