For bargain hunters and cash-strapped families alike, Costco is a bastion of good value in a sea of overpriced, artisan grocery stores. Everything is sold in bulk, so stocking up on toilet paper, sponges, and other household items couldn’t be easier. And, if you’re planning a party or other group event, Costco is a must for all those important supplies. However, though buying in bulk can be extremely helpful when it comes to non-perishable items like pasta and laundry detergent, it can often lead to mass waste if you’re buying too much milk, for example, since it expires much quicker and therefore has to be consumed quicker, too.
Although Costco is a savior for bulk-buying toilet paper, paper towels, canned goods, and long-lasting carbs, if you’re buying your produce at the store on the regular to save money, consider that in the long run you’re likely losing more than you’re gaining.
Costco's bulk produce will likely expire before you can enjoy all of it
As Business Insider states in no uncertain terms, many people buying in bulk at Costco might as well be shopping for waste to put in the compost bin rather than fruits and vegetables to actually eat. Costco has plenty of great fruit and veg to choose from, representing an impressively healthy choice for discerning parents, in particular, but the quantities are so massive that it’s actually more wasteful to purchase in bulk rather than in smaller quantities at the supermarket.
Best Life agrees, advising that, unless you, quite literally, eat pounds of berries over a seven day period, buying them at Costco isn’t a good idea. Likewise, if you’re considering snacking on a few apples over the coming days, forget about it, because purchasing only what you need and will use prior to the expiration date isn’t really an option. The same goes for veggies, unless you’ve got a big event coming up and are planning on doing a giant tray.
Costco employees agree on the produce problem
It’s worth noting, too, that Costco employees told Business Insider that fresh produce is the one thing they wouldn’t buy themselves. Their decision has nothing to do with quality, with a Minnesota-based worker explaining, “Our produce department is one of the best in the business,” but, “Personally [I] don’t eat veggies fast enough to buy in bulk, so two thirds of it will spoil before I eat it.” A Costco manager described it as a “waste of money.”
Storage is going to be an issue too, as noted by CNBC, because most people simply won’t have the space. Even if they do, there’s no way around expiration dates, so regardless of whether you do store everything perfectly, something like spinach, for example, is only ever going to last a week at most in the fridge. Simply put, unless your household or lifestyle requires enormous quantities of fresh fruit and veg, you’re better off looking elsewhere and only paying for what you need.
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