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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Provisioning
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Old 11-07-2007
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Buying Canned Goods

Question - Where is a good place to get bulk canned goods ?

I don't mean large cans, I mean small cans in case quantities.

It seems like you can get some good deals waiting for sales at grocery stores, and of course better deals at the wholesale places like Costco and Sams if they have what you want. But is there anywhere else you can get cases of canned goods at once for a good price ? Seems like it would be counter-productive to order online because the stuff is heavy and shipping would cost a lot. Are there other places around that don't normally sell to the general public, or other kinds of stores that I might not have thought of ?

Is there a place where you can put in an order and wait a while for it to come in with a regular shipment of canned goods and pay less ? Or maybe work with the grocery store to get a better deal by buying by the case ?
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Old 11-07-2007
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Search for a local restaurant supply house. Most of them will sell case lots to individuals; though there may be a minimum purchase ($150?) and pickup required.

Sysco is a big national supplier; but smaller local ones might be more receptive.

The one hard part is that the name of the company might not be indicative of the business. For example, in Bangor Maine I would recommend you try Dennis Paper or Jordan's Meats, even though you are looking for canned goods. (so it might not be obvious)

Where are you located?

Start with the yellow pages under wholesale foods or restaurant supplies.

Good Luck,
Fred
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Most grocery stores like Safeway, Fred Myer or any other fairly large chain as well as some of the smaller neighborhood grocery stores will give you a discount on case goods...just find the manager and ask. Costco and Sams Club and probably Wally World are good bets. I've bought case goods before and found that I spend more than I actually saved just in the driving around to find the cheaper prices. Like one time I saved 5 cents a can on some chili but took about two hours of running around to do it. Probably actually lost money.

Andy
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Old 11-07-2007
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We buy our wine by the case, with most area merchants offering a 10% discount. I would expect any food retailer to do the same.
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Smart & Final, in California.

Really good prices on cases and flats of canned foods. This is a restaurant supply store, primarily.

Mary
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if you find a good price on a case of Crown Royal, please report back
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Thanks for the tips.

This evening I went to town and did some price shopping. Probably nobody cares about this but I will report anyway since I went to the trouble. I made up a list of things I normally eat, things that I have here at the house, and then I went into four stores and compared the prices. I have done that one other time but it has been some time ago and I wanted to check mostly on canned goods this time.

Went to a local dollar store, Kroger's, Martin's, and Walmart.

As if you couldn't guess, Walmart was consistently the least expensive. Walmart's "great value" brand was especially inexpensive, it was 10-35% less expensive than the off brands at the other stores, but even comparing popular brands like "Del Monte" they were still less expensive by a margin. Krogers was the most expensive here but that might not be the way it is everywhere of course. I didn't even bother going to the local Food Lion store because they are a lot more expensive than the others, I remember that from last time, they make money on their convenient location. Surprisingly the local dollar store which is the most convenient location didn't do half bad on prices, I will shop there again.

I suspect that Costco will beat all of those prices on things that they have.

I will check into the restaurant supply stores that is a great idea!

Edit, adding one thought to this. I think the obvious thing to do to save a few bucks on canned goods is just to buy a lot of stuff when it's on sale if it's something you eat. The prices for things that were marked down at most of the stores were significantly less expensive, definitely worth it to stock up.
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Last edited by wind_magic; 11-07-2007 at 11:30 PM.
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Old 11-08-2007
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As it pertains to boating, I have found the advice of the Hiscocks applies concerning canned goods: Strip off the labels and write the contents on the lid. Cockroaches and other beasts like to eat the label glue, the labels will frequently fall off anyway, and glossy, gluey paper will foul your bilge pumps rapidly.

The other thing I recall is to never bring the cardboard aboard (because it harbours bugs) and to keep the flour/rice in sealed Mason jars with a bay leaf, because the inevitable weevils hate it.
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Unbeatable is a tin of "Heinz Big Soup", with a big chunky bit of Scottish bread with Flora margarine, and two tomatoes.

Staple diet on my ship.
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Old 11-08-2007
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We used our local grocery stores and watched the ads over a three month period. When a canned good went on sale (they usually could beat out the Costco) that we would normally use we stocked up. Being flexible with brands can save you a bundle. I think Wal-Marts GV brand is 1/4-1/3 off of brand names, and the quality is good.

For legumes have you considered using dry beans? A good pressure cooker cuts your time down on cooking and the weight of cans adds up quickly.

Last edited by svitineris; 11-08-2007 at 07:51 AM. Reason: Clarification
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