Budget-Friendly Shopping: Bulk vs. Packaged Grains

Investigating the differences in pricing between bulk and packaged whole grains.

Whole-grain options have come a long way! Now some of the more obscure varieties are easier to find in stores and online. Many of these grains are available for purchase in bulk and packaged, but which is a better deal? We did some investigating.

This fiber- and protein-rich grain is lovely for cold salads or served warm alongside pork, poultry or fish.

Price Comparison
Bulk Organic = $5.99 per pound

Packaged Organic = $6.60 to $13 per pound (varies substantially by brand)

This “grain” is technically a seed but is prepared and served like a grain. Its tender texture and mild flavor appeal to the masses, plus it’s gluten-free. Quinoa has become more mainstream in recent years, making it more affordable and easier to find.

Price Comparison
Bulk Organic = $6.99 per pound
Packaged Organic = $7.52 per pound

This previously unappreciated whole-grain wheat is finally getting the love it deserves. It has tons of nutrients and a delightful nutty flavor, and makes fabulous meatless burgers.

Price Comparison
Bulk Organic = $2.99 per pound
Packaged Organic = $4.32 per pound

This gluten-free grain is the newest kid on the block. Protein, iron and a healthy dose of antioxidants are a few of the nutritious reasons to give it a try.

Price Comparison
Bulk = $2.99 per pound
Packaged Organic = $4.55 per pound


Brown rice spilled from glass container

Photo by: Alan Reinhart

Alan Reinhart

Like quinoa, brown rice can be found in just about every store. It’s a gluten-free and user-friendly option that most folks are comfortable with. Since there are so many brands, prices are all over the place. To get the best deal, check per-unit pricing where you shop.

Price Comparison
Bulk Organic = $4.29 per pound
Packaged Organic = $2.40 per pound

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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