February 18, 2007

Buying In Bulk

To follow up last weekend's trip to Costco, David and I went on another bulk-shopping expedition yesterday, this time to Gordon Food Service. GFS is a major supplier of food to restaurants in the Midwest, and I learned last week that they have "Marketplace" stores open to the public. Yes, we too can buy restaurant-sized and retaurant-quality food products.

Our trip to GFS was, well, quite a trip. To begin with, they had the largest shopping carts I had ever seen. Even bigger than Costco shopping carts. And they had some very large products. I bought a 6-lb can of tomato sauce and a few 5-lb bags of frozen vegetables. They had David's favorite hot sauce in gallon-sized containers. It was fun to find large quantities of products we like at low prices, but shopping at GFS was also a little bit disturbing. It was kind of like pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz or, in this case, on the entire food service industry. It was, in fact, pretty scary to see what is actually in the so-called "foods" that restaurants serve to us. For example, David read the ingredients on a 5-lb tub of pesto and we were shocked to learn that the first three were soy oil, water, and salt. When we make it at home, the ingredients are basil, parmesan cheese, olive oil, pine nuts, and salt. When I marveled over a 5-lb tub of yogurt, David asked if it really was yogurt. I checked the ingredients and found that, even though it was labeled "plain" yogurt, it had sugar in it! How wrong is that?

Nonetheless, we still left with a pretty full shopping cart, and now we have a full freezer. In the future, though, I don't think GFS will become a regular stop on our shopping schedule. The only things that really seemed worth getting there were bagged salad mix and baby spinach. The frozen vegetables at GFS come in larger quantities than at other stores, but the price per pound isn't any less than at Trader Joe's. Most of the products there were just not things we eat, which makes sense: because GFS caters to the food industry, they sell things the food industry needs, and the food industry thrives on Americans' taste for really unhealthy stuff. For example, you can buy a 4.5-lb jar or Reese's pourable peanut butter (main ingredient = sugar), but they don't sell natural peanut butter. However, if David and I ever open a small restaurant, we know where to go for fake cheese sauce, pourable peanut butter, and to-go containers in every size imaginable!

Posted by eklanche at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)