Date of Submission

Spring 2018

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Environmental and Urban Studies

Project Advisor 1

Monique Segarra

Abstract/Artist's Statement

This senior project examines the potential for the bulk food section in American food stores to reduce both food and packaging waste. I chose to analyze the American supermarket because of its immense influence it has on consumer purchases and its role in society as a place of resource to acquire foodstuffs therefore becoming a necessity for the twenty-first century consumer. The type of bulk my research examines as one solution to these problems is not the bulk buys from big box stores like Costco or Wal-Mart, which retain prepackaged marketing, but rather from the aisles in supermarkets and grocery stores which offer bulk bins of various non-perishables items such as grains, nuts, dried beans, candy and dried fruit. First, I analyze the bulk experience from the consumer side, examining how consumers currently interact with the bulk section in the supermarket and how that interaction might be changed to improve the general acceptance of bulk shopping. Second, through a bulk lens I explore the ways in which supermarkets hold significant power to influence patterns of food production and consumption towards a more sustainable and little-to-no waste system. I conducted four case studies, each focusing on a different type of food store. These include Adams Fairacre Farms, Red Hook Natural Foods, Honest Weight, and Whole Foods. I selected these stores because they offer perspectives on handling bulk from both a large scale (Honest Weight and Whole Foods) and from a small scale (Red Hook Natural Foods, Adam’s).

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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