The Nutrition and Education Committee’s Monthly 3-Question Survey – Bulk Madness!

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Shoppers in Bulk
Photo by John Carl D'Annibale. From the August 8, 2013 Times Union

June’s Survey Topic: Your Shopping Experience

Please click here to go to our survey!
Every month the Nutrition and Education Committee (NEC) posts a survey in the Co-op Voice. We love to get feedback from you, to make our Co-op the best experience it can be, in terms of shopping, nutrition, and education. In this month’s survey, we’re asking about one of your recent shopping experiences. If you’ve been to the Co-op lately, looking for products that you’d never purchased there before, please take our survey and let us know how it went.

April’s Survey Results

Thank you so much for participating in our surveys! We really appreciate your feedback. In April’s survey, we were looking for information to help us with our NEC Promotes Initiative. The focus of this initiative is to help educate our customers about local, in-season produce and bulk ingredients that are planned for promotion. Not only are these products generally healthy and cost-effective, but they also reduce our environmental impact on the planet, especially when we package them in reusable containers. Please click here to see the results of April’s survey.

Our first question asked what would help you to utilize the Bulk Department more frequently? The most popular answers were more recipe cards, how-to signs, in-store demonstrations, and cooking classes, then Shopper’s Helpers and lastly, department tours. Our respondents also had a lot of great comments, some of which were: improved labeling, longer paper bags for long pasta, an organization chart or map of the Bulk Department, “What’s New in Bulk” (a place to see updates on new items being stocked, maybe listed in the monthly email, or a sign in the department), recipes linked to a phone app or code reader, information quantifying the cost impact of buying in bulk, and “What to Make for Dinner Tonight” (have a person standing at the entrance to the store or the Bulk Department with suggestions and shopping lists with multiple ideas for different diets, perhaps: vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, etc.).

One of our Bulk Department managers, Tom Gillespie, has informed us that they will be filling up their 72-slot recipe card spinner located in front of the gluten-free flour aisle, as they have developed and formatted more than enough recipes to fill it. Also, the Marketing department recently developed new “how-to” signage that will better suit the needs of our customers. The NEC will be working on projects in conjunction with the Bulk and Marketing departments to create more recipe cards, and to do demos, teach cooking classes, update labeling, and make pamphlets.

Our second question asked what types of recipes you would like to see featured if the Co-op offered demonstrations and classes specifically using Bulk Department items. By far, the most popular answer was simple fast meals, next was international cuisine, followed by basic cooking instructions, vegetarian/vegan, and budget-wise meals. Next on the list was slow cooker recipes, new/exotic recipes, gluten-free cooking, and lastly, unusual pairings of traditional American foods.

The third question we asked was, “If the Co-op was to offer demonstrations and classes using Bulk Department items, what would you be interested in learning to make with them?” The top two answers were snacks and spice blends, after that came dressings and marinades, flavored nuts and butters, tea blends, smoothies, granolas, and last on the list were sweets. Many respondents suggested dinners or main dishes in their comments.

Rebecca Angel Maxwell, who handles our NEC Promotes initiative, recently represented the Co-op at the Albany Tea Festival on June 2nd with cheese and tea pairings. She has been teaching all the “Secrets of the Bulk Department” cooking classes over the last couple of years, and she loves to get feedback. She is moving towards in-store demonstrations to reach a wider audience and will be glad to show more people how easy, inexpensive, and delicious it is to cook with bulk. She will start by planning some simple and fast snacks (some of the surveys top hits) to share with our Co-op community. For a more newsy take on our Bulk Department, please take a look at our article this month, on the folks and food there!

Thank you so much for your participation!