Monday, September 9, 2013

Shopping For Food Storage Down The Canned Food Aisle At Utah Case Lot Sales

After a busy weekend of BYU football and family fun, I have a minute to write about my first shopping trip for food storage at the case lot sale at Dick's Market in Centerville, Utah. Love that store! A thunderstorm came into town on Saturday and I entered the store dripping wet to see this view:

Those of us living in Utah see these sales every 6 months and are grateful for them because they help us purchase some of our food storage. Earlier Saturday while still home, I went through my Fall Utah Case Lot Sale Price Comparison List and carefully created a shopping list after checking my inventory in my food storage room so I wouldn't buy on impulse when I walked into the store and saw the masses of cans.

To help me not blow our monthly budget, I don't buy everything at case lot sales because I can buy similar items at Costco, Wal-Mart or the LDS Home Storage year-round for similar prices. Some people like to stock up on much more than I do at the case lot sales and load up their baskets, and Saturday afternoon was no exception. I understand the convenience of case lot sales, but tend to follow this counsel:

“We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.” The First Presidency, All Is Safely Gathered In

It takes great patience to shop year-round and gather over time, but it has been working for me. Other people don't have the time to shop the way I do, and I understand that.

Some stores (like Smith's ) do not allow you buy individual items at the sales price. Contact the store near you to know if they will break a case. Macey's has a sale coming later this month, and they do allow you break the case.

Here is my shopping list for the month of September:

As I walked around, I changed my mind on a few things on this list, but you get the idea about the purpose of planning ahead.

My shopping strategy does not include grabbing cases at the front of the store. I don't need that many cans most of the time, so I head to the regular aisle and look there. As I shop, I look at the bottom of the can or item for expiration dates making sure I get some that will last for a few years. I carefully check each can on the shelf for dents and gently put them in my cart. I usually take a cardboard tray from the shelf to hold the cans.

Another reason I head to the canned food aisle is because I can get more variety for the same sales price than what is in the cases in the front of the store. Here is an example. I wanted my mandarin oranges to be packed in their own juice. I didn't need very many so I grabbed these:

Notice how the "Naturally Sweet" mandarin oranges are in the top of this picture and the the ones packed in light corn syrup are on just beneath them? They are sold for the same price so I grabbed the top ones. Here is another example. The Western Family Turkey Chili is much lower in fat, so I looked on the bottom shelf and found it.

I only needed a few cans of chili, so I grabbed them from the aisle shelf. 

To help you see the difference in prices, check out these Del Monte cut green beans for the regular price of $1.49 per can -

And here are the green beans on sale for 50 cents a can. Quite a savings. I did not see a no-salt variety on sale, but you can always rinse your beans. The fancy label does not necessarily mean a better product is inside the can.

Let's take a look at some canned corn. I wanted it without sugar in the ingredients so after comparing the labels of this can of Fancy Golden Corn . . .

. . . to this label of Supersweet corn, which one do you think I purchased? :-) The Supersweet comes without sugar! It pays to check your labels. Both were the same price, but not the same ingredients.

In the end, I spent $38 on my first trip to the case lot sales and brought home this car load of food.

See? It isn't filled to the brim with cases. I just bought food storage I know I needed at the price I wanted to pay along with my regular grocery shopping. Not someone else's idea of food storage, but this is working for me.

Good luck with your food storage shopping!


  1. Oh, how I miss living in the West. The stores in the Mid-West (Iowa) NEVER have case lot sales, in fact bulk buying is almost unheard of. When I first arrived I tried to find flour in 25# bags and was astounded to find the largest size any store sold was 10#. There is just not the mindset of storage here so it is much harder to stock up. It certainly can be done but takes more time and effort. Even Sam's Club doesn't have the same things out here. Amazing. Thanks for sharing and encouraging. I'll keep working to build up our storage again.

  2. You have to know your store's policies. When I lived in Utah, the Smith's near us would only give the sale price on full cases, but at Maceys, you could buy just 1 can if you wished. I have moved to Texas, and I miss the case lot sales, but we will be back when my husband retires in a few years. And I will need to stock back up then.

  3. I'm with Rozy. We never have case lot opportunities in Wisconsin either. Sam's Club is our only "bulk" store but the ones here just sell name brands, only in larger sizes - and there's no volume discount. A 5# tub of oatmeal costs the same per ounce as a 1# tub. We do have health stores that sell grains and spices and pastas in bulk, but the selection is quite limited.

    Fortunately, I at least live in an urban area with plenty of shopping options and quite a few discount stores to choose from. But then, the selection is still hit or miss. So you Utah-ites out there, take advantage of the wonderful opportunity you have!

  4. I haven't seen any case lot sales here in the civilian grocery stores or the big box stores though years ago the commissary at Ft.Sam Houston used to do them about twice a year, the only trouble was it was mainly junk food, brand name cereals, and convenience foods. I've learned to purchase store brands whenever possible and the local grocery chain actually has two store brands so I pick the cheaper of them for what I need.


Thanks for your comments and suggestions!