Bulk(y) foods
December 17, 2018 5:24 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for foods that I can buy in 25lb bags for a joke Christmas gift. Googling for this has been harder than I expected, because presentation matters. Five 5lb bags of flour won't cut it -- I want something large enough to be a bit unwieldy and to present a won't-fit-in-the-apartment-pantry logistical challenge. I'm going for the aesthetics of something you'd get at the feed store, but meant for human consumption.

Ideally, I'd be paying $1-$2/pound for this, and it should be something that somebody would actually want to eat. I started looking for wheat flour / brown rice / dried beans / lentils, but don't limit yourself to that list. If it's edible and comes in comical quantities, I'm interested!

Needs to be available either online, or in/around Austin TX.
posted by Metasyntactic to Food & Drink (38 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Every Asian market I've been to has very large sacks of rice that would suit this purpose.
posted by tchemgrrl at 5:31 AM on December 17, 2018 [26 favorites]

Citrus fruits! Potatoes! Onions! You could even try Costco or something like that before worrying about buying online, but I'm sure you could order giant bags of them as well.
posted by wellred at 5:31 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

maybe not at your scale, however just to get things going:

"Cap'n Crunch Crunch Berries Breakfast Cereal, Mega Size 40 oz. Bag"

which I am seriously considering ordering...... don't judge me......
posted by alchemist at 5:32 AM on December 17, 2018 [10 favorites]

Asian groceries often have quite large bags of rice.
Call a bakery and ask where they get their flour; it will be in 25 or 50 pound bags. Or search Walmart or Amazon for 50 lb bag rice, which turned good results. There's always a restaurant supplier, they'll probably sell to you.
posted by theora55 at 5:34 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

You could get emergency bulk food, example. However, those are way more expensive than your price range.

There's also a giant gummy bear, example. Again, might be outside your price range.

Other options:
bulk candy stores
sam's club
restaurant supply stores
Mormon food storage
posted by Ms Vegetable at 5:35 AM on December 17, 2018


They have all sorts of things in ridiculous amounts. 15, 25, and 30 lbs of things like Atomic Fire Balls and jelly fruit slices.
posted by jenny76 at 5:42 AM on December 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think you need to contact the person with the 25 lb block of frozen haddock and find out where they got it.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:16 AM on December 17, 2018 [12 favorites]

A Sam's Club or Costco in the Austin area will sell food of all kinds in industrial/restaurant sized quantities.
posted by nicebookrack at 6:32 AM on December 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Bulk-foods stores fill their bins from larger bags of the foodstuff. Find one of them and ask if you can buy an unopened bag, perhaps at a discount.
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:55 AM on December 17, 2018

If the recipient is in to homebrewing, and is set up for all-grain brewing, your local homebrew shop might be willing to sell a 55-pound bag of malted barley.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:24 AM on December 17, 2018

Now that you've got some good answers . . .

Chef's Banquet Macaroni & Cheese Storage Bucket 180 Servings

Heavy Duty 6-gallon bucket with gamma lid (Transportable & Stackable)
Net Wt. 23 lb 6 oz
Total Wt. 26 lb 10 oz
posted by meemzi at 7:24 AM on December 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

I contemplated buying my brother a 50lb bag of popcorn once.

If you wanted to be Extra Evil, get a huge bag of field corn, not popcorn.

I've done quite a bit of "bulk purchasing for hilarity" before... sour gummy worms are particularly good, but it's hard to find the right price. For silliness, the 5kg bars of Callebaut are pretty good... think paving stone sized slab of chocolate.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 7:28 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I buy 20 pound bags of flour at Costco a few times a year, but I’m really sad I’ve never had an excuse to buy a 25 lb bag of brown sugar.

You can always throw in a 1 lb bag of yeast for good measure, they’re about $5.
posted by asphericalcow at 7:37 AM on December 17, 2018

posted by bq at 7:56 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Green Thumb Farms sell 50lb bags of their beans (4 varieties) for $85. I have had their beans and recommend the Jacob's Cattle Beans.
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:57 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Costco definitely sells white rice in 25lb bags for less than $1/pound.
posted by somanyamys at 8:01 AM on December 17, 2018

100% edible sunflower seeds
posted by aniola at 8:02 AM on December 17, 2018

A box of Jumbo (10lb, 32 inch) Toblerones. Fun and delicious!
posted by humph at 8:07 AM on December 17, 2018

Along the lines of the previous poster, who doesn't love kitkats?
posted by pangolin party at 8:10 AM on December 17, 2018

Whoops! I didn't see they cost $314!! They must be covered in gold.
posted by pangolin party at 8:13 AM on December 17, 2018

A nearby lawn, seed, and feed store has 50 lb bags of peanuts. That is a lot of peanuts. I understand that woodpeckers and blue jays like them. I have not tried them myself, to see if they are tasty.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 9:22 AM on December 17, 2018

Best answer: When the joke is over, will this be able to be donated to a soup kitchen/food pantry? I'd want to choose something that just won't be thrown away.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 10:05 AM on December 17, 2018 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I've purchased a 25 pound bag of pinto beans and Costco. And used them to make large batches of delicious refried beans.
posted by medusa at 10:48 AM on December 17, 2018

Response by poster: 2soxy4mypuppet -- unlike me, the recipient actually cooks. So I'm trying to find something that they'd actually use, and will be shelf stable for the year or more it takes to use it up. Candy/junk food is out for that reason, since the recipient eats very healthily. Alternatively, if it doubles as horse or bird food, it'll get used up.
posted by Metasyntactic at 12:03 PM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by Sophont at 1:15 PM on December 17, 2018

Indian markets have big bags of puffed rice and other cereal-y things if you want volume rather than mass.)
posted by vespabelle at 1:50 PM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: "I'm trying to find something that they'd actually use, and will be shelf stable for the year or more it takes to use it up"

Then don't get anything that will go rancid unless they have enough freezer space to store it in. That means no brown rice and no whole wheat flour, I'd stay away ftom shelled (or even maybe unshelled) oil seeds like sunflower or sesame. That is, unless they can go through the amount in around 3 months (stored in a cool dry place).

But yes I'd recommend Costco or Cash n Carry. Also, anywhere near you that sells out of bulk bins might be able to order you a large quantity of something if you just want it in the original bag. So for instance we buy shelled almonds in 50 pound bags but we have to special order them, it's not hard just call a local chain grocery store and talk to the grocery manager.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 2:50 PM on December 17, 2018

I buy flour in 10kg (roughly 25 lb.) packages. It's really not that uncommon and most supermarkets (at least around here) sell it in those formats.
posted by sardonyx at 3:02 PM on December 17, 2018

posted by namret at 5:25 PM on December 17, 2018

The Indian grocery store near me sells 32.5 lb jugs of canola oil for $20. If you aliquot out a liter at a time, and keep the rest in a cool dark place with the cap on, even one person can finish that before it goes rancid.

Chinese restaurant supply shops also carry 5 gallon pails of soy sauce, which will keep forever.

Less cheap, because of shipping fees, but more selection : webstaurant.com
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 5:59 PM on December 17, 2018

If you go to a restaurant supply store (like Restaurant Depot - maybe if you have a friend who works in the restaurant industry can get you in?) you can get all sorts of GIGANTIC foodstuffs that make Costco goods look puny.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 6:17 PM on December 17, 2018

Bob's Red Mill sells 25 lb bags of many of their products, including alphabet soup.
posted by 10ch at 6:56 PM on December 17, 2018

Soy Sauce! I actually don't know what the shelf life is on this, though. I've had my 5 gallon bucket for at least a year in a cool dark place and it still tastes fine and no one has gotten sick. If you go this way, you need a pump too.
posted by dogmom at 7:28 PM on December 17, 2018

Pancake mix
posted by warriorqueen at 8:01 PM on December 17, 2018

35 lb tub of creamy peanut butter, $43

Peanut butter lasts almost forever.

60 lb pail of baker's honey, $100

Honey lasts thousands of years.

40 lb block of mild cheddar cheese, $100

Assuming your friend isn't some sort of cheese fiend, he'll probably lose some to mold at refrigerator temperatures. But it'll be fine in the freezer, or if he cuts it apart into, say, 1-5 lb blocks and coats them with cheese wax.

50 lb block of shortening, $33

I can't even. This is amazing. I want one.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 8:30 PM on December 17, 2018

posted by vunder at 10:09 PM on December 17, 2018

I would buy a bunch of large bags of pasta, and tape them together into sort of a huge roulade of pasta. So that they could only really see the 4-5 bags on the outside first. Make those bags fairly normal shapes: shells, elbows, maybe bowties.

But as they peel back the layers, they'll discover weirder and weirder pastas. Clown shapes, spinach flavored, and in the middle....a package of squid ink noodles. Or something even odder, if you can find it. They can either unroll it all at once for amusement value, or one package at a time for months for the surprise value.
posted by sharp pointy objects at 11:03 AM on December 18, 2018

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