Buying in bulk not good for your health, study says

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Buying in bulk not good for your health, study says

11/27/2017

Costco Wholesale, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club are well-known for their private brands. But are those private brands helping to make people overweight?

According to a new study from Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business and reported by www.money.cnn.compeople shopping at those warehouse clubs are spending more on packaged food, making more shopping trips and taking in more packaged food calories than if they didn't shop at a club store.

"You think you're saving money and getting ahead, but it's not good for your health and it's not good for your pocket book," says Kusum Ailawadi, a professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business and the lead author of the study, along with co-authors Yu Ma and Dhruv Grewal.

In a best-case scenario, according to Ailawadi, people become members of club stores assuming that shopping there will help them save money since they are buying in bulk, which means they can shop less frequently.

"Things seem good from a financial and health perspective," Ailawadi said in the www.money.cnn.com story. "The problem is, that's not what happens."

Her study found those who shopped regularly at club stores had a 5 percent increase in the amount of money spent on packaged food per person in the household, a 15 percent increase in the amount of time spent shopping and an 8 percent increase in calories consumed than if they had not shopped at a club store.

The Dartmouth researchers found that customers are increasing their spending on packaged food by $3.50 per person, per month at a wholesale club.

As far as the food they’re taking in, shoppers at club stores take in 3,500 more packaged food calories per person, per month than if they had not shopped at the club store, according to the report. That translates into an 11 percent increase in consumption of fats and a 5 percent increase in sugar.

Buying in bulk, which consumers are known to do at wholesale clubs, contributes to the increase in eating.

"We know that no matter how self controlled you are, when there is more in the home you consume more," Ailawadi said.