Karma bulking up on everything from kombucha to quinoa

The kombucha taps

Quick quiz: how many flavours of kombucha does Karma offer in bulk?

“What, Karma has started selling bulk kombucha?!” many of you may ask, quizzically.

Yes! Since the end of February, the very popular beverage has started flowing through taps installed in the side of one of the stand-up fridges into customers’ waiting jars.

And it’s super popular! Karma frequently sells out the kombucha tanks, showing that members are already eager for the healthful drink.

Bulk kombucha has the advantages not only of reducing packaging, but of lowering prices: one litre of bulk kombucha costs about $7 compared to the $5 half-litre bottles.

Plus, the bulk kombucha Karma carries is from two local companies: Alchemy Pickles and Tonica.

Alchemy Pickle is a Toronto-based company that buys certified-organic produce for its kombucha from family farms — including smaller-scale, sustainable farms — within a 200-kilometre radius of the city. The kombucha is traditionally fermented, unpasteurized, vegan and gluten-free.

Tonica also is based in Toronto, and all of its flavours of kombucha are vegan and gluten-free. Plus, they’re certified organic.

Okay, I’ve made you wait long enough! Here’s the answer to the quiz: four. Tonica supplies Ginger and Blueberry, whereas Alchemy produces at least two flavours that will change with the seasons.

But I can’t resist giving you another quiz: name two health and beauty products that are sold in bulk at Karma.

What’s the answer? Take your pick! From shampoo and conditioner to deodorant and body lotion, Karma is stocked up on a range of your bath and beauty needs in bulk, most recently from Montreal-based RoseCitron.

“A lot of people come into Karma looking for bulk products,” says Alexandra Prue, Karma’s healthy and beauty purchaser. “And that increasing demand lets us carry more and more of it. We also try to source companies and products that are as local as possible.”

Speaking of local, Ontario quinoa has been spotted among the bulk-food offerings at the coop. It’s another recent addition to the more than 400 bulk-food items in the store, most in the east end of the store and many in spiffy new bins.

So in addition to finding all your favourites from chocolate to cashews and flour to farro in bulk at Karma, you can check out local quinoa. Create your own list of go-to bulk items at Karma and quiz your friends. They’ll be surprised at the selection of items offered in bulk, including the burgeoning number of health and beauty supplies. 

submitted by Rosemary Frei