My first encounter with bulk bins as a kid was in our neighborhood chain grocery store, and all I remember is candy. The bins reminded me of the serve-yourself candy shops and movie theater concession stands, and I longingly passed by the bins wishing I could reach in there and snatch a snack. My parents were wiser, though, and steered us clear of the tempting towers of sweets.
But bulk bins have evolved to carry grains, legumes, spices, oils, sweeteners, and so many ingredients we need for everyday cooking that they're now one of my favorite sections of the grocery store. And while I load up on pantry staples there, they also hold great deals on snacks! Here are some of my favorites.