By Pauleen Le

RICHFIELD, Minn. (WCCO) — As inflation continues to raise food prices, a local nonprofit is seeing an uptick in the number of people participating in its bulk buying program.

The program is called Fare for All and it offers customers a discount of up to 40% on meats, fruits and vegetables compared to the price at regular grocery stores.

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Organizers said the program is all about maximizing buying power — they buy in bulk so as more people participate, the bigger their orders are and the better the savings are for the customer.

Fare for All is run by The Food Group, which is a nonprofit dedicated to making sure more people have access to healthy and culturally connected foods. Sophia Lenarz-Coy is the executive director at The Food Group. She said more people are shopping at Fare for All as they notice their grocery bills taking a bigger bite out of their wallet.

“Our goal is to really make sure that our folks have additional access to affordable healthy foods,” said Lenarz–Coy. “As food prices go up, food is that flexible part of the budget, right? So people tend to cut back and what we see is when you’re cutting back and really trying to cut costs it’s often the fresh produce or the good lean meats that you have to sacrifice.”

The program operates as a pop-up grocery store with 32 locations across the metro. There are two pop-up locations every Monday through Friday.

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Volunteers pre-package all of the food into different categories for shoppers to purchase. Customers can buy a variety pack of 7-9 full-sized frozen meat items for $25 or a smaller pack of 3-5 items for $11. There’s also a produce package containing 3-4 fresh fruits and 3-4 fresh veggies for $10.

The items for sale vary by the day and location.

Customers like Melissa Shepley said this program isn’t too good to be true — it’s too good to pass up.

“I think it’s neat,” she said. “I thought, if you go to the store, you’re going to pay $10 [or] $15 more for what you’re getting for $10 here. So, I’d rather have a whole box of 10 than just one little thing of 10.”

This program is open to everyone. There is no registration required and no qualifications that need to be met in order to shop.

Cash, debit, credit and SNAP benefits are accepted.

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For more information on pop-up locations and times, click here.

Pauleen Le