Five Bulk Food Businesses to Start Online in Canada

There are countless online opportunities for Canadian entrepreneurs. Our country is large and its population is scattered, which creates a unique demand. While many products are available in the US there is a strong preference to buy Canadian whenever it is feasible to do so if for no other reason than the low Canadian dollar, and lower shipping costs are always appealing.

Many small and home-based businesses thrive online due to the low overhead. There is no need to lease an expensive storefront in a prime location. Your business and/or warehouse can be in the middle of nowhere (although a central location decreases shipping costs). If you need more guidance, follow our checklist How to Start an Online Business in Canada.

One wide-open Canadian niche is bulk sales. I occasionally encounter attempts at cornering this market, but virtually all of the websites in Canada are more retail than truly bulk. To thrive in this market, your prices must be as low as any offline bulk store (such as The Bulk Barn).

5 Under-served Canadian Niches in the Bulk Food Sector are:

  1. Bulk Fish Food (US counterpart:
  2. Bulk Candy & Baking Supplies (US counterpart:
  3. Bulk Herbs and Nutraceuticals (US counterpart: Starwest Botanicals)
  4. Bulk specialty coffee, tea, gourmet hot chocolate, premium cocoa, or health drink mixes
  5. Bulk organic freeze-dried – Exotic meat, fish, fruit, etc.  This niche often focuses on survival food, but there is a demand for many freeze-dried foods in bulk due to the higher nutrient retention, better taste, and faster re-hydration.  You’ll find a demand from pet owners as well.

What You’ll Need

Start a Bulk Food Business Online in Canada

Success Tips

  • Market research and emulating similar successful businesses in other countries will get you off to the right start in Canada.
  • It’s tricky to start a bulk food business because you must have enough stock, yet it could expire while sales are slow. You may have to order smaller quantities at first, which will cut into your profit margin until you’re established enough to benefit from volume discounts. The same applies to introducing new products, as you’ll have to wait to see if they’re popular enough before placing larger orders. Focus on products with a long shelf life, such as freeze-dried food.
  • You can offer popular products if you can give shoppers a seriously good bulk discount. A larger minimum size (such as one pound) can offset costs.
  • To really bring them in and encourage orders with a higher profit margin, also stock unique products that may not be easy to find in Canadian retail.  These can be offered in smaller quantities.  Unique items can overcome online sales objections, such as shipping costs.
  • Keep an eye on your local bulk food stores to maintain your originality and competitive pricing.
  • Keep size and weight in mind when choosing your bulk stock. Bulk hardware may seem like good idea, for example, but the shipping weight would make it cost prohibitive.
  • Offer complimentary products for a full shopping experience.
  • Always provide excellent customer service.
  • Provide as much information as possible on your website. For example, a bulk herb business can provide information about natural healing with herbs. Information brings search engine traffic and allows your potential customers to research your products without leaving your website.
  • Start a newsletter with helpful information, coupons, etc. A mailing list can bring customers to your website and is invaluable to increase sales and engagement.

??? Have you noticed an open Canadian niche? Please share it with us in the comments below.

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
10 Low-Cost Side Businesses you can Start Online from Home
Should you Register a .ca Domain for your Canadian Business?
10 Tips for Canadian Moms and Dads with a Home-Based Business


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8 Responses to "Five Bulk Food Businesses to Start Online in Canada"

  1. OG  February 12, 2013

    Tactics that have the potential to save people money has a good chance.

  2. Hal  February 11, 2013

    I agree bulk would do well in Canada. Anything I’ve sold in bulk has done well here. I’d probably keep my dayjob for the first year while I built enough stock and buyers.

  3. Elmar  February 11, 2013

    Alot of things can be sold in bulk when you think about it, except for big or heavy things. Party supplies are big in the states. I always wanted to start a massive online dollar store but it’s an overwhelming concept. Maybe I can combine the two ideas.

  4. Geoffe Timmons  February 11, 2013

    I’ve never been able to find bulk candy that was low priced with shipping that didn’t scare me to death.

  5. Adam  February 11, 2013

    It’s great that you share your ideas. We all have some business ideas that we aren’t interested in developing, why not share them for others to use?

  6. Trixed  February 10, 2013

    Very tempting! I’ve looked for bulk products numerous times in the past like candy and herbs.

  7. Trish  February 10, 2013

    I’d be worried about buying all the stock and not being able to sell it… but I guess that’s the way with any business. It could always be sold on ebay too. I’d love to do the herbal idea… hmmmmm

  8. Marion  February 9, 2013

    You have the brain of a serial entrepreneur, that’s for sure! Thanks for sharing the ideas.I’m pretty sure you’re going to make me rich someday but I’d appreciate it if you’d put a rush on it. ROFL


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