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Favourite bulk store? Food supplement store?

I've recently started a strength training program which means I'm going to need energy and muscle building material, so I am looking for a place where I can load up on huge sacks of nuts and dried fruit, as well as a place to cheaply buy protein-loaded energy bars and whey protein powder in large quantities. I'm looking for good deals and considerable discounts over the regular pricing at grocery stores. Anyone have any suggestions for where to look for bulk stuff, big cases of energy bars, and huge vats of protein powder in Toronto?

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  1. Have you looked at the warehouse clubs? They have all the items you mention.

    1. Can't help you with the protein stuff - I never really looked for it - but for bulk fruit and nuts, go to any Superstore.

      I'm sure there are tons of little bulk food stores around, too. There's one in my neighborhood, on Bloor near the Ossington subway station. It's called something like Strictly Bulk.

      1. Costco has a really good "Fruit Medley" with huge chunks of fruit and some nuts. I've only seen wimpy dried fruit mixes at the cheaper bulk food stores.

        1. Bulk Barn at Leslie and Lakeshore always has perfectly fresh and top quality nuts and dried fruit.

          4 Replies
          1. re: deelicious

            John-Vince bulk store on Steeprock (west of Dufferin -north of Sheppard) should have everything you are looking for at probably the best prices in town.

            1. re: ishmael

              I was at John Vince about a month ago for the first time in many months.

              I noticed many of the bins had their lids removed. Not only did it appear unsanitary but quite a few items were stale.

              Did they switch to an open bin system or was I there at a time of some sort of transition? It was really horrible and I used to love the place.

              1. re: deelicious

                I used to go to John Vince on St Clair and it was my favourite place ever. I hadn't been in years so I went a few months ago and it was AWFUL. Not properly stocked, produce looked bad and was generally in decline. Sad.

                1. re: wontonfm

                  Very sad indeed. John Vince was once King.

          2. Most Bulk Barns usually have good food at good prices. They also have supplements, but not much selection.

            There's a small bulk store on the north side of Danforth west of Pape that seems to have nuts of somewhat higher quality than Bulk Barn and also a small supplement selection.

            If you are in the northern area, Ambrosia on Doncaster is a good source of food and supplements.

            The Big Carrot is great, but often very expensive on non-sale items.

            GNC doesn't have much food, but has lots of training supplements. Very expensive.

            I've found that the bulk selections at Loblaw and Dominion stores tend to be stale and often overpriced.

            Johnvince may have the biggest bulk food selection and good prices, but I've heard complaints from former fans that their food has been badly displayed, and often stale, for years now.

            The best bulk nuts are at the mid-eastern stores along Lawrence E. You won't find any "health" oriented items there.

            2 Replies
            1. re: embee

              check out ambrosia on doncaster in thornhill. I hear that their prices are the best in the city.

            2. This is a great question, as I often bake and also use protein powder quite a bit (chephy you may want to look into making your own bars!), but so many stores have such low quality and stale items, as mentioned.

              Just wanted to tip you off to a new whey protein source I have been introduced to-( at the risk of sounding like I work there or something..) it's made in Canada, has no soy by-products (lecthecin- sp?) It's called bodyflex am.- also has nutrients in it too.

              Don't forget that dried fruit can also contain lots of preservatives, like sulfites-(if anyone knows of a place where I can get dried fruit sulfite free by bulk, please advise!)

              Keep these recommendations coming!

              5 Replies
              1. re: EPIcureanTO

                I would assume the Big Carrot and Whole Foods, though not cheaply. Possibly Ambrosia. Call first!

                1. re: EPIcureanTO

                  I'm pretty sure that Ambrosia has sulfite free dried fruit, but not 100% sure. Also, Ambrosia is so busy that I would think the merchandise turns over quickly, and is less likely to be stale.
                  There's a smaller place on Queen East, just east of Beech on the north side. Can't remember the name of it, but I recall them having organic, natural dried fruit, which I would imagine is sulfite free.

                  1. re: pescatarian

                    Gotta be careful of that word "natural". Sulfites can occur naturally, though labels should still carry a warning.

                    1. re: embee

                      Agreed. I don't really worry about those things too much to be honest. I'm sure the goodness of the fruit balances the danger of a sulfite or two - or it not the taste is worth it. I'm sure people disagree with me, but you can't worry about everything.

                      1. re: pescatarian

                        To the best of my knowledge, sulfites are not particularly harmful. Almost all wines contain some, whether naturally or as an additive. But sulfites cause horrible allergic reactions in a small, but meaningful, number of people. Also, sulfites added to meat can cause horribly spoiled meat to look and smell normal.

                2. I believe Costco has all of the above.

                  1. For nuts and dried fruit, as well as flours and dried legumes, try David Roberts Food Corporation. They sell 1.5 kg packages of nuts and dried fruit at good prices. I don't think I've seen protein bars or whey protein powder there, but call to make sure. I've only been to the Mississauga location, but they also have one in Woodbridge.

                    David Roberts Food
                    426 Watline Ave, Mississauga, ON L4Z, CA