Food shopping gets credit crunched

19 May 2008

Yesterday, my mum came back from the local shops complaining that the price of meat has gone up. Now, my mum is not the kind of person who complains about prices so this got me thinking. On the news lately, I saw a story about how us Brits are throwing away £10bn worth of food every year. So Sunday afternoon I joined my parents on their weekly food shopping trip to Sainsbury’s to find out how to save money.

1) Do you use a shopping list? – I must confess, I don’t always use one, so before we left the house I was put in charge of checking the cupboards and fridge and drawing a list. Doing this made me realise how easily the average household can throw away £420 of food every year and that goes up to £610 if you have kids. So the mission for the day was to stick to the list.

2) A word about expiry dates – While I was buying products from the dairy section my dad kept asking, “What’s the expiry date?” He told me that this is because supermarkets put the items that are about to expire at the front. So after a little investigation in the yoghurt section I noticed that the one’s at the back had a longer shelf life, so I picked these instead of the one’s at the front. At least this way there’s more of a chance I will eat it.

3) Buy what you will eat – I know this sounds obvious, but the point where I headed into real trouble was when we were pushing the trolley down the chocolate/cakes aisle. Automatically, I’d forgotten all about the list and was piling chocolate and cake slices into the trolley. Which was when my mum picked up the cake slices and said, “Are you really going to eat this?” before pointing out the last time I bought these, they just sat on the shelf, never to be eaten. Ouch! Guilty as charged. So pulling a grumpy face, I put the slices back on the shelf. I knew that was going to come back and bite me one day.

4) Portions and leftovers - After packing the shopping away at home, I asked my mum for her tips on how not to waste food which I thought I would share with you. Here’s what she suggested: If you’re always chucking food in the bin, cook smaller portions and if there are leftovers, re-se them in salads, pasta or stir fry’s or freeze larger portions for another occasion. This way we can do our bit for the environment and save a few bob too.