I love buying reduced food and there are a whole host of benefits aside from saving money.
If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts you will know that I love saving money on my groceries. I spent the whole of last year challenging myself to spend just £50 a month for two of us. The majority of the food I buy is reduced food and as well as saving money I think there are other benefits too. I’ve recently seen a lot of people turning their noses up at the idea of buying reduced food branding it ‘scabby’ and something that only really poor people do. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, I could afford to buy a full weeks shopping the same way everyone else does but I choose not to. I like being able to spend less, still eat fantastic food and save that money for fun things like holidays and days out.
It’s Eco Friendly
Buying from the reduced section helps prevent food waste, as you are buying food that the supermarket will be throwing out at the end of the day.
Just because supermarkets can’t legally sell food that is out of date, it doesn’t mean that food is not fit for consumption. If you buy some chicken fillets with today’s use by date at 10pm, they are not suddenly going to be inedible when the clock strikes midnight. I find most foods are okay a day or two after their use by date, longer for vegetables, especially hardy things like potatoes. Of course if you have any doubts about whether food is safe to eat then throw it out.
Some supermarkets are trying their best to prevent food waste by partnering with local charities to redistribute surplus food.
As well as buying reduced fresh produce I often buy reduced dry goods too. Items can be reduced as they are short dated, the supermarket is no longer going to stock them or the packaging has been updated. It’s worth remembering that Best Before End is simply an indication of a products quality and food can be consumed safely long after this date. Just remember food may not be at its optimum quality.
It can help you be creative in the Kitchen
As I buy the majority of my food from the reduced section, I never know what I am going to find. Most people shop with a list and stick to many of the same staples each week. When you don’t know what meat and other ingredients your’e going to find, it really forces you to mix things up and try some new dishes. I’d never cooked scallops before but we ended up eating them for weeks after I found 10 packs reduced to 9p each.
When buying a lot of reduced food I always make sure there is plenty of room in my freezer. I un-package everything to save space and freeze on the day of purchase. This is also where batch cooking comes into it’s own; I often buy several packs reduced mince and cook it into a large batch of Bolognese. Check out this post on how to make the most of your freezer space.
Shopping places you might not usually be able to afford
The food in places like M&S and Waitrose is amazing and while I would love to all of my food shopping there I simply can’t afford to. Going in occasionally and buying a few reduced bits means lovely fancy food without spending a fortune. And as with any supermarket it’s worth checking for reductions on dry goods too.