The cost of living in the UK has skyrocketed in recent months, with significant increases seen in the prices of services, fuel, energy, and much more.
The cost of food has proved to be a big driver in the cost of living, with many households having to take a long hard look at what they can afford to put in their supermarket trolley.
As of September 2022, some foods that have gone up in price by the most include low-fat milk at 34.0%, olive oil at 23.6%, and butter at 27.1%.
The last ONS (Office for National Statistics) figures published in October stated: ‘Food and non-alcoholic beverage prices rose by 16.4% in the 12 months to October 2022, up from 14.6% in September 2022.’
‘The annual rate of inflation for this category has continued to rise for the last 15 consecutive months, from negative 0.6% in July 2021.’
With this in mind, many households will seek the best value from their food shop.
Here are some top tips for making your grocery shop go further.
Tips to make your grocery shop go further
Jamie Griffin, a food waste expert at InSinkErator, has provided several top tips on getting the most from your food shop.
Jamie stated: ‘With the price of food bills increasing, it is crucial that we are ensuring that our weekly food shop goes a long way.
‘By cutting down on purchasing short dated products and replacing them with more long life items, you could save money and significantly reduce food waste.’
Consider the difference between best before, use by, and sell by dates
While doing your food shop, it’s essential to pay attention to whether your items are displaying a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date.
The easiest way to consider the two is by viewing the ‘best before’ date as a guideline and the ‘use by’ date as a firm rule.
Additionally, a ‘sell-by date’ dictates how long a shop can stock the item.
Jamie says: ‘When it comes to products like bread, a best before date is a mere indication as to how long it will remain fresh for – however, if stored in the correct conditions, there is no need to stick to the best before guideline so rigidly.
‘But with regards to fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and dairy products – they are renowned for their shorter lifespans and guidelines should therefore be followed.’
Buy food with a long shelf life
While it might seem obvious, picking items with a long shelf life will likely help cut down on subconscious food wastage.
Some food stocks have a massive shelf life, with dry white rice lasting around thirty years, instant coffee for 25 years, and powdered milk for up to twenty years.
10 Foods with a long shelf life ranked
Many foods can also be frozen for a long time, with that information usually displayed on the packaging.
Jamie says: ‘… It seems as though frozen meats are the way forward, with a chicken having an approximate shelf life of 1 year in your freezer.
‘By swapping out fresh meat for frozen alternatives you may be saving yourself a considerable amount of money as well as cutting down significantly on food waste.’
Know when food is off and when it’s still good to eat
Understanding when food is still good can also help reduce food waste.
Some factors to consider are:
- Smell – The smell of food is usually a good indication of whether it is still good to eat, but this is not always the case, so care must be taken.
- Read the small print on food packaging – Food packaging often gives you a good idea of how long it is safe to eat after the packaging is open.
- Freezing leftovers – If you are seeking to avoid food wastage, cooking meals in bulk and freezing them can help food last up to two months.
- Discolouration, mould, slime and films – all of these can be a strong indication that the food is no longer safe to eat and should be thrown away.
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