Mastering the weekly shop is no small feat, and most of us, no matter how old, are still in awe of our mums for managing to do it so effortlessly. If you find yourself panic buying and throwing away half of the contents of your fridge every week, you’ve come to the right place.
Figures show that the UK wastes £13bn of food each year so we’ve put together our top tips to help you get the most from your weekly shop.
Planning your meals for the week, and basing your shopping list on this, not only means that you get the most from your weekly shop but also removes the hassle from cooking as you know what you’re making each night, and that you’ll have all the necessary ingredients for it. This process can be made even easier by using an online tool, such as Tesco’s meal planner which allows you to create a weekly meal plan and then buy all of the ingredients online. A method that is both simple and efficient.
Be realistic about what you will use
It may be tempting to reach for the BOGOF supermarkets deals, or optimistically put a bag of kale into your basket, but you need to be realistic about what you will actually use.
Ensure that you have an end goal in mind for everything you purchase, rather than just buying it because it’s a good deal.
Use a recipe search engine
Supercook is a recipe search engine that shows you recipes based on whatever ingredients you enter. Covering everything from your main ingredients, right down to spices and condiments, it’s a great way of using up any ingredients you might be struggling to fit into a recipe.
There are a number of similar sites out there, and using one of them can ensure that you make the most of your weekly shop or any odd ingredients that might be lurking in your cupboards.
The biggest supermarkets in the UK all offer exclusive online deals, and if you’re a savvy shopper you can make the most of your weekly shopping budget by considering shopping online rather than in store.
Create meals from leftovers
Using up leftover food may not sound glamorous but it’s a great way to save that half an onion or opened bag of rocket you have left over from last night’s meal.
Know your food labels
Knowing the difference between the different food labels can also help you get the most from your weekly shop. “use by” and “best before” are two different types of legally required food labels, further confused by the addition of a “display until” label on some food items.
Use by - legally required for highly perishable items, anything with a “use by” date should be used or thrown out the midnight of that day, even if it still looks and smells fine.
Best before - this relates to the quality of the food, and the date you should use it by in order to enjoy its best taste, appearance, and texture. Most foods are still safe to eat after their best “before date”, it just means they won’t be at the same level of quality.
Display until - although commonly used, “display until” labels are not a legal requirement and they’re often used by retailers to help staff know when to rotate stock.
Know how to store fresh food
Many of us make the mistake of piling all our fresh food in the fridge in the hopes that it will keep longer, but some fresh food items may fare better in room temperature.
Knowing how to store fresh food will not only increase its shelf life but also ensure that you’re not having to throw food away due to spoilage.