We are all aware in one way or another that the economic recession has impacted almost every one whether a little bit or drastically. I see it every day and most people i know are struggling in some way. The Guardian Newspaper have been running a series about austerity Britain called Breadline Britain and they have recently highlighted within the series the impact of the recession on the British public’s diet. Unemployment/ no comparable wage rise coupled with increased living costs means that people need to cut back, however it has gone so far down the line that it is no longer just the ‘luxuries’ we are cutting out but the essentials as well. The Joseph Rowntree Trust reported that food prices have risen by 32% in the last 5 years, 12% in only the last year with spending staying relatively the same but increasingly less and less spent on fresh meat, vegetables and fruit. Furthermore the biggest and ‘best’ deals are on cheap, poor quality, processed foods which doesn’t make it a contest when as one women from the Breadline series put it ‘When four bars of Chocolate are £1, you end up on junk’
I feel i am very lucky when it comes to providing myself and family with thrifty but nutrition food because i can cook relatively well, have slowly collected herbs and spices which always come in handy for livening up a dish and i use my noggin and buy smart without sacrificing on nutrition. So i have compiled a short list of essentials which i personally spend on and scrimp on to show you where you can save on the pennies and spend your pounds on what maybe be a bit pricey but needed. Though this won’t be THE list for everyone depending on what and where you buy and it may not be the most ethical food, but i think for the majority of people who shop at supermarkets and are on an increasingly tight budget this could really help when it comes to the weekly shop.
I always buy the 33p value plum tomatoes because they simply don’t taste any different and you are most of the time putting them into a sauce or stew so they are mingling with other flavours. I get plum tomatoes because they give you more fruit in them and they are often about 2p cheaper then chopped tomatoes
Now many people are simply brand snobs when it comes to canned stuff but for value beans i have found they taste just as nice but tend to have less sugar and salt in. If you need a tomatoeyer hit just squirt in a half a tablespoon of ketchup which works out so much cheaper then buying the big named brands, i.e. Heinz
I am a massive Cheese fan and do not like to scrimp on the good stuff but for some recipes you can. You can get the cheapest cheddar cheese and use it for cheese sauces and toasties and it adds just as much flavour as it is heated up and you can add other flavours in to it. If eating on crackers though, that is when you want the good stuff .
Spreads and fillings
It can be hit and miss but some value brands have equally delicious products but some are also horrific. Test out a jar of own brand ‘Insert name’ and see what the difference is you might be surprised how delicious it is but equally if it turns out it tastes like horse muck then you have wasted alot less. Don’t be put off by the cheap looking packing all the time.
Value veg and fruit
Once again the packing makes you believe it is of a poorer quality because it is technically ‘Class II’ rather then Class I. The only thing this means is that the peppers in packet numero 2 are little bit funkier looking then packet number 1. See this post for why that shouldn’t and doesn’t matter. The same goes for canned veg as long as its not in brine (too much salt) or fruit which is in juice rather then syrup (too much sugar)
Firstly, there is more to bacon then just a butty in the morning or a workmens lunch, bacon can be added to so many dishes just to give a little extra meaty depth without having to chuck a whole animal into your meal every night. More importantly though is that you shouldn’t scrimp on it because i have never ever bought cheap/average priced bacon and NOT found it to ave shrunk by at least a half under the grill. Its a mugs game cheap bacon and if you choose to spend just a little more you can get a quality product which will give you the weight in meat that you paid for.
Just like bacon you can make a substantial meal out of a packet of sausages but don’t sacrifice health or taste pleasure for some overtly pink, E-number ridden cheap banger. Use your noodle and find the best quality ones, you will be pleased for it. Better still get to your local butcher.
Though there are value brands out there that have good pasta, can’t hurt your pocket too much to check, i have often found that the medium or top brands yield the best results. They are less likely to stick to the pan, don’t take as long to cook and overall taste so much better.
If you’ve seen this post you’ll know why but briefly: Cheap, mass produced bread is pretty much what is killing Britain, readily available and value for money people are shoveling mountains of the stuff into their gobs each day to keep full. Eat less and spend a little bit more on a local, good quality, real baker and you will reap the benefits later on and so will your purse.
Has the recession affected your diet? what are your tips for eating healthy but at a price you can afford?