Research published last week by Oxfam revealed that Britons are facing among the highest and most unsettled food prices in Western Europe.
With families struggling to make ends meet, a record number are turning to food banks to put dinner on the table, yet at the same time recent figures from the waste advisory group, WRAP show that families are throwing away £60 worth of food every month.
Below is a guide to help you carefully budget how much you spend on food every week, and cut back on wasteful habits.
Compare food prices before you buy
Comparing the cost of your food shopping online will help you find the stores offering the best deals for your purchases.
MySupermarket.co.uk compares the prices across the UK’s main stores, while FixtureFerrets.co.uk pinpoints the best food and drink deals on the shelves every week.
Eat before you shop
Shopping on a full stomach is the best way to avoid overloading your trolley with snacks and treats. There’s always a generous stock of sweets at the checkout and these can be hard to resist when you’re feeling hungry.
Make a shopping list
Planning your meals and purchases before going shopping will reduce the possibility of buying things you don’t need.
Make sure you have a good rummage through your cupboards beforehand as well. This way you will know exactly what ingredients you need and then you can plan your shop around these.
Look out for reduced items
Supermarkets reduce prices on fresh items that are nearly past their sell-by date, and these are usually placed in a ‘reduced items’ section in store. You can take these products home and freeze them to use at a later date. Try and shop later in the day to get the best deals.
Get your portions right
To avoid wasting food, check out LoveFoodhateWaste.com. This site provides a useful portion planner that can help you to pick up the right amount of each ingredient when shopping.
Cook from scratch
Pre-packed foods and ready-meals will cost you more than buying fresh ingredients. When cooking, try and make big batches so that you can freeze portions for those evenings that you fancy a quick meal without reaching for the takeaway menu or a ready meal. Any leftovers should be frozen so they can be incorporated into future dishes.