/ Food & Drink, Money, Shopping

How much are you happy to fork out for your favourite foods?

How much does cost influence what goes in to your shopping trolley? From convenient snacks that you can make yourself to bags of herbs that end up wasted, we want to know which items you’ve found too costly to bother buying.

Take popcorn as an example. It’s often touted as a trendy snack, but buying a small bag while on the go is a pricey option compared to popping kernels yourself at home.

And when you consider how much you’re actually getting in each bag of flavoured popcorn for the amount you’re spending, it just doesn’t seem worth the money.

Personally, I always feel annoyed at having to fork out a couple of quid for fresh bags of herbs. Not only are they overpriced, but I also end up using a few leaves and then watching the rest slowly wilt in the fridge.

The price tags that put you off

Do any of these examples ring true for you? We’d like to enlist your help to find the most expensive supermarket foods and see how the cost of everyday items stacks up against luxury goods. When compared gram for gram, it will be interesting to see if some food items are as ridiculously overpriced as the printer ink which costs more than vintage Champagne!

Is there anything you avoid buying when you’re out food shopping because you can’t justify the expense? Have you been in a supermarket and picked something up, only to put it down immediately after seeing its price tag or even spotted a similar product in another aisle for less money?

On the flip side, maybe there’s something that’s pricey but worth it? Is higher quality or ethically produced food worth the money for you? Or perhaps there’s a good reason why certain foods are more expensive – is the price of saffron justifiable given the amount you use and its exclusivity, for example?

How do you cut food costs?

Buying in bulk can be a great way to save money on expensive food items, especially with ‘convenience’ foods like small bags of nuts, which are much costlier per gram than larger bags. And savvy staff here at Which? tell me that you can pick up big bags of spices for a similar cost to the piddly portion you get in brand-name jars.

But – as some Which? members have told us – this isn’t always an option for people who live alone or those with limited cupboard and freezer space. And if you don’t use everything you buy, it can also lead to a lot of food waste.

We’d love to hear how you save money on your food shop. Perhaps you have some DIY solutions to help others save money – and some handy tricks to keep buying those special items at a fraction of the cost…

Comments
Member

Due to personal circumstances I buy a lot of frozen food mainly packaged fish /chicken /veg . While this can be expensive I wait until a supermarket cant sell a product at its high price -a product for example last week was priced at £4 for a packet of quality fish has just been reduced to £2 so I buy in bulk . I shop in different supermarkets as they always have some products reduced because of the price being too high to sell, so this keeps the total budget down . My F/F doesnt have a large freezer compartment so I went to a second hand shop and purchased an under the counter Frigidaire freezer of commercial standards this houses all my extra buys and it goes down to really low temperatures (adjustable ) that many F/F do not.

Member

The most expensive foods are special diet equivalents.

We drink oat milk. £1.79 a litre for oat milk for coffee, £1.40 for oak milk for tea. Ocado do milk from 43.4p a litre. That is 3-4 times the price of normal milk. The cheaper oat milks separate in tea and coffee. If they are on special offer we stock up but there is always the danger of a dodgy batch as frequently happens with these types of milks.

Anyone on a gluten-free diet will know their foods are more expensive.

Okay, the raw ingredients might cost more, or the production costs might be higher, but sometimes it does seem like a rip-off especially when you don’t have a choice.

Member

alfa – what do you mean by dodgy? Does the milk separate or is it something else?

And yes, ‘free-from’ foods are so incredibly expensive compared to their counterparts. It also seems really hard to cut costs when you’re on a special diet, short of baking your own gluten-free bread at home and so on.

Would be interested to hear tips from members about this – is there a good way to save money on shop-bought gluten-free/lactose-free (etc) foods?

Member

Hi Siobhan,

I think milks derived from vegetation sometimes suffer from “the bad bits” not being removed before processing, understandable I suppose when you consider how much rotten stuff you see in the fruit and vegetable section of supermarkets. Occasionally I feel sick for no reason and a taste or smell of the milk tells me what the problem is. I can no longer drink soya milk after being ill on it and coconut milk is sometimes a bit rancid.

Some milk alternatives do separate in tea and coffee. Reading reviews on a website like Ocado is useful so you can avoid them.

We stock up on dairy-free ice cream and ready meals when they are on special offer but mostly cook from scratch then you know what you are eating.

Member

Hi Alfa,,,,,,,,,,Similar problems…….We use Soya milk………..Occasionally use the oat stuff but prefer the soya…………Yes expensive,,several times the cost of cows milk………How come they can charge that money for water and a little pretty basic product while the dairy farmers are loosing money…………Our land is used by a neighbour for silage and I’d like to see the milk go up just a little again
The free from spread is also expensive
Getting muesli without whey is expensive
Its either pay the monkeys or go to the loo 5 times before mid-day
I honestly think that is our food that has put some of us in these positions………..Its not many years ago since I could eat as we say here like a horse……everything,,,anytime and now cramps at every corner
To top that off wifey refuses to wear her glasses out and she comes home with everything

Member

Dee- you have got me worried (thinking about your health ) . My wife is in the same boat allergic to cow,s milk but a report about soya came out in the US -seen on mercola.com (US ) .It says fermented soya is okay but -unfermented soyand processed soya products like soymilk,soy burgers and soy ice cream is bad for your health . 85 % of US consumers think soy products are good for your health /33 % of Americans eat soy foods . It says its a tragic case of shrewd marketing and outright lies. The vast majority of soya is not a health food ,the exception is FERMENTED soya ,unlike the Asian culture where people eat small amounts of WHOLE non-GMO soybean products ,western food processors separate the soybean into two golden commodities -protein and oil and there is nothing natural or safe about those products . DR. Kaayla Daniel points out 1000,s of studies linking soy to malnutrition -immune system breakdown thyroid trouble -mental decline-reproductive disorders and infertility -even cancer and heart disease -sample- Breast cancer -brain damage-infant abnormalities -thyroid disease -kidney stones -immune system impairment – severe ,potentially fatal food allergies -impaired fertility -danger during pregnancy and nursing . Have a look at the website yourself Dee ,see what you think of it . GMO soy is contaminated with large amounts of pesticides residue so that they can spray the potent toxic herbicide Roundup on them to improve crop production by killing weeds (check out Roundup )

Member

Thats interested to say the least……..
I’ll have a read at your suggestions
Funny the big brand does not agree with me whereas Sainsburys own brand has had not noticeable problems,,,,,,,as yet!!
It is certainly “tasted up” with apple juice etc but your story worries me
I’m not using it because its supposed to be healthy,,,,,,I have that many problems I’ve given up healthy………Its mighty boring reacting to over 3/4 of the stuff you set your hand on.
I had been using Oatly and similar products but I didnt like it……..really,,,,,,,,,,,,it is far from tasted up.
I blame all this on Homogenised milk……….Like PM10s and soot we were not made aware of the problems nearly soon enough………….did anyone listen about them either but I never ignore advice not that I always heed it but I make a choice after the prompt.
Most folk just look sideways to see what everyone is doing and go with the flow

A bit like Which reporting on MPG and ignoring more important emissions issue’s
Sorry Which,,,,,,,I hope your accusers are wrong but if not you fell down badly
Everyone has room to learn though so I’ll not go on strike!!!!!!!!!!your not about to get rid of me that easy
I nearly dropped when I found out the dangers of homogenised milk and the problems it caused to the extent even my wife who was still able to use milk put it straight down the sink
Long before that time I was having to read everything in Sainsburys……Thankfully milk products are on bold which makes it easy nowadays

This’ll not sound healthy bit I used to love a Mars and pint carton of milk……….that was my idea of a treat

Never know what your eating………or what you should be eating

Member

Hi DeeKay,

Have you considered making your own muesli? It is basically porridge oats, nuts, seeds & dried fruit all available from supermarkets or health food shops. I don’t know why so many foods have to have milk in them.

I also worry about soya products which is why we are now both on oat milk. The dearest Oatly does make a good cup of coffee.

Member

I have been told a couple of times to make my own………….I think it’ll be a matter of making a list and persisting to I find all the ingredients.
Does one just use the porridge straight out of the packet,,,,,I should probably look that up but I’ve been told so many things that i’d like a little info from someone who likes muesli and makes their own
I remember Alpen coming on the market and I ate it from that day forth as the saying goes,,,,,,,well to I found out there was milk products in it.
I remember the morning I lifted the bag out of the dry larder and decided to read the ingredients………………I was really surprised.
I set it back and was so angry or upset I set of and drove the 8 miles to Spendsburys and worked through the cereals to I found something……I’ve been making my through the supermarket selections since
Up to that point I was sitting to near mid-day waiting on the procedures to stop before I could get out
I did not have a clue Alpen was doing this
I think that as the supermarkets drive the milk price down that milk has or is making its way into everything
I eat porridge occasionally if wifey and I get up together but that’s not often with her work,,,,,,,,maybe I should eat more of it
The only soya milk I take is the little in the muesli in the morning and my bowl of muesli is pretty small as muesli is pretty full of energy
Oh I love coffee although according to time of day whether I take brown sugar in it…………..Occasionally I awake in the middle in the middle of the night and contrary to most trains of thought a nice cup and about 30 minute later I’m nodding off again………..without I just sit with my mind doing 100mph
I never took milk in coffee but I tale too much coffee but nothing like a did 20 years ago,
I have weaned myself away from the heaped spoonful down to a near flat teaspoonful.
When I was running on whatever it was I could drink coffee non stop but not now
I think my little glands eventually got fed up making go like hell hormones

Thanks Alfa

Member

Ordinary porridge oats are fine although some can be a bit chewy, we use Flahavans. Some recipes tell you to roast oats and nuts but we haven’t. We also add oat bran for a bit of substance.

Nuts I like are brazils, almonds and hazelnuts, bash them up a bit and store in a jar.

I also like pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

Dried fruit can be as simple as a few raisins or sultanas. There are a lot to choose from but can also be a bit chewy. I think organic is better as the cheaper ones have sulphur dioxide or sulphites in them. You can always put some fresh fruit on the top.

As they are all raw ingredients, I usually pour some milk over it and leave 10 minutes or so to soften up a bit before eating.

Porridge is a good breakfast. We do ours in the microwave, made with water in a soup bowl to allow for expansion. Only takes less than 2 minutes with a stir half way through.

Member

Hazel is all on for Flahavans but not the jumbo’s so that bit’s sorted

Almonds and Brazils yum yum are in the cupboard if I could stop eating them in handfuls

No one except me likes raisins or sultana’s so we’ll need some of those

The seeds the same

I like dried banana too

Wifey does her porridge similar with water and a little salt except I prefer brown sugar whilst she take white.
I dont ad sugar to anything except porridge and mid night coffee and I only like brown sugar. I know its no better but I liked it since I was a child

I’ve tried Muesli with water but it is not quite the same however after Duncan’s warning about soya I’m thinking that I’ve had to adjust to quite a lot of changes so maybe I could adjust to that also
It’s wonderful what one can come to accept when its eat or starve

Thanks a million

Member

You’re welcome. Let us know how you get on with it.

Member

why buy expensive food ? any food only takes away the pangs of hunger so why buy the most expensive there is . It does not matter what you eat it all ends up undistinguished in the same place all to be used in the same way cheaper food can taste just as good as branded items and many times comes off the same production line with just a different label on

Member

bishbut- while you have a point ,as far as the average person is concerned the problem is people who suffer from severe allergic reaction to many normal foods, as some of the posters here do . Instead of companies saying – poor souls and producing good /non-allergic food they see the big $$$ signs and sell products at twice or more of the price of normal goods . To me thats profiting off the sick people who ,due to their DNA at birth are shouldered with additional expenses throughout their lives . Just pop your head into a “health shop ” ,as I have done over many decades prices can be 3X or more dearer than Mr.Averages food ,the same with supermarkets . The cry is as its a minority that use them it costs more to produce -Bull !

Member

You know,,,,,,,,I dont wish to chase anyone away but if I’ve learned something new it is that people come to a forum,,,read a little,,,,,,obviously no more than two posts,,,,,feel an urgent need to tell everyone “how really it is” and disappear……….Leaving behind I know not what…… but I think I’ll no longer comment some of these efforts of honesty and knowledge until the posters appear to be sticking around………..its not worthwhile repeating the same explanations to thin air or is it stubborn k******s who are not willing to have anything explained

Don’t get me wrong,,,,,,I dont mind differing views,,,,,,,,,I might disagree and often do but these whirlwinds are just that whirlwinds……blow in stir everything up and be gone

BYEEEEEeeeeeeee…………..

Member

LIke it Dee -your right !

Member
Gerard Phelan says:
22 January 2016

I save on Herbs and Spices by buying the large containers available in the “Range” chain of home wares stores. These are from the “Rye Spice Co Ltd” and to give examples these 6 inch tall tubs contain 500g of heavier products like Turmeric or Garlic chips or 175g of the lighter Oregano or Basil and cost about £5. This compares with the small pots sold by Supermarkets that contain about 15g of light herbs or 60g of heaver spices and cost £1.50 or more. I make that about 10 times the quantity for at most 3 times the price.
Big tubs mean lots of storage space required, so nothing is straightforward.

Member
Ian says:
17 March 2016

The other week I bought some Sprouts from Tesco. There were ‘loose sprouts’ at £2.00 per kg. Then I noticed ‘peeled sprouts’ in a 500g pack for £1.00.
So, in that case, since there was no waste, the prepared sprouts cost less than the loose ones.

Member
Fingal Plumpton says:
19 March 2016

Own brand soya milk is really not that expensive! It’s 69p a litre from the Coop which doesn’t separate or anything, it’s totally fine. Please don’t publish articles falsely saying that non-dairy milks are so much more expensive as this might discourage people who were considering switching!

Member
John Illingworth says:
20 March 2016

I was stunned to read in the magazine that Schwartz cinnamon sticks are £126.92 a kilo and ground cinnamon is £23.94 a kilo for a refill.

What stunned me was that anyone actually buys Schwartz spices. In our local market in Bradford cinnamon sticks are £15 a kilo and ground cinnamon is £10 a kilo – both sold loose. They are also much cheaper in supermarkets if you buy the own brand stuff.

Incidentally, the sticks illustrated in the magazine are actually cassia which is a cheaper variety of cinnamon.

Member
helenj says:
24 March 2016

I always look at the price per kg. One good money saving tip is to look in different sections of the supermarket. For example, you can find nuts in the baking, world food, ‘health’ food and snack aisles, and the difference in price per kg can be enormous.