/ 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.