Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Food Shop Fest

Monday this week, was my first attempt at doing as much of a shop as possible, buying natural and organic foods. Last week's shop was more reconnaisance, but this week I was starting more for real.

I usually shop at Lidl, which I love and is great value, but I knew that their organic products were few and far between, i.e. onions and carrots, I couldn't remember seeing anything else.  I still went there though and did do quite a bit of non-organic and free range shopping as some members of the household particularly like some of their products.  I did find a few organic items that I didn't know they stocked.  These were semi-skimmed milk, which is useful, wholewheat pasta and fair trade bananas, which is great as we eat a lot of these.

I will keep going in to check and see if they have expanded their range, but I can see myself shopping here a lot less in the future unfortunately, unless anything changes.

Most of this week's shopping was done at a huge Sainsbury's superstore out on the North Circular road, which is about 10 miles from where I live. As I was at the gym in the morning, I was almost half way there already, so continued on, as I'd heard from other bloggers that they have quite an extensive organic range.  This was very true.

I ignored the free ice creams that were being handed out as I walked in and straight away got down to business in the fruit and vegetable aisles.  I have to admit I was pretty shocked at the prices of some fruits and vegetables which were £'s more than non-organic, and for some I couldn't justify the expense at that level, so I didn't buy them and resorted to non-organic instead for the time being.  I'm talking specifically about sweet peppers, blueberries and avocados.  Anything with a thick skin I'm not too concerned about, such as citrus fruits and avocados, which is just as well.

Next, I progressed onto the meat aisle which was also pretty shocking.  I did manage to find some reasonably priced organic products such as a small chicken for £6 to £8, which for 3 of us would be okay actually, and a small joint of lamb or beef for £6 or £7.  I would probably pay this for the pleasure of eating meat.  Also pork mince was very reasonable. Diced beef was a bit pricey at £5.50, but I would pay it, to be able to eat a lovely stew with dumplings.

Most non-meat and some dairy items I found much more reasonably priced and more comparable price wise with non-organic, which was encouraging. I was so pleased to find some organic wholemeal bread products, that I bought a couple of loaves and have put them in the freezer, just in case I don't get back there for a week or two.  Some items, i.e. own brand tomato ketchup and own brand baked beans I bought specifically to try and see if we like them rather than paying more for Heinz organic products.  There's no guarantee that they will be compatible with our taste buds. As I wrote this post, I was eating a salad, which I'd dressed with their own brand organic balsamic vinegar. It's not the nicest I've tasted and I will be looking around for an alternative when I finish this bottle.

All in all though, it was a good shop and I was very encouraged.  My favourite purchase was a jar of organic Tikka Masala sauce, so that I can still have a curry from time to time.  We tried it last night and it was very nice.  A bit more expensive, but definitely worth it.

Next food shop, I'm heading to the huge Tesco down the road from this Sainsbury's to see what they have in their range.  Anything I can't get there I can always go on to get from Sainsbury's.  I've also just received some money off vouchers from Tesco, which will come in useful.  The first is £3 of a £20 shop.

Last night, I spent some time checking out some of the organic food websites.  It was interesting. but I found them even more expensive than supermarkets and even more so when postage was factored in.  They can be handy for buying in bulk though. I also checked out Ocado and found them to have a great organic range too, where I can buy some staples I've not yet found anywhere else, such as wholewheat penne pasta and brown basmati rice. In addition, they have lots of toiletries at very good prices and some meat products seem very reasonable too.  It's quite exciting really.  I apologise now if readers aren't finding it so. Please humour me for a few weeks until I settle into it and shut up about it.


  1. Maybe a local health food shop/co-op would be a good idea, if one did a veg box or even had a weigh house for dried food and things like that. I find that kind of shop better than supermarkets or chains for some things - especially toiletries and household goods. Sorry if that's a really obvious thing to say, it's just that with you being in London I'd expect there to be some decent choice.

    1. You're right and there are quite a few health food or organic shops of various kinds, some quite expensive, some not so expensive. I haven't actually explored all of these options yet. I need to get on my bike to visit one particular shop that I used to go to, as parking restrictions make it difficult to just drop by when I'm passing in the car, but just haven't got around to it.

  2. I agree with you that it can take a while to get over the price increase of an indie shop or co-op compared to a supermarket, but there can be other benefits of shopping local rather than in the mega chains. I guess it comes down to the reason for making the shift.