Eat Well For Less?

I watched the last series of this programme and I was stunned to see how much some families spend on their grocery shopping.

I like to sit in my chair and do most things, shopping is no exception.  I started shopping with Ocado a number of years ago when they offered me 50% off my first shop.  It was definitely too good an offer to turn down.

I then reverted to Asda for my shopping but they were getting things wrong all the time.  Items would be missing, substituted with something bizarre or damaged.  The prices were also creeping up and up so I decided to go back to give Ocado another go.

After a number of years I can wholeheartedly recommend them and even have a Smart Pass so I have as many deliveries as I like for free.  If you’re thinking, wow that must be expensive, think again.  My husband and I don’t have a food agenda so what I do is go to the offers page and order most of the shopping from there.  Sometimes my total saved can be the same as my total spend.  I did my shop via and Ocado came out cheapest for my shop.  The only limitation I have come across is that they don’t sell ‘everything’ so you sometimes have to pop out and get a few bits.

Anyway, the reason we’re actually here is the TV programme!

The family being followed this week spend just over £300 per week on groceries!!  I know!!  There’s only four of them.

They buy everything that we all know are a bit of a con.  They buy grated cheese and chopped vegetables.  I look at the ready prepared things and think, that would save time, then compare the prices and go for the block of cheese and whole carrots.  I have a Tefal Fresh Express so when I get home I cut the cheese into blocks and send them through the grater into an old ice cream tub.  If you do that for a few months then the machine has paid for itself (although I got mine for my birthday a few years ago so it’s even better!)

There is a product comparison on each programme.  This week it was pickle.  Unsurprisingly Branston came top of the chart.  I have tried a number of pickles and have to say that Branston can’t be beaten.  One of the expensive brands in the blind taste test came last so it just goes to show that you can’t judge a product based on what you pay for it.

There is also a teaching element.  This week different sources of protein are being explored to give us an idea of the equivalents that we can have but wouldn’t necessarily think about.  Having a  nut allergy, some of those would be off the menu for me (cashews and peanut butter), but it’s interesting to see the various meats, eggs, fish and pulses that can be used.

I found it surprising that the daughter who’s about to go to university has no cooking skills at all.  How can you reach 18 and never have cooked?  My Mum used to have us in the kitchen all the time.  If we weren’t cooking with her we’d be sitting at the table while she cooked and you pick things up.

The programme also looks at the difference between tinned and chilled soup.  Sales of tinned have gone down but chilled have gone up.  They visit the Crosse & Blackwell factory and I was really surprised how much fresh vegetables went into a can of soup.  There are no preservatives in the tins of soup either.  Given that they can last years I was also surprised by this.  On top of this, some of the tins provide three of your five a day; I didn’t realise that either.  I’ll be thinking about tinned of soup more often to get some vegetables.  The family usually buy chilled soups but their usual soup has been swapped for a tinned soup.  The Mum says categorically that it’s not been switched and it’s chilled soup.  Wrong!

I would happily be a ‘lazy cook’ and have everything prepared but it always surprises me how much quicker I can knock up a pasta in homemade sauce than I can make breaded chicken and chips in the oven.

The lentil Bolognese they make wouldn’t be for me.  Lentils are in the same family as peanuts (and I don’t fancy them) so I steer clear – just in case!!

Liza Tarbuck does a great voiceover on this programme.  She has a nice manner to her and is just right for the programme.

Gregg Wallace thought they could save the family £75 a week, Chris Bavin thought £100 a week.  Given they were spending £300 a week I reckon I could do their shopping and save them £200 a week!!

The family were surprised that some of their favourites that they would never go without were swapped.  It just goes to show that out of the packaging it’s really hard to tell.  Can I admit I’ve done that at home and filled up the Heinz ketchup bottle with own brand?

It also surprises me that the family drink two bottles of wine a week.  Maybe it’s because I’m not a big drinker but it’s not something I’d want to spend £20 on a week.

At the end of the show the swops that the family agree to save them £93 a week.  I still think that spending £200 a week on food is a lot – better than £300 a week but still a lot!

How much do you spend a week on food?  Would £200 a week horrify you?



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