An Expert Chefs Tips On Outsmarting Grocery Prices From Recent Inflation Hike

In the UK, grocery inflation is hitting a new record high as families face a potential £837 price hike in the annual cost of their regular shopping basket, as reported by Sky News.

According to Nimble Fins, a typical family of four (two adults and two younger children) currently spends around £178 weekly on food, which is £129 on the weekly shop and £49 on restaurant and takeaway meals. Meanwhile, the average weekly food bill for two adults comes to around £102, which is £74 spent on the weekly food shop and £28 spent on eating out.

We spoke with Norah Clark, a former chef with experience working at some of the world’s prestigious hotels and restaurants, from The Ritz Carlton to The Savoy Hotel chef and food commentator.

“When grocery shopping in the UK, couples and families often fall into the same traps repeatedly”, says Norah Clark, “With the recent increase in grocery inflation, families and individuals need to start being smarter with their wallets and grocery basket.”

The former chef explained further, “foods that help save money include rice, pasta, beans, lentils, canned vegetables, frozen fruits, and in-season produce.”

How Norah Clark Saves Up To £95 Per Week On Grocery Shopping

“While living and working in the UK, I noticed the cost of food was increasing every time I visited the supermarket,” explained Norah.

“Thankfully, there are fast and quick ways to cut your weekly food spend drastically; some of the key ones I implemented helped me save up to £95 per week.”

  • I stopped buying takeaway coffees on the way to work in the morning, which saved me, on average, £12 per week.
  • Cutback and eventually went cold turkey on alcoholic drinks, which saved me a huge £20 per week. Wine isn’t cheap in the UK!
  • I learned when the local grocery store reduced stock prices due to expiration. This slashed my overall spending by 50%—roughly £20 per week.
  • Batch cooking meals for each night cut my electricity and food costs. It isn’t easy to calculate exactly, but say £5.
  • Instead of eating out once a week, we decided to only go out once a month which made us appreciate it more when we did go out. Saved at least £25 per week if you split your bill.
  • Started to take advantage of work perks like discounted staff meals.

40+ Ways To Save Money On Food

“As a chef, we were always trained to make food stretch further, so our profitability per dish is fatter. If we could save and stretch our weekly food costs by at least 5%, the kitchen would be x5 more profitable,” says Norah Clark.

“If we apply this same ethos to running a kitchen at home, fewer people would be relying on food banks and worse, starving themselves.”

Finding deals and discounts

  • Become a mystery diner for free meals at restaurants.
  • Sign up for freebies and follow food brands, cafes, and restaurants on social media for promotions.
  • Use cashback apps for supermarket shopping.
  • Take advantage of new customer discounts with online grocery delivery services and same-day food apps.
  • Shop at Co-op and other supermarkets offering student discounts.
  • Use coupons from newspapers, magazines, and online sites.
  • Sign up for weekly deals newsletters and follow deal-focused social media pages.
  • Downshift to value brands using a supermarket brand downgrading guide.
  • Use price comparison apps or websites to find the best deals on groceries and household items at various stores.

Shopping smart

  • Many grocery stores offer exclusive deals and discounts through their apps and loyalty programs. Be sure to take advantage of these offers.
  • Give store-brand items a try, as they often offer similar quality to name-brand items at a lower cost.
  • Shop at budget supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl.
  • Keep an eye on sales and discounts, then plan your meals around these deals. Stock up on non-perishable items when they’re on sale.
  • Buy in bulk when it makes sense, especially for non-perishable items.
  • Shop seasonally for cheaper produce.
  • Explore ‘world’ or ‘ethnic’ sections in supermarkets for better prices on staples like rice.
  • Never go to the supermarket when you’re hungry, and stick to a shopping list.
  • Purchase spices in bulk or from ethnic markets, where they are often cheaper and available in larger quantities.
  • Do a stock take before shopping and plan meals accordingly.
  • Become a ‘Whoops Warrior’ by buying discounted food close to its sell-by date – they are usually heavily discounted.
  • Dedicate time each week to prepare meals in bulk, then store them in the refrigerator or freezer for convenient, cost-effective meals throughout the week.
  • Use a cashback credit card that offers rewards for grocery purchases, and pay it off in full each month to avoid interest charges.
  • Cutback on the amount of alcohol you purchase! The average UK household spends £17.60 per week on alcoholic drinks.

Reducing waste and making food last

  • Make use of your freezer and learn which items are freezable.
  • Use storage tricks to extend food’s shelf life.
  • Regrow food from roots and scraps.
  • Rather than throwing away stale bread, repurpose it for croutons, bread pudding, or breadcrumbs. Overripe fruits can be used in smoothies or baked goods.
  • Return substandard food by knowing your consumer rights.
  • Brew your own beer at home if you want to cut back on alcohol purchases at your grocery store.
  • Repurpose leftovers into new meals, such as turning leftover veggies into a stir-fry or a frittata.
  • Learn to can, pickle, or dry fruits and vegetables to extend their shelf life and reduce food waste.
  • Invest in airtight storage containers to keep dry goods fresh and free from pests, extending their shelf life.

Cooking and meal planning

  • Grow your own food in your garden. Participate in a local community garden or food co-op to access affordable, fresh produce.
  • Cook larger portions and share with friends or neighbours, splitting the cost of ingredients.
  • Plan meals for the week and use the freezer when necessary.
  • Purchase produce at local farmer’s markets or farm stands, which can offer better prices and fresher items.
  • Plan your meals around the items you already have in your pantry and the sales of the week to save money and reduce waste.
  • Buy meat in larger cuts and make it last.
  • Avoid pre-cut or pre-packaged produce, which often costs more. Opt for whole fruits and vegetables and cut them yourself.
  • Learn to cook budget recipes and follow student cooking tips.
  • Invest in a slow cooker for tender, inexpensive meals.
  • Get a part-time job at a cafe or restaurant that offers staff meals and leftovers.

Eating out and socializing

  • Eat out on your birthday for free meals.
  • Invest in food containers for packed lunches and avoid buying lunch on campus.
  • Maximize all-you-can-eat buffets.
  • Ask for a doggy bag at restaurants for leftovers.

If you are a student or have housemates

  • Cook together and take turns washing up.
  • Chip in for basics and bulk buys.
  • Host ‘bring a plate’ parties and enjoy leftovers for the week.
  • Try a tighter food budget for a week to see if you can maintain a balanced diet and decent standard of living.
  • Organize a food swap with friends or neighbours to trade items you have in excess or don’t need for something you do.
  • Shop at wholesalers like Costco and share the cost with housemates.

Lifestyle changes

  • Never pay for plastic bags; use reusable bags instead.
  • Stop spending money on daily luxuries like coffee; the average consumer can save up to £10 per week.
  • Use loyalty cards for discounts and freebies.
  • Recreate your favourite restaurant meals at home with budget-friendly recipes or recipe boxes.
  • Have frugal days to balance days of eating out or spending on entertainment.
  • Incorporate more plant-based protein sources, such as beans, lentils, and tofu, which are generally less expensive than meat.

Statistics & Sources

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David Ryckman

David Ryckman

David is an editor and PR officer for YummyTasteFood. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in Commerce and London University with a degree in Business. He specializes in topics based on economics and food research from his degrees.

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