• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

Eating fresh vs eating processed

BomoLad

Well-known Member
I've always been a fairly lazy cook/shopper. Frozen meals, frozen veg. Basically anything that involves piercing something several times and placing it in a dish and blitzing it in a microwave for 7 minutes (stirring halfway through) is my kinda stuff. With fruit and snacks I'd tend to go for the pre-packaged ones. You know the little boxes of mango, apple and kiwi thing for £2.00 or two for £3.00 that a lot of the supermarkets do.

I found I was spending a LOT on food every week but I'd never buy the premium stuff so could never understand it. This week I decided to buy fresh. Individual apples, oranges and bananas, whole chickens and, more importantly, fresh veg. My food bill fell in HALF, at least, and I've got more actual 'food-food' in, as opposed to crap I can just pick at which goes within a couple of days of purchase.

What surprised me the most was the veg. I got red cabbage, a few carrots, some broccoli and sweetcorn. The economy saving when compared with the frozen veg is notable and there's more variety.

I know I'm saying stuff others have known for years but I don't know why everyone doesn't shop like this. I think I've gone from spending £80 a week on food and other bits and pieces to probably about £25
 

Jules

Distinguished Member
I never buy packed prepared veg as its ridiculous.... A small bag of chopped carrots is about £1.20, when I can buy a whole big bag of carrots for £1 that once I've pealed and chopped them myself would fill about 10 bags of the size of the prepared stuff. Plus it tastes fresher.

I still keep probably 1 or 2 ready meals in for when you simply don't have the time to prepare anything.

The only thing against buying whole chickens and stuff like that is that if you're only cooking for 1 or 2 people alot of it goes to waste and the cost advantage dwindles.
 

blue max

Distinguished Member
Not sure it is quite like for like. For a family it certainly makes more sense, but on your own, possibly not as much in it.

Obviously things like pots of fruit have rather more variety than if you were to buy fresh and only use a small amount of it.

A whole chicken is good value and you can make sandwiches, but it could get monotonous. Freezing is a good option though.

You can be organised, but say buying a cucumber has a certain shelf life. Frozen veg have the advantage of you only using exactly what you need and will wait until you are ready.

So, you possibly have to give it a few months for things to settle down to make an objective comparison. You might find that freezing things or having food days on end goes by the wayside.

I wish you well and hope you can make it work for you.
 

BomoLad

Well-known Member
Well this week it's chicken but only because I didn't want to carry anything else heavy like beef/lamb joint/whole salmon home. I'm working on the premise of half a breast and half leg meat for a portion so technically each chicken should give be three-four meals depending on how greedy I am. Of course once it's cooked the rest will have to be cold (unless reheated thoroughly) but, you know I'm fine with that. I will buy other stuff too, I was going to go for one of the whole salmons they have and freeze it after chopping it up into individual fillets.

With the veg I prepared what I was going to use this week so I got enough for ever meal over the next 5-6 days. I realise that fresh veg doesn't stay completely fresh for ages but if I'm careful I reckon it'll be okay. I doubt if my health will be at risk if the carrots are a day or two beyond their sell by date.

There's of course the stock of food I already have such as rices, pastas, tuna etc which can be used as well but those are things that aren't weekly grocery items as they tend to be sitting in the cupboard for ages.
 

Jules

Distinguished Member
Carrots and potatoes are fine well beyond their sell by date.

carrots sometimes look rank on the outside, but when you peel them they are perfect.

Potatoes start to grow buds, and I've been led to believe that when that happens most of the good stuff is sucked out.
But on the whole as long the potatoe isn't green or black, it's absolutely fine.

I've eaten potatoes 1 month passed their ludicously short sell by date and they have been perfect.

When I was a kid, I remember my folks having a giant sack of potatoes that took weeks and weeks to get through.... Didn't do any of us any harm.
My folks are in their 80s and still pretty healthy.
 

BomoLad

Well-known Member
Yeah it was almost a pre-meal tradition in our house to 'shave the spuds' ready for cooking. :D It's why I chose carrots, because of their durability. And the fact they're ridiculously cheap if you buy them individually.
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
I know I'm saying stuff others have known for years but I don't know why everyone doesn't shop like this. I think I've gone from spending £80 a week on food and other bits and pieces to probably about £25
Well the answer, as always, is time. I would humbly suggest more and more of us are working longer and longer hours. Personally - after 12-14 hours at work, an hour or so in the gym, a 30min phone call home and maybe the same again doing domestic stuff - the last thing I would want to do is chop vegetables.

To hell with the cost - give me the convenience!
 

Wahreo

Distinguished Member
Well worth saving the money where you can.

It means you can afford to spend on the finer things in life like days out, Restaurants, Gifts, Council Tax etc etc.:D
 

pandemic

Well-known Member
I always brought fruit/veg. from the market, fish/meat from the local fish monger and butchers. Then I moved to a small town for work reasons and found the only shops open when I wasn't at work was Tesco and the takeaways, bleeding annoying all the stores shut at 4pm. Ended up feasting on ready cooked meals and takeaways, but I didn't notice much of a difference economically.
 

[email protected]

Well-known Member
We made this switch a few years ago. Like most, we would hit Tesco on a Friday night and spend a small fortune.

When I did the maths by not doing the Friday night Tesco run but instead buying veg from the farm shop, meat from the butcher etc we reduced our annual grocery bill (we are a family of three) by over £2500!!!

But I don't thinks its about what we buy as much as we actually now shop intelligently. Instead of just visiting Tesco and throwing things in a trolly, we are actually thinking about what we buy and eat.

Yes there is less waste, generally we are eating better and healthier and the quality of the food on the table is noticably higher.

Yes we still buy from supermarkets but that's limited to things like bottles drinks and things like cleaning products etc

The savings for us just by thinking about how we shop and not being lazy saves us enough money to pay for a holiday every year. As you are finding, it is worth doing.
 

internetuser

Well-known Member
Frozen veg is fine value, I fact possibly fresher than fresh food, its the pre packed selections that's not good value. Ie carrot, broccoli and coil flower that you wack in micro wave for 7 minutes

Problem with some stuff is you buy a whole coli lflower it will go to waste if its only for one person.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
I'm the same as Bomo, not a natural cook at all but have been doing a bit better recently.
Simple things like having frozen peppers and onions so if I get a decent frozen pizza I can add peppers and onions before putting in the oven and slowly doing a bit more.
A mistake I have made in the past is to try and do too much at once, the small occasional steps are working though.
 

Wahreo

Distinguished Member
My wife spends an absolute fortune on food so I'd like her to start buying a few more bits of fresh produce and planning better but it's very difficult when you don't get involved in the shopping as you spend your life working.

I often look in my fridge and see it jam packed with 'stuff' and wonder why my fridge is always so full yet my customers are nowhere near as full. I'd say a fair bit must get wasted.
 

internetuser

Well-known Member
Slow cooker, batch cooking and freezing are the way forward for single blokes wh waste loads.

I buy fresh packs of all the veg and over a weekend make a few things with decent ingredients then freeze them. Takes 10 min prep. Wack it in slow cooker wait 4 hours and repeat. Then freeze. Each slow cook produces 3/4 portions.
 

BISHI

Distinguished Member
internetuser said:
Slow cooker, batch cooking and freezing are the way forward for single blokes wh waste loads.

I buy fresh packs of all the veg and over a weekend make a few things with decent ingredients then freeze them. Takes 10 min prep. Wack it in slow cooker wait 4 hours and repeat. Then freeze. Each slow cook produces 3/4 portions.

Yup - just done that myself. Cooked a monster amount of stifado ( Greek beef stew) using beef joints I picked up for next to nothing at tescos and sainsburys in the reduced section( hit the shop about 7 pm and the prices get silly. I got £40 worth of prime beef for less than a tenner and popped it in the freezer till I was ready to bulk cook). Slow cooked for a few hours, let it cool down to room temperature as it makes it taste better- then dish it into a load of those polythene takeaway tubs ( I advise saving them up as they make a perfect 2 portion serving), ready to stack in the freezer.
 

blue max

Distinguished Member
My wife and I work from home and shop daily. We are able to take advantage of the reduced items that our local supermarkets sell. You have to be lucky to get the best deals, but there is usually something. It keeps it interesting as you never know what you will find.

We often have fresh stuff. However, if I was making say, a fish pie, it more than likely would cost more than buying one. Add the cost of the fish (always more in a home made-one), mushrooms, potatoes (expensive now), cheese and fresh parsley and you have a lovely meal, but it isn't cheap.

Just adding the fresh parsley usually costs about 80p. You can buy a pre-packed fish pie for a few pounds.

There will be more with home-made, but we have a two-thirds fridge/one-third freezer and it soon gets full.

It just depends on what you are trying to make whether it is cheaper. A big chicken pie is about £3. Can you really make it cheaper? You can make a soup cheaply, but they are cheap to buy too.

Take-advantage of multi-buys. Shop wisely. Add your own veg to bought things if they are good value.

There is a middle ground. Eating completely out of packets or spending your life cooking/freezing/defrosting is not the only choice.

Wasting food is a pet hate of mine. Often I will eat something that no-one else will, just because it will get wasted if I don't. People have never had it so good, but that has made them fussy eaters. There are four of us and we would all want different things. Compromise is always that. Just finding something that we will all eat is a challenge in itself.
 

mjn

Distinguished Member
Made a large prawn curry at the weekend, cost me about £8 to make, fed two of us, then froze the remaining 3 portition into ready meals.

No waste food in our house!
 

Vitalija

Well-known Member
I can't remember the last time I ate processed food. It's not the cost that bothers me, it's the fact that fresh tastes better and I know exactly what's going inside us.
Use by dates on potatoes? That's a new one on me and are there really people out there who throw perfectly good spuds out because the wrong date is on the bag? Remarkable! Likewise people who buy bags of pre chopped carrots, I just don't get it.
 

kopchoir

Banned
We have a 7 month old child so my wife prepares her meals in advance like she did with our eldest. Butternut squash sweet potatoes peopers mangos and a whole host of different fruits and veg.
Its made the whole family eat more fresh produce.
We are also shopping around now and have dramatically cut our food budget by being savvy and just shopping around.
It also helps the fact that the wife will be off work for a year come September, so time is on her side to be able to prepare more meals.
Also started buying meat from butchers but still buy meat from morrisons butcher's.
Fruit and veg over the years has been quite poor from main street supermarkets, we find Aldi by far the best for fruit and veg.
We do Morrisons &Aldi weekly fortnightly Asda and M&S every 3-4 weeks.
My eldest who is 8 took a thermos of home made vegetable soup to school for lunch in the winter months.

It's not about money shopping around has given the wife more freedom to cook prepare more healthy meals and saving a few pounds as well.
But again has the time to do this.
 

Desmo

Distinguished Member
A slow cooker and freezer bags can make a huge difference to how you eat. We don't have a huge amount of spare time but cooking a chilli/stew in the slow cooker and putting it in portions in the freezer means you can reheat and have a good healthy homemade meal in the same time it takes to whack something in the microwave...AND you know exactly what's gone in it.

We'd love to spend more time relaxing but we choose to spend more time in the kitchen. It IS a choice most people have, they just choose the other option :)
 

HouseTonyStark

Well-known Member
Right that tears it, i am going to have to buy a slow cooker and a microwave!

that should tide me through a bit better during the renovation (no actual hob/cooker)
 

BomoLad

Well-known Member
I'm moving in the next month sometime and we only have a portable oven thing. It's a pain in the backside as it only cooks things for an hour and then it assumes, for some reason, you'd wish to stop. It makes slow cooking things impossible
 

Rorifett

Distinguished Member
The only thing against buying whole chickens and stuff like that is that if you're only cooking for 1 or 2 people alot of it goes to waste and the cost advantage dwindles.

Waste not, chicken left overs, strip meat from the bones, boil bones with carrot, onion, celery and some peppercorns and put stock aside in freezer for whenever and put the chicken meat in a stir fry or chicken and egg fried rice. Or put the stripped meat in with the stock and make up some soup, chopped carrot, rice, onion anything really.

Good Food website is quite handy at showing a 'leftover' meal to cook from the tail end of a proper meal.

We've been trying to cut down on waste and make better use of all the stuff we buy, used to probably end up throwing half of the fresh food we bought in the bin and whilst still not great I would say we're probably down to about 15% giver or take.
 

blue max

Distinguished Member
Our fridge is full of bowls of 'stuff' with tinfoil on that gets put in there in the hope it will get eaten. I do tend to use it, but a fair amount just gets chucked anyway.

Fresh food is great and no-one can argue. I'm just saying that it costing less than a third is rather less certain. The cash saving was the original point.

Ratatouille is my personal favourite with our local butchers, Pork, Bacon and Leek sausages with mustard. But I eat far too much!
 

The latest video from AVForums

Guardians of the Galaxy Xmas Special, Strange World, Bones and All, and Cabinet of Dr Caligari in 4K
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom