Our Web of the Week is Ocado and, like Annabel, I have always thought home delivery wasn’t for me – too expensive, the wrong substitutions etc etc. But, the more I think about it, the more I am being swayed towards it. It takes me forty minutes to drive to and from my local supermarket (even in my little car that’s probably £8 worth of unleaded) and so I could actually save money by having my food delivered. Also, our local Waitrose is quite small so using Ocado would be like visiting a much larger branch.
To be honest, I have gone off Pesky Tesky a bit lately, what with horse flesh in their burgers (admittedly not an item on my shopping list, but still…) and the fact that you have to be a skilled mathematician to understand their BOGOF cut price offers: yesterday I stood at the chiller cabinet trying to puzzle out whether two small bottles on special offer were actually a better buy than a similarly priced 1.35 litre one – but, hey, my mental arithmetic doesn’t stretch to 1.35 type calculations.
With store layouts designed by neuroscientists and such a bewilderingly huge choice of products, perhaps online shopping is the cheaper option, or perhaps I should say, less expensive. And it would certainly mean an end to lugging bags from the till to the car and from the car to the house.
However, saying that, I do like to go and finger things at the supermarket… you know, cradling an avocado in the palm of my hand to see if it is ripe, pulling out leaves from the top of pineapples, sniffing punnets of raspberries. So here are a few hints and tips about avoiding costly temptation when you are whizzing up and down the aisles.
- Don’t shop when you are hungry
- Plan your meals for the week ahead and write out a shopping list
- Stick to that shopping list!
- Use the self service scanners – they tot up your bill as you go along, so no nasty surprises when you pay.
- Don’t dismiss own brand products, they are often just as good as famous brands
- Buy fresh seasonal produce – Google recipes when you get home
- Avoid BOGOF deals unless you really do want to buy double or treble the amount
- Buying in bulk is not always the cheapest – check out the unit costs on the shelf labels.
- Check out top and bottom shelves for cheaper options – the premium products are always at eye level.
- Have a look at mySupermarket.co.uk – if you like online shopping this might appeal as this comparison website helps you find the best money-saving deals.
And the four little artichokes? Well, I should have been more cautious. Especially as we all know that the less popular items get tucked away on the lowest shelves – no eye level end of aisle splendour for them – but that’s where I found an innocent looking little packet of knobbly Jerusalem artichokes. The trouble with being post-50 is that my memory is very selective and so all I recalled as I popped them in my trolley was that they make the most resoundingly scrummy, deeply nutty tasting soup. It was only after we’d eaten it that I remembered the other thing about them….we might as well have been in Chicago it was so windy in our house! Apparently, they are “top of the pops” in the vegetable kingdom, beating parsnips, Brussel sprouts and cauliflowers. Personally, we thought the soup was so good we were prepared to put up with the popping. If you want to be brave too, why not check out our What’s Cooking section for a truly heavenly Jerusalem Artichoke & Hazelnut Soup recipe. Might be best to eat it on your own though.