Cutting Cost on Food

Published Wednesday, 30 January 2013
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On the last week of the Consumer Council's New Year Diet that will gain you pounds, we are encouraging consumers to make one final change: save money on your food bills.

Rising food prices are a worry for 9 in 10 Northern Ireland consumers and, as a result of rising food costs, 82% of consumers say they've made changes to how they shop, cook and eat. The majority of consumers (96%) have noticed an increase in food prices over the last twelve months with 64% saying they thought food was much more expensive. The Consumer Council wants to help you make food shopping more manageable.

We hope that through following our 4 week campaign; taking stock of personal finances, saving on energy bills, reviewing your transport options and this week cutting costs on food bills, that you have been able to gain pounds to your personal finances.

Here are some practical steps you can take to save money:

1. Plan meals and make a shopping list
Nearly a third of us are now planning meals more carefully to avoid waste. However, we still lag behind England, Scotland and Wales when it comes to planning meals in advance.

2. Use up leftovers
Whilst we could do better at meal planning, Northern Ireland comes top compared to other UK regions for using up leftover food. However, if you're stuck with a few random ingredients, pay a visit to the Northern Ireland Love Food Hate Waste website for some great recipe and storage ideas http://ni.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

3. Watch your waste
Even if we're better at using up leftovers, the average household throws out an average of £680 pounds worth of food, unnecessarily, every year. Part of the problem stems from consumer confusion about 'Best Before' and 'Use By' dates. 1 in 3 of us believes these messages mean the same thing. However, expert advice from Safefood is "to treat 'Best Before' as a guideline and 'Use By' as a deadline".

4. Take stock
It might be January but an early spring-clean of your cupboards, fridge and freezer could provide the perfect chance to do a stock take of the food you already have. It will also help make space for new items, especially if you tend to split and freeze family-size packs or cook in batches to save time and money.

5. Deal or no deal?
Don't get carried away by special offers. Whilst 43% of NI consumers said they specifically keep an eye out for the Buy-One-Get-One-Free type deals, only 29% believe these help keep the cost of shopping down. Rather than be sucked in by bright banners and shelf labelling that shouts 'special offer', ask yourself if it's really a good deal and whether you want or will use the item?

© UTV News
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Consumer Council
Consumer Council

The Consumer Council is an independent consumer organisation, working to bring about change to benefit Northern Ireland's consumers.

They aim to make consumer voices heard and make them count.

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