Friday, June 14, 2013

A Shopping Trip

Today I had a different experience whilst doing our regular weekly grocery shop.
I wasn't alone.
Its nice to have some social time at the end of a week working at home!
No, I wasn't shopping with a friend or family member!
I was shopping with someone who works for Woolworths & was getting some customer feedback!
Although there are a few products that I particularly like at other grocery stores, I do prefer to shop at Woolworths and so most weeks I drive that little bit further out of my way to shop there (and no I wasn't paid by Woolies to say that!).

I never knew it could be so fun to explain what you buy & why, what you like about a shop & what you'd improve!

After explaining my preferences to this ever so tolerant man (believe me I did a LOT of talking!) I thought it might be a fun blog post... something a bit different!

Our grocery shopping is not always the same week in and week out. I tend to buy certain foods when they are on special & 'stock up'. I largely stick to a shopping list & I check what we already have at home prior to shopping in order to not over-buy too much.
I have our budget for shopping & I try to keep within those limits.
I aim for each weeks grocery bill to be under $150 for our family.

So here's what ended up in our trolley this week:
Freezer section
I couldn't live without frozen spinach. It makes its way into many of our family meals. I find that some brands of chopped spinach are in tiny little pieces and I don't particularly like that. So Homebrand gets my tick of approval for its pieces that are cut into strips rather than little tiny flakes! We regularly make red lentil sauce for dinner served over potatoes or pasta. Its my husband's favourite meal actually - only now we also add frozen corn to the recipe & often use frozen spinach in place of fresh.
Frozen broad beans - so wonderful, so versatile. They make great dips & are also a fantastic addition to meals. I love using them in my Asian lunch salad.
Bakery items
Pita bread makes for great pizza bases. My daughter loves these flavoured wraps for lunch. And our home in not complete without a loaf of bread for the week. We don't eat a lot of bread - about one loaf a week, but I do like it to be a nice bread, and always wholemeal of course!
Cold section
I don't buy a lot of products from the cold section but I never leave without milk. When we were shopping I was asked if I am brand loyal and at the time I couldn't think of any brands that I am loyal to. However driving home I realised that yes I am brand loyal - to Vitasoy :-) Its the only type of plant milk that I'll buy.
I also buy tofu regularly. I love to make tofu nuggets with the organic firm tofu shown. It really holds its shape well. And soft tofu makes a lovely mousse.
I also reallllllllllllllllllllllllly love the new range of Macro Vegetarian products. They have such a wonderful variety of tofu available and as all vego's will know, not all tofu is the same! For an occasional treat I enjoy their new burgers, sausages and meatless balls too. I have tried many of the flavours available and so far LOVE them all.
Canned goods
We use quite a lot of canned food - particularly legumes. I love that Woolworths Select beans come in a "No Added Salt" variety. And also they don't add their own flavour (tomato paste etc) which is a big issue for me because I like to add my own flavours when cooking with legumes.
Sauces and other
We regularly use passata and tomato paste. We use red lentils every week without fail. I love that they don't need to be soaked prior to cooking. 
Cinnamon is added to most bowl of oats & cookies
St. Dalfour is the only variety of jam that I'll buy because it is sweetened only with grape juice concentrate. Yep another product I'm brand loyal to! 
These Heinz beans are a new product. I usually prefer to make my own sauces/flavours to accompany beans but I'm also a big fan of trying new products at least once! We regularly have mexican meals in our home so I'm looking forward to trying this bag of mexican beans.
Baking and other
Oats for breakfast mean we go through quite a lot of them. They also regularly end up in our baked goods. Talking of baked goods, wholemeal flour ends up in our trolley every week! And every week that these Macro Raw Food Bars are on special they end up in our trolley too!!! 
My daughter makes random comments that everyone takes packaged food to school except her so she gets an occasional treat of muesli bars or rice crackers when she isn't enjoying treats from the kids lunchbox club section!
And today I also bought some containers that are clear because my husband commented just last week that when leftovers are put into containers that aren't see through he never knows they are in the fridge!!!
Produce - last but not least!
I don't have an issue buying produce from regular grocery stores. However, I will not buy produce that comes from overseas EVER. I always make sure that what I'm buying comes from Australia. I buy some produce organic and other things not. I like the idea of the dirty dozen/clean fifteen list however I can't always find everything organic that I would like to. I have however made a regular habit of vinegar washing our produce.    
The produce I bought today is smaller than I usually buy, however I was mindful of what was not consumed last week that is still in the fridge! No use over buying items that will not keep! I always buy lots of bananas to make sure we have enough not only for snacking but also for ice-cream and baking with.

Today's total came to $137.
That's a fairly big shop for us. Most weeks we're under $120 with some weeks not even making it over $100. But I'm pleased that I was still under our limit!
Don't get me wrong - I'm not against spending money on quality food, and in particular some items - but largely speaking I don't think the cost of good food is a lot. I just know that if I'm coming close to our limit then I have purchased an oversupply for the week and that is not necessary.
So to be honest when I hear people comment on how expensive groceries are these days - I really can't relate! 

And don't forget to take your green bags when you shop too! 
I recently purchased an "Animals Australia Make It Possible" one.

Items that didn't make it into this week's trolley but that I buy as needed:
--> Dates (both medjool and dried) - my favourite food and as such I have a BIG tub in the fridge!
--> Brown rice - currently still working our way through a 5kg bag
--> Wholemeal pasta - I buy a few packets when its on special
--> Other grains - quinoa, couscous, barley, polenta
--> Spelt flour, oat bran, baking soda, coconut & other baking goods
--> Nuts, seeds, nuts spreads & dried fruit
--> Tomato sauce, salsa, herbs & spices, vinegars (for cleaning as well as eating)
--> Frozen berries (anyone know where you can source Australian ones???) and other frozen vegetables

Questions of the day:
Do you have a particular store that you prefer to shop at?
Does your grocery list vary from week to week or look relatively the same?
Do you feel like groceries are expensive these days?
Have you tried any new products lately that you really enjoyed?


  1. This was a really interesting post; I enjoyed it! :)
    I'm like you - I prefer to shop at Woolies. And I also love their Macro brand! Lately our shopping has been all over the place (ie. not consistent) because I'm in the process of eliminating some foods from our diet and introducing a range of new foods. My largest lists at the moment are usually dairy and vegetables (sometimes meat, depending on how our frozen supplies are going). I usually buy rice and grains like oats and flour in as much bulk as possible so I don't have to buy it very often. I only buy two canned items, as I prefer to buy foods in glass (like passata and tomato paste, honey, etc) or fresh/frozen. I don't buy many bread products at all - only on rare occasions, because I prefer to make our own from scratch.
    Our grocery bill has gone up a little more recently because we're buying more organics, however even with that, I buy bulk when things are on special, and that helps a lot, and the food we're buying is good nutritional food, not processed or junk food.
    I have tried some new products lately - malt extract which is really yummy (cutting out milo and aktavite because of the sugar they contain, making our own malted chocolate milk instead), spelt flour - love this flour!, and Woolies roasted almonds (these taste SO much better than other almonds, and they are from Australia!).
    BTW - I'm with you regarding buying Australian produce and products. We rarely buy anything international, and if we do, we're very careful to check it out first and only buy from select countries... or else go without the product if we can't get it from the locations we prefer - very picky!!

    1. Thanks for your input! Glad you enjoyed reading this!!!
      Yes I hear you re loving Macro brand! I love everything I've tried from their range so far! I really do feel like there is a 'gap' forming in the grocery stores - from cheap/inexpensive to quality. I feel like Macro makes quality and not too expensive either - quite reasonably prices!
      Have you tried brown rice syrup too for sweetening? I use it frequently.
      I love seeing pictures of all your bread products! You're very good at making them! :-)

  2. My food bill is out of control but that's probably because of the teenagers and all the extras they bring home with them and the entertaining I do. Extras really make it blow out xx

    1. Oh yes I've heard about teenagers adding to the food bill quite a bit - I'm a few years away from that just yet ;-)

  3. You must have been a really interesting person to be part of this research as you are vegan.

    As for us (2 adults) we don't eat processed foods however I do buy organic rice, pasta, tinned tomatoes, passata, tomato paste, frozen peas and tinned salmon. And that is about all when it comes to things in packets. I try and buy most of these items in the Woolworth's Macro brand if I can. I buy tomato sauce from Coles as I really like their organic one.

    I have a box of fruit and veg delivered to my door every fortnight and this has been great as I am finding it is lasting as it comes straight from the markets to my door (no hanging about in supermarkets).

    We also eat meat and that is usually free range or organic and I buy what I want from various locations - local butcher, Aldi, Woolies.

    I buy eggs, but fussy about them, they need to be free range, happy and allow to wander around in paddocks with lots of space - happy to pay for these.

    We are also expensive cheese eaters and quite happy to spend a more dollars on better quality cheeses. Likewise with bread - I like really nice bread from the bakery. With just the two of us I am more than happy to spend more on quality as we no longer buy processed foods/takeaways. To be honest though, even with these more expensive items, our food bills isn't huge compared to others as I think processed meals are very expensive.

    1. Thanks for sharing - I love reading about what others buy.
      Re your comment with cheese - that's exactly my point sometimes good things do cost more and its worth it.