Reflections on the food prices poll results

The food prices poll has just concluded, and the results show that 43% of the people who votes are 'very concerned' and 45% are 'a little concerned' about rising food prices. That is quite a lot indeed.

I've been thinking of ways in which our household food budget can go on a diet. Given that we are rather passionate about good food around here, there are compromises we are not willing to make. But there are lots we can do without feeling like we are depriving ourselves too.

  • Eat out less. This is an easy one really, because I feel that we can eat better food at home both taste wise and health wise. So no more eating out for eating out's sake. We don't want to give up going to really good restaurants, but we'll put them in the "entertainment" column, not within the "food" column.
  • Stop impulse buying those tempting 'gourmet' treats. This is a bit more difficult for me - I find it hard to resist that jar of extra special preserves or mustard, not to mention all those delcious looking cheeses and hams and such that are on offer at speciality markets. I feel rather guilty when looking at all those barely opened jars in the fridge though.
  • Don't buy prepackaged supermarket foods. This is also easy - most premade food is less than stellar.
  • Buy food that is as close to its original form as possible. The most food is processed, the more it costs. A box of cereal costs far more than plain oatmeal. Flavored rice mixes are way more expensive than plain rice.
  • Less meat and fish, more vegetarian proteins. I don't want to compromise on the quality of the meat we get (for instance, we like to get Poulet de Bresse or at least a St. Sever quality chicken for roasting, which is about twice the price of a regular chicken), but I'm happy with eating less of it and using more vegetable proteins like beans.
  • Buy only what we really need. This is the most important thing - too often I buy too many vegetables or something, and some of it ends up going bad and getting thrown out.

What things can you think of doing, or are doing already, to painlessly cut down on food spending?

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