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npsmama

Is it possible to live supermarket-free?

I think I am developping an allergy to supermarkets.


Do you think it's possible to live supermarket-free?

I get fruiit and veg either from the garden, veg boxes or the local farm shop.
Cheese, eggs and (most) milk I get from the farm shop too.

One idea I have had is to get sugar/rice/pasta/flour/etc in bulk from Infinity Foods via my local healthfood shop. They're ordering in for me 25kg sacks. It does work out a bit more expensive than the supermarket but it's organic, fair trade and if it means I don't go to the supermarket that will mean less impulse buying so actually I think it evens out price-wise and I get higher quality items with far less stress.
I'm still hesitating but I could do the same with butter (ie buy it in bulk and freeze it).

So it's just things like suet, lard, ribena (which DH can't live without!) that I need to figure out.
2steps

we have a little shop near us that sells almost anything you could want in huge buckets and you just weigh out what you want. they also sell things like canned drinks, packets of buscuits etc cheaper than a lot of places.
Rosa

Yes. I think it's possible to be supermarket free.
Lozzie

http://www.downsizer.net/Projects/The_bigger_picture/Quitting_The_Supermarket_Habit/

(shameless own-drum-banging, I know Rolling Eyes Laughing
hedgewitch

Lozzie wrote:
http://www.downsizer.net/Projects/The_bigger_picture/Quitting_The_Supermarket_Habit/

(shameless own-drum-banging, I know Rolling Eyes Laughing


Well, you should be most qualified person to bang anyone's drum I should think Laughing

I'm getting there on the supermarket front. Am down to toilet rolls (recycled) digestive biscuits (mr hedgewitch's Rolling Eyes ) and tinned pilchards for the dogs Embarassed Everything else is from local shops now, but am lucky that my greengorcer sells Suma stuff too and my butcher does butter and local free-range eggs.
Sarah D

It's not too hard, but you have to put in the research and effort initially to change your shopping habits.

Price is not the only reason to use/not use the supermarkets, so all things have to be considered.

Having said that, it's not for everyone for a lot of reasons to buy in bulk, order on the net, food co-ops, etc.
MrsWW

HW - hope the tinned pilchards don't have any nasty effects on your dogs - ours is bad enough when she's been fed sprouts!

Sorry - totally off thread - I'll leave now.

MrsWW
wellington womble

Takes a bit of getting there, but I rarely use supermarkets now. Our fruit, veg and dairy come from a box scheme (which actually sells everything from knickers to pizza!) meat direct from lcoal farms, flour from the mill (fairly local!) I do buy things like sugar, salt, tinned tomatoes, ribena (thought I was the only one with an OH addicted to that!), dog food and other odds and sods from costco every few months. That might count as a supermarket, but I'm sure they could be bought from Suma. Coffee/tea from oxfam, chcolate from a local chocolatier (OK, not every town has one of those!) bits and pieces from the health food shop. Mum brings me back olive oil from spain (she has trees out there) wine from virgin. Gin from the off liscence. Books from the bookshop (caters for all my needs)

I'm hoping to start cutting the costco stuff down, and grow more of our own veg next year (I have several blackcurrant bushes planned for homemade ribena!)

The only thing I really can't buy anywhere else is tonic water, and bisto (due to a slight marital relations problem, I am not allowed to make real gravy! I'm working on it) or things that we use very occasionally like puff pastry. I guess we don't need those, we just like to have them occasioanlly.
Mrs Fiddlesticks

I have cut down supermarket shopping as far as I can. The only things we now need from there are-

cat food (can't buy in bulk as they're picky eaters and like variety)
things for kids like certain favourite cereals, a particular brand of cheese biscuit, fish fingers and oven chips ( I think it is harder when there are children, they don't eat much of this sort of thing but I have to balance them eating homemade stuff with the odd bit of supermarket stuff to keep them sweet)
baking ingredients I can't get elsewhere like icing sugar or condensed milk or filo pastry. Or things its not worth buying in any sort of bulk like glace cherries.
Loo roll and kitchen towel
It really is odds and sods in total.

We grow veggies, flowers and some fruit
have chickens for eggs
use a big local farm shop for most cheese (annoyingly they don't sell mozzarella which I use lots of), other fruit and veg, fish and some meat
Other meat is bought in bulk from local farm
flour direct from mill
cleaning products from infinity foods and natural collection
Milkman for milk, juice and yogurt
Have had my first Infinity food order and will build up a stock of bulk things like rice and oats etc which will over time reduce the supermarket stuff even more. Some of the things are too expensive to get from there though, like coffee or too big like 25kg sacks of icing sugar which we just wouldn't use.


It has to be a balance of cost, and to be honest storage as well as the ethical considerations.
Edited to add it also depends on what shopping facilities are locally available. We have no real local shops and have to drive to the nearest town to get stuff anyways.
moonwind

Excellent article I hadn't read before Embarassed


The only thing I can think that would make things hard where we live is car parking facilities in respect of buying and then having to carry the shopping to the car because the car parks are quite a distance.

Think this is what makes park and ride schemes difficult too, not that we have any in the area.
Blue Sky

Re: Is it possible to live supermarket-free?

npsmama wrote:
I think I am developping an allergy to supermarkets.


I know what you mean, I hate them.

npsmama wrote:

Do you think it's possible to live supermarket-free?


Unfortunately not for us (having three very young kids). Confused

We cut down on alot of junk when we moved out here (e.g. washable nappies in place of disposables) but we still have to visit now and then for things such as breakfast cereals, cat food, loo roll.
Chez

We're doing okay - it's laziness rather than need that makes us do the occasional 'supermarket run'. I can't think of anything that we use that I can't buy elsewhere. So I'd say that we go three or four times a year, which isn't bad.

It might change if/when get kids though Smile.
hedgewitch

MrsWW wrote:
HW - hope the tinned pilchards don't have any nasty effects on your dogs - ours is bad enough when she's been fed sprouts!

Sorry - totally off thread - I'll leave now.

MrsWW


They don't, to be honest. Tripe is much worse for the after effects Shocked Rolling Eyes Laughing
Mikey's Mummy

Living supermarket-free

Hi all - it's great to read that others share the same frustrations about supermarkets and want to support local independent shops and farms. We are just about to embark on a supermarket-free month to see if wecan truly do it. I've started a blog to record how we get on: http://shoppingwithoutthesupermarket.blogspot.com/ and also to try and spur others on to do the same. Please visit if you have any tips to share Very Happy
Jamanda

I think it's all a matter of where you live really. It's not unusual for us to go months on end without going to a supermarket as we have plenty of good small shops. It's more of a challenge for others where the supermarkets have the whole place stitched up. Where are you? People might be able to help with local suggestions.

Welcome to the site btw. Very Happy
marigold

Good luck - I'd say it's perfectly possible, but you are likely to spend more time shopping, at least to begin with, and you will have to adjust your thinking from "what do we want?" to "what is available?". Don't forget free food sources - check out the foraging articles http://www.downsizer.net/Projects/Finding_food/ .
gz

Another "welcome", Croeso from South East Wales.

Sometimes you can't afford NOT to shop in supermarkets Sad
frewen

Welcome to the site hello2 and yes you can - I didn't set foot in a supermarket for two years, and I had two children under two and only one income for six of us at the time Smile
Eigon

Where I live, there's a lot of local discussion (to put it mildly) about the possibility of a new supermarket moving in.
Some locals did a shopping basket survey, and found that shopping in the local shops was over 7.00 cheaper than shopping in a supermarket - and there was no cost for petrol or bus fare (as there is now) because it can all be done on foot - and you actually get to meet your neighbours!
I do nearly all my shopping in the local shops - a local baker who also plays the accordian for the local morris dancing side, two excellent butchers, one completely organic, two greengrocers, who will also stock produce from local gardens sometimes. For canned goods, milk and so on, there's Londis and Spar - so there's no avoiding that, but I think I went to the Co-op five or six times last year, and Morrisons twice to buy bottled beer!
Chez

Welcome, Eigon.

We went down to Cullompton on Saturday - it had the look of a town dying on it's feet. There was a shiny new Tesco on the outskirts of the town and lots of 'for lease' boards up on the High Street. And the Spar was shut down. It was really depressing and both of us wondered aloud on the way home whether it was the advent of the supermarket that had done it - or at least, driven the nail in.
Mithril

With severe peanut and nut allergies in the family it's very difficult to become supermarket free. We get a veg box, but meat, oils, cheeses etc could easily contain traces, so I really rely on allergy warnings onlabels. That said, the only supermarkets I trust are Waitrose and Sainsbury's (many others either don't differentiate between nuts and peanuts or worse still seem to have frequent product recalls Shocked )
crofter

Re: Is it possible to live supermarket-free?

Do you think it's possible to live supermarket-free?


Yes.

The supermarkets in Shetland have recently had to fly in supplies after a few days of stormy weather and no goods arriving by sea. Oddly, the smaller local shops which maintain more than 1-2 days stock and do not rely on jit delivery did not see much panic buying...
Rob R

With severe peanut and nut allergies in the family it's very difficult to become supermarket free. We get a veg box, but meat, oils, cheeses etc could easily contain traces, so I really rely on allergy warnings onlabels.


Meat & cheese containing nuts? Manufacturered products I can see but plain meat & dairy are usually produced in more highly hygienic dedicated facilities than veg... Confused
Mithril

With severe peanut and nut allergies in the family it's very difficult to become supermarket free. We get a veg box, but meat, oils, cheeses etc could easily contain traces, so I really rely on allergy warnings onlabels.

Meat & cheese containing nuts? Manufacturered products I can see but plain meat & dairy are usually produced in more highly hygienic dedicated facilities than veg... Confused

There seem to be a few speciality cheeses around, with say walnuts, and many butchers use stuffings which may contain nuts or traces of nuts (some sausages too). With such severe allergies, (even a trace can be a problem), I'm never sure how safe they are for allergy sufferers. The thing with the supermarkets is that they will state if the product is free from traces of nuts. Even then, if the nut free product is on the meat, cheese or deli counter with nut products I still daren't buy it, so I end up having to buy the packaged stuff. Sad
Rob R

If a factory handles nuts they usually list non-nut products as possibly containing traces of nuts but I've not heard of nut-free labelling, as that leaves you open to litigation if some nut traces were found to be present at some point. We're advised to label if there is a chance, rather than if there isn't one.

Small scale producers of cheese & meat are less likely than supermarkets to contain traces as they're dealing with smaller batches and hence far less chance of cross contamination. Artisan cheesemakers, as opposed to large factories or cheesemongers, tend to only have a select few speciality cheeses that they produce and rarely blend fruit & nuts the way the big factories do. There are also fewer people involved that could accidentally introduce traces through personal contamination. The sheer scale of mass food production & distribution puts the chances of a foodstuff coming into contact with nuts far higher than buying direct, on a par with the veg box producers.

You're free to choose how and where to buy the safest products for yourself but I wouldn't like it to be put forward as an advantage of supermarkets, for the reasons stated above.
earthyvirgo

Welcome, Eigon.

We went down to Cullompton on Saturday - it had the look of a town dying on it's feet. There was a shiny new Tesco on the outskirts of the town and lots of 'for lease' boards up on the High Street. And the Spar was shut down. It was really depressing and both of us wondered aloud on the way home whether it was the advent of the supermarket that had done it - or at least, driven the nail in.

What a shame - used to be quite a nice little place to visit when I was in Exeter back in the 80's.

EV
Mithril

If a factory handles nuts they usually list non-nut products as possibly containing traces of nuts but I've not heard of nut-free labelling, as that leaves you open to litigation if some nut traces were found to be present at some point. We're advised to label if there is a chance, rather than if there isn't one.

Small scale producers of cheese & meat are less likely than supermarkets to contain traces as they're dealing with smaller batches and hence far less chance of cross contamination. Artisan cheesemakers, as opposed to large factories or cheesemongers, tend to only have a select few speciality cheeses that they produce and rarely blend fruit & nuts the way the big factories do. There are also fewer people involved that could accidentally introduce traces through personal contamination. The sheer scale of mass food production & distribution puts the chances of a foodstuff coming into contact with nuts far higher than buying direct, on a par with the veg box producers.

You're free to choose how and where to buy the safest products for yourself but I wouldn't like it to be put forward as an advantage of supermarkets, for the reasons stated above.

Certainly food for thought, thanks.

Currently, if I know the food producer labels for traces then I'm fine with buying something that just does not list nuts as a potential allergen (unless I spot too many recalls on Allergy UK etc). As for nut free labelling, Waitrose produce a free from nut and peanut list (and also lists for some other allergens). I'm not aware of any others who do this, other than a few chocolate makers, e.g. Kinnerton.
arvo

One thing I have been enjoying though is a a Christmas largely provided by the farmers market. It's one of the *huge* benefits of selling stuff there.
Goose, sausages, cheese, beer, smoked fish, ham, veg. We've had a lovely tasting Christmas Smile. The market does contain nuts though.
toggle

The market does contain nuts though.




erm............


we know, we saw the pictures
Pilgrim1975

we know, we saw the pictures

People post pictures of their nuts..?

Is that only in the Naughty Corner, then?
Treacodactyl

Small scale producers of cheese & meat are less likely than supermarkets to contain traces as they're dealing with smaller batches and hence far less chance of cross contamination. Artisan cheesemakers, as opposed to large factories or cheesemongers, tend to only have a select few speciality cheeses that they produce and rarely blend fruit & nuts the way the big factories do.

While there's plenty of benefits of using local suppliers I wouldn't say labeling and knowledge of ingredients is one of their strongest hands, certainly not at the places I use. We regularly buy cheese and sausages now from two producers and both tend to experiment a fair bit with other ingredients and neither list anything on the packaging.
Rob R

Small scale producers of cheese & meat are less likely than supermarkets to contain traces as they're dealing with smaller batches and hence far less chance of cross contamination. Artisan cheesemakers, as opposed to large factories or cheesemongers, tend to only have a select few speciality cheeses that they produce and rarely blend fruit & nuts the way the big factories do.

While there's plenty of benefits of using local suppliers I wouldn't say labeling and knowledge of ingredients is one of their strongest hands, certainly not at the places I use. We regularly buy cheese and sausages now from two producers and both tend to experiment a fair bit with other ingredients and neither list anything on the packaging.

Sausages are fair game, as there are a few nut sausages out there, but they are manufacturered meat products, I don't think you'd get the same for meat in general. From all the different cheeses I've bought, apart from the blends, I can't think of any nut cheeses.

The whole point of using local producers is supposed to be about food provenance & traceability. I think if you have a producer who can't tell you what has gone into a product then I'd be very wary about using them at all.
Treacodactyl

From all the different cheeses I've bought, apart from the blends, I can't think of any nut cheeses.

The whole point of using local producers is supposed to be about food provenance & traceability. I think if you have a producer who can't tell you what has gone into a product then I'd be very wary about using them at all.

The main cheese producer now makes her cheeses in her kitchen, so technically I expect not guaranteed nut free.

I know provenance and traceability is often touted but we've found it very rare to find. Even suppliers we know personally don't bother to differentiate stuff they grow themselves from stuff they buy in - there doesn't seem to be much demand from people to know.
Pilsbury

Just as bloke off the telly now makes his nut butter in the same space he makes jerky, fruit scrolls and vegan cheeses as well as the rest of his range it would be very very hard to certify stuff nut free for Tue purpose of people with serious allergies and he is one of the best I know at knowing the provenance of his ingredients. Rob R

From all the different cheeses I've bought, apart from the blends, I can't think of any nut cheeses.

The whole point of using local producers is supposed to be about food provenance & traceability. I think if you have a producer who can't tell you what has gone into a product then I'd be very wary about using them at all.

The main cheese producer now makes her cheeses in her kitchen, so technically I expect not guaranteed nut free.

I know provenance and traceability is often touted but we've found it very rare to find. Even suppliers we know personally don't bother to differentiate stuff they grow themselves from stuff they buy in - there doesn't seem to be much demand from people to know.

Perhaps we're talking about different scales of production if you're buying from people producing dairy produce in their kitchen. I didn't know that was even allowed nevermind practical. There's a long way between cottage industries & supermarkets though.
Rob R

Just as bloke off the telly now makes his nut butter in the same space he makes jerky, fruit scrolls and vegan cheeses as well as the rest of his range it would be very very hard to certify stuff nut free for Tue purpose of people with serious allergies and he is one of the best I know at knowing the provenance of his ingredients.

I'd put him in the same category as food manfacturers rather than producers, his provenance would mean he wouldn't tell people it was nut-free or label it as such if he was handling nuts. That's the advantage of small producers - you can usually speak to the very person that handles the food.
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