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nats

Where should I get ******** if not in the supermarket??

OK So the idea is this. Some of us want to stop using supermarkets, but feel we have no choice for time and price reasons. Assuming we all know that we can grow our own veg or get a box scheme, we need ideas for where to source other things that will be easy and won't break the bank. For me it is:

Tinned tomatoes (please don't ask me to grow them..... long story!) - we use LOADS of these all during the year, and organic ones from wholefood shops are about 4 times the price of not-the-bottom-end ones at the supermarket!

Flour - assuming where you live has an impact, but somewhere good on line would be really good. Again, I've only found expensive places though I haven't looked recently

Specialist flours like Rye, mixed grain etc.

Dried fruit nuts and seeds (some times I get to the outlet centre and get them at Julian Graves but other than that or order from Goodness direct but don't know if that's the best value)

Cereals - weetabix, bran flakes etc rather than oats as the children don't like porridge or muesli, and I like a change occasionally

Sugar - pref fair trade - at least Sainsbu**ers own brand is now!

Coffee and tea - def fair trade

Spices, curry pastes, etc - is the local Indian place really the best??

Oils - again I go to the local Indian place, but I don't often get in to town and parking there is a nightmare

Loo roll, kitchen towel, bin bags, etc

I'm sure I'll think of others, but with the economy like it is at the moment I can't splash out but I'd REALLY like to cut down my reliance on Sainsbury's.

I've got this feeling I'm not the only one with this dilema, and that others are ahead of me in solving it....

Local options welcome though I suspect that local deliveries will be most useful - both of us work full time.
nats

PS Where can I get Rye flour easily in Swindon?? Sainsbury's appear to have stopped stocking it, tried Swindon Pulse and they were shut on Sat even though it was within their opening hours and they are also SOOOOOOOOO expensive......
Chez

Someone ... I think Mrs F? does a regular order from a co-operative for bulk buys ... I'm sure she'll be along in a minute.

We do very well, as we have a fantastic shop locally that sells virtually all the things you have listed plus organic/local fruit and veg, at a very reasonable price.
jema

Swindon pulse is scary in price Surprised

Parking is not that bad in the Broad st area, which is where we get most of our dried bits and bobs.
nats

jema wrote:
Swindon pulse is scary in price Surprised

Parking is not that bad in the Broad st area, which is where we get most of our dried bits and bobs.


Where do you park?? I got stung with a ticket last time - didn't realise the side streets opp the cash and carry on Manchester Rd was 5 mins....! Embarassed
jema

They are 5 mins, but you do a get a bit of leeway and diving round those stores only takes me 5 minutes anyway.
I generally go to the one opposite the Italian newsagents.
nats

Ah I had a toddler with me...! And because I don't get there much I spent loads of time looking for things. Apparently they've tightened up recently as I've always parked there and never had a ticket before. Ah well, next time I'll get hubby to drop me off on the way to something and then pick me up on the way back I think.
Bugs

Re: Where should I get ******** if not in the supermarket??

Leaving aside the "supermarkets are the source of all evil and thou shalt beat yourself with sustainably harvested hazel twigs dipped in home made vinegar every time you so much as think "hmmm that Jamie Oliver recipe doesn't look too bad"...

I want to shop as efficiently as possible partly because I hate shopping in general really, which is one of several reasons we use Suma for all of the things you list above. There are a few articles and threads on here somewhere about prices and practicalities of using a wholesaler,perhaps someone who knows their way about will dig them up. I work full time too. and either arrange to coincide a delivery with a day off, arrange with "our" driver (his number is in my mobile Embarassed) to stop by on his way back at about 6am, or have it delivered to my work, sharing an order with a colleague, who then wedges my 25kg sack of flour, vats of oil and apocalypse-beating quantities of coffee and chocolate among his beer, nappies and washing liquid and gives me a lift home.

The other main change we have had to make is to storage, like keeping some of the dry goods in our bedroom.

Quote:
Tinned tomatoes (please don't ask me to grow them..... long story!) - we use LOADS of these all during the year, and organic ones from wholefood shops are about 4 times the price of not-the-bottom-end ones at the supermarket!


Something I worked out specifically was that buying 6x 2.5kg tins of very good tinned toms (organic I think, but the "juice" was thick like passata and not the light pink water which many value and even premium types swim in) worked out at the equivalent, I think, of 50p a tin - and we could use every bit of it without having to reduce it on the stove. Tesco's online price check suggested this compared quite well with their own and a medium-premium brand too.

Quote:
Flour - assuming where you live has an impact, but somewhere good on line would be really good. Again, I've only found expensive places though I haven't looked recently...Specialist flours like Rye, mixed grain etc.


I don't use them any more because of delivery problems but Wessex Mills (or Clarkes - Google them or search the forum here) are extremely reasonable, deliver for free over a certain quantity, and have a very wide range, you can buy eg several x 1.5kg of speciality flours and then perhaps top up with 10kg of strong white.

Edited to specify that the delivery problems with Wessex Mill/Clarkes were due to delivery problems in the area and not the company themselves, who I have always found excellent, both in product quality and customer service.
Jamanda

I went for option three, but I only ever go to the little Co-op and Somerfield's in town. Never to one of those great big hangar type affairs.
dpack

re spices i must have a chat with mr gohar Wink
frewen

I buy all those things in bulk from Rainbow wholefoods - I set up a "buying group/food group" but there is no reason why you can't approach any wholefood wholesaler (Suma and Infinity spring to mind) and tell them what you are trying to do and ask them for an account.

It was Bugs that first got me thinking about it after I read what she had done with Suma, but sadly they wouldn't consider me because they felt that there were wholefood retailers (that they supplied) close enough to my postcode.

Rainbow are very reasonable though - the minimum delivered order is 200 and I can't split cases (fair enough really).

If I want to collect from Norwich (which I don't becasue it's far too far and I have two toddlers in tow) I only have to spend 50! Very Happy
nats

Frewen wrote:


It was Bugs that first got me thinking about it after I read what she had done with Suma, but sadly they wouldn't consider me because they felt that there were wholefood retailers (that they supplied) close enough to my postcode.


That's what worries me about Suma - they supply the scary Swindon Pulse....
Mrs Fiddlesticks

We've been using Infinity for a couple of years now for just the sort of things you list. Like Frewen we were inspired by Bugs using Suma and actually by Brigit Stawbridge on the original series of INEBG

Storage wise we use the garage which is an intergral one to the house. I've just got racks in there and an old kitchen cupboard.

I think using Infinity saves me time in that I'm not spending a morning a week food shopping - the nearest town is a 20 mins drive in any direction. I also think it saves me money because I don't get tempted by 3 for 2 or bogofs or other such nonsense. I've got a good solid storecupboard

I think as an added bonus it reduces my rubbish (any one else find that?) since there might be one big bag full of 5kg of rice to reuse or recycle rather than about 10 of standard supermarket bags of rice.

The minimum order for where we live is 300 but I last placed an order in late November and don't anticipate needing another one until about the beginning of March
Mrs Fiddlesticks

Re: Where should I get ******** if not in the supermarket??

Bugs wrote:


I don't use them any more because of delivery problems but Wessex Mills (or Clarkes - Google them or search the forum here) are extremely reasonable, deliver for free over a certain quantity, and have a very wide range, you can buy eg several x 1.5kg of speciality flours and then perhaps top up with 10kg of strong white.

Edited to specify that the delivery problems with Wessex Mill/Clarkes were due to delivery problems in the area and not the company themselves, who I have always found excellent, both in product quality and customer service.


Nats am I right thinking you're in Swindon? Wessex are based in Wantage so you could go and see them!

http://www.wessexmill.co.uk/
gil

Some dried fruit, nuts and seeds can be found in some of the larger Asian grocers/supermarkets. Ditto some flours, although you might end up making different breads.
Penny Outskirts

Shipton Mill are not that far away either.

I've thought so often about using Suma. They will supply me as I'm far enough out of town.

I must look at them again. Perhaps we South Glos/Wilts persons could think again about a bulk buy?
lettucewoman

y'see, there are two reasons why we cant buy in bulk...one is that we rarely have 2/300 to spend in one lump...at the moment we are living on 80 a week and the business bank account is just about coping with the utilities bills and DD's...

....and the other is that we live in a park home, and there really isn't anywhere to store anything, much less large bags of flour, rice etc...

So bang goes that idea Sad
AnnaD

We rarely need to go to a supermarket because we can get pretty much everything we need from http://damhead.co.uk/ There is the odd occasion where we'll forget to order something or there is a really good offer at the supermarket, but generally we do our best to avoid them.
wellington womble

We used to have the most fantastic organic box scheme that sold everything that I could ever need (except, for some reason tonic water and yeast) Sadly, the owners retired and the business shut down (they claim it's only coincidence when we moved to a mile away from their base.

Now I use a much newer box scheme, which is not so focused on organic, but more interested in ethical and local. This is great, but not so comprehensive. I think they deserve support, though, or they won't get bigger. I always email and tell them I want something if they don't stock it, otherwise how are they to know what's in demand?!

I buy household goods, dried and tinned goods from costco (which is just another kind of supermarket, really) but fairly reasonable for most stuff, meat in bulk from local farms and the box scheme have taken over all the weekly stuff, like local milk, cheese, chicken, veg, eggs and bacon - stuff that would be a real pain to schlepp round individual farms each week, or to a different farmers market each week, which are 25 miles from work, and always on week days! Flour comes from Wessex (who are brilliant) I'm fortunate to have some flexibility in my day (I work partly in the community) and can usually arrange to call into a small town for bits and pieces like batteries, a clothes brush, firelighters, frozen chips and kidney beans (the current list, in case you think we live on kidney beans and ships) the key is to be organised and not run out, otherwise you will need to make special trips for things and end up in the supermarket because it's open and you can park fast.

we're good for storage these days, but in our last house various trays of tins lived under the bed, flour in the spare room, lightbulbs in the porch and various bits and pieces in the space around the bath!

If you don't count costco (and I really must find a proper wholefood wholesaler - what should I look in yellow pages for, d'you suppose?) then I can't think of much I do go to supermakets for these days. Budgens is our local one, and is quite good, so I generally go there for sausage casserole mix (himself's favourite) local lamb (to support demand for it) and anything special or seasonal like seville oranges or christmas cake ingridients. Waitrose for lazy chilli (can never seem to grow enough) and fever tree tonic (tonic again!)
Helen_A

As you are in 'the west' the people you could talk to wrt big ordering are Essential Trading in Bristol ( www.essential-trading.coop ). Similar to Rainbow (but been around a lot longer) and used to dealing with buying groups and the like (although they technically only sell to trade, but a lot of people selling through Country Markets and the like accross the west country use them as well and they also supply http://www.keynshamfood.coop.datacomms.biz/ which is the sort of thing you could look into for your area), plus they too have a smaller order if you are going to cash and carry it.


They are very nice Smile
Mrs Fiddlesticks

lettucewoman wrote:
y'see, there are two reasons why we cant buy in bulk...one is that we rarely have 2/300 to spend in one lump...at the moment we are living on 80 a week and the business bank account is just about coping with the utilities bills and DD's...

....and the other is that we live in a park home, and there really isn't anywhere to store anything, much less large bags of flour, rice etc...

So bang goes that idea Sad


if you could buy just a few things in bulk it would in the long run save you money I'm sure.

Space wise a 5kg bag of rice or oats is about the size of a cushion so will easily tuck under a spare bed. A 10kg bag of flour is pillow sized at a guess- it fits quite well in to one of those plastic storage crates (which keeps the mess to a minimum).

Bugs and WW are right about being able to tuck things in odd corners like cans of oil or loo roll.

I'd not write off bulk buying as a whole as splitting an order with someone else to get around the minimum order quantity and so that you're not overwhelmed with stuff to find space for, mightstill be an option
nats

Does anyone know if Suma or Infinity will supply people living in Swindon itself??
Mrs Fiddlesticks

nats wrote:
Does anyone know if Suma or Infinity will supply people living in Swindon itself??


you'd have to ask them. You might be out of Infinity's area - I think I'm just about on the edge but do ask
Brownbear

Find your local Indian/Pakistani run food shop. If they haven't got it they'll get it.

Also a great place for fags, lottery cards, industrial cider (makes great paint stripper) and really rubbish girlie mags full of old photos taken in the 1970s.
lorna

Were do you live are there no other shops besides sainsburys?
I live ina town so its easy for me to shop around but i do prefer the little shops to the supermarkets,theres a deli world just opened up and he sells large packets of spices for indian and chinese food and alot cheaper than the market in the high street,have you anywere like this? lorna. Confused
Effie

lettucewoman wrote:
y'see, there are two reasons why we cant buy in bulk...one is that we rarely have 2/300 to spend in one lump...at the moment we are living on 80 a week and the business bank account is just about coping with the utilities bills and DD's...

....and the other is that we live in a park home, and there really isn't anywhere to store anything, much less large bags of flour, rice etc...

So bang goes that idea Sad


I don't think you're that far from me are you? I shall be moving from the teeny flat to an actual house. Not having looked *in* it yet, I don't know the inner dimensions but there is a large cupboard in the porch which shrieks to me as potential flour/rice/tin store. I need to do a large order of stuff when I move as I've deliberately run down stocks of everything. If you want portions of sack/packs of stuff let me know and you can just take a managable amount of my larger ones. I'm sure it'd still work out cheaper than buying things in smaller sizes?
ninat

We have this.
http://www.highlandwholefoods.co.uk/index.asp?pageid=86083
Their own band cereal is fantastic. I haven't been that often but I need to go and check them out again.
Silas

You're all bleedin' mad.

Supermarkets are great!
frewen

Laughing Oh you are a card!
AnnaC

I love Wessex Mills flour (and am lucky to live a 10 minute drive from Wantage), I just wish that they're mill shop was open on a Saturday. I can only buy flour there when my mum comes down to see me, as I send her there while I'm stuck at work. It is also sold in some of the local deli's but at quite a mark up.

I do miss the variety of goods I could easily get my hands on in Edinburgh (particularly spices), but at the same time we're spoiled for local produce around here in West Berkshire.

I do feel that the farmer's market here could be bigger considering the local population, but then this area is also served by a variety of planet-sized supermarkets.

So yes...Wessex Mill flour....makes for tasty bread. I made a beautiful apple and cinnamon loaf from their flour. I sulked for days as my dog also agreed that it was good and ate the lot when my back was turned.
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