At the beginning of 2021 we ‘quit’ the supermarket. Dramatic as this may sound, it’s actually been a fairly straightforward transition and we (the supermarket and I) seem to have simply drifted apart.
Here’s how we’ve done it so far, it’s always evolving:Firstly, the majority of our staple foods, household and cosmetic products already come from Scoop & Scales, Macclesfield’s Zero Waste Shop who stock a brilliant range of plastic free/ethical goods. Refilling my containers has saved not only a huge volume of packaging but money as well, turns out it’s a myth that this sort of shop has to be more expensive than the alternative.
Fruit and veg has been covered courtesy of a weekly box and when we’ve needed extras a trip to the farm shop on the Poynton road has given us everything we need.
For milk, we’ve had a long-standing regular delivery from Smith’s Dairy. I’ve also just discovered Hopewell Farm who deliver delicious oat milk in returnable glass bottles.
So, what else needed to change?Bread: I sourced a pre-loved bread machine and now make a loaf each night. I’m no domestic goddess here – it literally takes 1 minute to bung in the flour, water, salt and it’s (a bit too) delicious, plus no more additives, preservatives, bags. The kids complained about the lack of crumpets – I found a fool proof recipe and they are now a (genuinely easy) treat.
It’s still early days and this shift has admittedly taken more thought, more organizing, more SOS to friends for a spare onion or a cup of frozen peas and some undignified begging to our small corner shop on the essential need for their stocking of marmite. It has also involved a little compromise and some frustration at things we now can’t easily/cheaply get, but actually not as much as I thought. I think it has genuinely been good for us to take a step back from the unsustainable ‘immediacy culture’ that supermarkets seem to encourage and the waste and excess that can go hand in hand with the ‘buy one get one free’ culture, of which I was very much part.
We are becoming aware of seasonal food, of what’s available in our local shops. We’re cooking more modestly and thinking about what we can perhaps have a go at growing/foraging/making/storing as we gain confidence with this new way of living. The faff of ordering and receiving locally delivered goods from various lovely suppliers still takes less time and energy than the former dreaded supermarket trawl and it is certainly far more satisfying. But perhaps most surprisingly of all, this supermarket divorce has not incurred us any additional financial costs at all. I definitely buy less despite still having enough and our weekly spend on food thankfully remains unchanged.