How much do I spend on food? [WFJ #89]
Auditing where I buy food and drink, and how much money I dedicate to it, yields some surprising discoveries
Recently, I’ve heard a couple of local friends say to me, while scratching their heads figuratively or otherwise, how they - a household of two - managed to spend upwards of £700 on their monthly food bill.
This isn’t coming from people I'd call rich. Intelligent, but not rich. Worried, too, about the cost of things, as we still hear about inflation on food items (though this is currently on the downward curve at 12.2%) and spiralling manufacturing costs getting passed on to the consumer. Some of us are now spending more on food than we ever have, and not necessarily by choice.
It got me thinking – how does what my household (just the two of us) spends on food compare with that of others? Given what I do as a profession, in addition to the purchasing decisions I make when shopping for food and drink – which to even sometime readers of this newsletter should be at least fairly apparent – how much more does that add to the average bill?
In the same breath, what, if any, ‘tax’ is there on shopping locally instead of at the supermarket? Are supermarkets, or indeed other food shops, subtly and unfairly upping their prices? Or is £700 and then some a justifiable price to pay to function on wholesome sustenance but also allow ourselves to take pleasure in eating and drinking?
This exercise isn’t designed to shame anyone’s purchasing behaviours. It might even do the opposite, in assuring you that actually, even this Food Writer and advocate of food economy re-localisation finds it difficult, or even unfeasible, to entirely shop at independent food stores, markets, and so on. And not necessarily out of price concerns (though that is at times a thing), but that doing so would deprive our household of Custard Creams, Hellman’s mayo, emergency breadcrumbs, and impromptu bottles of what I’d call the apogee of German mainstream weissbeirs, Paulaner.
However, yes, part of this exercise is to prove, albeit an example in isolation, that shopping locally and consciously and curiously perhaps isn’t as expensive as you, or I, might think.
And so, to answer what Google’s crawling spiders will surely recognise as a common question: