Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Buying loose and bin ends

One of the many advantages of shopping in independent shops is that you can buy exactly the amount you need. In our nearest Tesco for instance, a Metro, almost everything is pre-packed. In the local greengrocer it’s the reverse. Everything is sold loose. Quite often you only need a couple of carrots or a few mushrooms for a recipe. If you buy 500g or a kilo there’s always a danger of forgetting about them and finding they’ve gone off.

It’s the same with dried pulses and nuts. In our local health food shop they offer them both ways - pre-packed and loose and there’s a significant saving in buying the latter. Not only because the unit cost is reduced (it’s generally about 40p a kilo lower) but because you won’t necessarily use the larger amount. I bought what I thought looked about the right amount of green split peas to make the pea and ham soup we had at the weekend (235g when they were weighed up which cost me 58p). If I’d bought them pre-packed I’d have paid about £1.50 for 500g. How often do I use split peas? Not often enough to buy the larger amount.

They also sell the tail ends of the bins they need to refill, bagged up as bin ends. I bought a 135g bag of mixed nuts and dried fruits, enough for a couple of days snacking, for 62p. And 265g of good quality muesli with plenty of nuts and seeds for 66p.

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