Research shows the two single most effective ways to help you waste less food are meal planning and writing a list and sticking to it.  It helps keep you focussed in the shops and ensures you have every ingredient at home you need for your planned weekly meals.

Here are our tips for a successful shopping trip.

Before you go

  • Your shopping list should correspond with your meal plan. You could use the Love Food Hate Waste menu planner and shopping list  
  • Before you write your list do a stock take to and check what you already have in the fridge and pantry. Some people take a picture of the fridge on their phone to remind them in the shop
  • Write down the quantities of the ingredients you need too. Keep in mind that some recipes could use the same ingredients; which can help you save money and use up leftover ingredients
  • Aim to buy fruit and vegetables that are in season – they’re often fresher and less expensive. See our seasonal fruits and vegetable guide 
  • Don’t shop when you’re hungry, as it’s much harder to resist impulse buys
  • There is no right or wrong way to write a shopping list. Some people write their list according to food categories, listing ‘fruit and vegetables’, ‘dairy and eggs’ etc. Others find it helpful to write their list according to supermarket aisles 
  • Don’t forget to grab your reusable shopping bags before you go

At the shops

  • Only buy in bulk if you have enough room at home to store it correctly
  • Look at the cost of items by weight and compare value for money
  • Look for the ‘Use-by’ and ‘Best-before’ dates and make sure you will be able to use the product in time
  • Think before you buy ‘two-for-one’ specials – do you really need two? Some deals may be good value, e.g. if you can store items in the freezer
  • Pack your heavy grocery items at the bottom of your bag or in a separate bag to avoid bruising and splitting fruit or vegetables

More about buying in bulk

When it’s well-planned, buying in bulk can be value for money, use less packaging and save you time and money.

Buying in bulk is great if you use a lot of one type of product and have enough space to store it correctly. Check the date label before you buy to be sure you will have enough time to use it all up. 

Making chutneys, pickles or jams is a good way to preserve bulk buy fruit and vegetables. Make sure you allow time to do that while everything is still very fresh. 

More Information

Shop to a list - Action Card 

Watch our video on Best Before and use buy dates

Download our Menu planner and shopping list

See our Central Coast Partners Pantry Checklist

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