Going cold turkey on using supermarkets

The Oxford Times: Ian and Rebekah Pugh with baby Elizabeth Buy this photo Ian and Rebekah Pugh with baby Elizabeth

A FAMILY is going cold turkey by aiming not to use supermarkets for at least a year.

Ian and Rebekah Pugh did not join the crush for that last turkey or bag of Brussels sprouts over Christmas. And nor will they be part of queues for other every day essentials this new year.

The Pughs, who live with seven-month-old daughter Elizabeth in Faringdon, decided just before Christmas to try to go a whole year without using a supermarket.

Mrs Pugh said: “Christmas was absolutely fine. We went to the local delicatessen and just to local markets.

“All of our Christmas shopping was from Faringdon and we made quite a lot of presents.

“It wasn’t hard at all. It made us put a lot more thought in to what we did and think about the local economy. We felt quite liberated to not go near a supermarket.”

They set up an internet blog to record their experiences, which now has 400 readers, and say they are not only eating better, but are saving money and puttingmoney back into their community.

Mrs Pugh, who is 28 and on maternity leave from her job in mental health, said: “We have always been passionate about food and when I went on maternity leave I decided I wanted to do something to keep my brain active, so I hit on the idea of shopping only in local shops, small delis and markets.”

She continued: “We were used to just popping into a supermarket anytime, picking up what we needed, and paying on the debit card. But that was not only really tough to do with a baby, it was expensive too.

“So we also set ourselves the challenge of shopping just once a week and spending just £50 – and it has been amazingly easy.”

Any cheating will result in the following week’s shopping budget being slashed in half!

The couple set up a website – ayearwithoutsupermarkets.com – and last month went cold turkey from Tesco and all the other food giants.

Mrs Pugh said: “We shop local – Faringdon, Wantage, Abingdon etc – and have discovered an amazing range of delis, butchers, greengrocers and markets.

“Instead of plodding down aisles in a supermarket buying food which we know nothing about, we now meet traders and hear about their products.

“We know the man who grows our cauliflowers and the lady who loved the pigs she eventually turned into our bacon.

“The only difficult food to source has been sugar and our local deli owner has agreed to order us some. She and other traders we meet seem thrilled about what we are doing.”

Mr Pugh, 27, who is an academic administrator for the University of Oxford, agreed: “We have discovered more fish, new cheeses, and how to make great bread and cakes.

“We have been given venison and pigeon and we have been eating meals at home that you would pay a fortune for in a restaurant.”

Mrs Pugh said: “Since November we have saved over £70 from our budget, which is going into a bank account for something special at the end of the experiment.”

 

SHOPPING LIST

THE family’s rules:

  • No shopping of any kind in supermarkets for one whole year – supermarkets are defined as ‘a large self-service store retailing food and household supplies’ (Collins English Dictionary)
  • £50 budget for food per week to feed our family including any guest we might entertain. We will always try to be below budget and will save any unspent funds (pet food excluded from £50)
  • We must still eat well – by this we mean healthy, nutritious food that is cooked from scratch
  • We must not be lazy and cheat!
  • We must still eat a variety of foods and try out new foods/recipes as often as possible
  • We must not waste any food
  • We will not bulk buy/stock up before the challenge starts as this is considered cheating but we can continue to use the items we already have in our pantry and freezer as we do not want to waste food.
  • We will limit ourselves to one meal out per fortnight (that we purchase ourselves).
  • Eating food at family and friends houses is not a breach of the rules

Comments (5)

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12:09pm Mon 7 Jan 13

cynicality says...

What small local store sells baby's requirements like nappies etc? Or are we only talking about using a supermarket for food?
What small local store sells baby's requirements like nappies etc? Or are we only talking about using a supermarket for food? cynicality
  • Score: 0

12:32pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Anon Coward says...

Finger on the pulse for the Herald again I see..

This 'story' was featured on the radio network, ( eg JackFM ), before Christmas..
Finger on the pulse for the Herald again I see.. This 'story' was featured on the radio network, ( eg JackFM ), before Christmas.. Anon Coward
  • Score: 0

12:36pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Oxford Optimist says...

My small local chemist sells nappies, nappy creams, baby wipes, toilet rolls, shampoo, make up and all sorts of baby (and other) essentials - just like every other chemist in the UK, I imagine. And there are loads of local chemists, many more than local delis, butchers or greengrocers.
My small local chemist sells nappies, nappy creams, baby wipes, toilet rolls, shampoo, make up and all sorts of baby (and other) essentials - just like every other chemist in the UK, I imagine. And there are loads of local chemists, many more than local delis, butchers or greengrocers. Oxford Optimist
  • Score: 0

12:54pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

Hardly difficult.

1000s of people throughout Oxfordshire manage this every week - it's called "Ocado".
Hardly difficult. 1000s of people throughout Oxfordshire manage this every week - it's called "Ocado". Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

9:18pm Mon 7 Jan 13

Foxy Lady1 says...

At Gloucester Green Farmers market he charged £6.25 for 3 beetroot and a celeriac, now thats taking the pee!
At Gloucester Green Farmers market he charged £6.25 for 3 beetroot and a celeriac, now thats taking the pee! Foxy Lady1
  • Score: 0

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