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Primal/Paleo groceries in London, UK. Where and how much per month - your experience?

Answered on June 10, 2013
Created May 10, 2013 at 7:38 AM

Howdy, primal folks!

I'm gonna be moving to London, UK pretty soon and want to put together a monthly budget, including groceries. For those of you, who know the place well, how much do you spend on groceries per month in general? My staples are mostly meat, fish, veggies and fruits, nuts and eggs. I may forego organic except for eggs. Food is important to me, so I try not to economize too much, but don't buy anything too lavish either, like fish eggs and expensive wine. As well, where do you tend to buy most of your groceries? How do you go about local farmers' markets? Please, share your local knowledge!

40b065644e95a090f6a41808303773ae

(450)

on June 10, 2013
at 10:27 AM

Alt+0163 for the £ sign ;)

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on June 10, 2013
at 07:18 AM

I've never shopped at Smithfield market myself http://www.smithfieldmarket.com/content/buying_guide/buying-guide but if you are near that, it would be amazing!! HUGE meat market.

68655ec9711d207d69a63ebf96b37573

on June 10, 2013
at 12:00 AM

As an addition to the below, I suggest that you buy the "Meat" book by Hugh Fernley Whittingstall - it rocks!

68655ec9711d207d69a63ebf96b37573

on June 09, 2013
at 11:59 PM

some are fed on dried grass/straw in the winter, which is great. Some are also grain finished in the summer. But yes, much better than US feedlot meats. Shame that most beef isnt traceable

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 16, 2013
at 10:39 AM

Oh, Abel&Cole is nice! I've used a very similar service HomeOrganics back in Dublin. There were always some little discoveries of new types of fruits and veggies and everything was in season. I loved it!

1deaea445ff3b1cb5d1354a043dc8fb7

(275)

on May 13, 2013
at 04:24 PM

i don't know, but would assume it applys to all animals

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 12, 2013
at 10:40 AM

No hormones? That's a relief! Is it only for cows or for all farmed animals, like pigs?

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 12, 2013
at 10:37 AM

Wow, thanks for great tips celticcavegirl! I agree that it's both better for the pocket and health to shop in season. Will check Waitrose before closing time.

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 12, 2013
at 10:32 AM

Thanks Agatha! I used to go to LIDL and Aldi when I lived near them. This is a good way to economize.

Medium avatar

(122)

on May 12, 2013
at 01:13 AM

No worries :) Welocme to my neck of the woods, uh, when you actually get here! You could also check out Abel and Cole - http://www.abelandcole.co.uk/ - but they're sometimes a bit limited/overpriced. Also, most supermarkets inc Waitrose/Sainsburys do home delivery, check their websites.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 10, 2013
at 03:55 PM

Yeah I think so, that or the possibility of buying a small chest freezer for your bedroom. :)

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 10, 2013
at 03:10 PM

As Nature intended looks very nice, will check it out. I have only heard of Sainsbury's and have never used it yet. By the look of it sounds like this is where I should go as soon as I land. Thanks for your advice Cal!

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 10, 2013
at 03:05 PM

Very useful links. Thanks for giving me new ideas Hecate! Online buying and home delivery is the best thing, since I don't have a car.

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 10, 2013
at 03:02 PM

Thanks for heads up on the summer forecast!:) I remember when I lived in Ireland I could easily spend around the same amount as 600 GBP a month, looks like the prices are comparable. You made me think that freezer space should be one of my priorities in searching for a flat share!

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 10, 2013
at 10:53 AM

http://www.devonrose.com/

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8 Answers

0
3720f5eb63757f8cdbf393ac7530c1c3

(259)

on June 10, 2013
at 02:02 PM

I dont live in London, I live in Sheffield which is a slightly cheaper cost of living. Waitrose is lovely for nice meat and I always buy my unpasteurised butter there... But for fresh fruit and veg Id recommend an asian grocery shop - the produce is alwats bigger, riper and cheaper. Ok so its not organic but personally I'm not too bothered. Also Morrisons is great for a massive variety of vegetables, far more than the other supermarkets, and it also does a lot of cheaper meat cuts: kidneys, liver, trotters etc. As tge others have said uk meat does tend to be grass fed anyway :) I eat very well, I never scrimp on food as its my big treat to eat well - I dont smoke or drink. I probably spend about £80 a week on food, maybe it would be £100 in London x

0
4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on June 10, 2013
at 07:14 AM

My partner and I spend about £35 / £40 each on food a week and we eat REALLY well. ALL fruit and veg comes from a market - depending where you are in London, there will be a market in reach. Berwick Street Market, Soho, is great

http://www.londontown.com/LondonInformation/Shops/Berwick_Street_Market/a42d/

and if near Walthamstow, Hoe Street market is amazing. Claims to be Europes longest daily street market!!

http://www.shadyoldlady.com/location.php?loc=203

We buy a weeks supply of veg, fruit and almost a week supply of meat from one market trip, rarely costs more than £30 for that.

We buy lots of offal; kidneys are cheap and ultra nutritious, as is liver, heart, mince etc. Meat - I usually buy a large joint of pork, or a shoulder of lamb from the market butchers, or a chicken (I buy from the farm gate, organic free range chicken in Sussex, two or three at a time, and bags of chicken wings - £1.50 for 12 big wings, and freeze them). A roast joint or large chicken will provide four or so meals for 2 people, and bones for stock.

Supermarkets for me are for tinned tomatoes, tinned salmon, tinned sardines and occasionally wild Alaskan salmon fillets. Supermarkets are just too expensive - Lidl and Aldi are good (excellent quality, by the way - just poor presentation!) I was told about a blind taste test comparison in the Daily Mail (I think) last week, of various shops, Lidl had more own brand goods score top marks than any other shop - and Harrod's had least!!!

Bottom line - "convenience" and ready made meals are ultra expensive, cooking from basics is cheap. And much much better for you.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on June 10, 2013
at 07:18 AM

I've never shopped at Smithfield market myself http://www.smithfieldmarket.com/content/buying_guide/buying-guide but if you are near that, it would be amazing!! HUGE meat market.

0
1deaea445ff3b1cb5d1354a043dc8fb7

(275)

on May 10, 2013
at 10:40 PM

Almost all of the beef in the uk is grass fed in the summer and fed on barley in the winter, also they are not allowed to use hormones or antibiotics on the cows here, no crazy cow factories here either.

Meaning normal British beef is great quality.

1deaea445ff3b1cb5d1354a043dc8fb7

(275)

on May 13, 2013
at 04:24 PM

i don't know, but would assume it applys to all animals

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 12, 2013
at 10:40 AM

No hormones? That's a relief! Is it only for cows or for all farmed animals, like pigs?

68655ec9711d207d69a63ebf96b37573

on June 09, 2013
at 11:59 PM

some are fed on dried grass/straw in the winter, which is great. Some are also grain finished in the summer. But yes, much better than US feedlot meats. Shame that most beef isnt traceable

0
68655ec9711d207d69a63ebf96b37573

on May 10, 2013
at 10:04 PM

I used to get by on $30* a week at Tesco and it was miserable. I ate a lot of sardines and organic) beef mince patties (2 for $5). I went to farmers markets as much as possible (Broadway and Borough, because I was living in Shoreditch. Broadway has amazing produce but it was hipsterified to hell. It's the only place where I've found Cavolo Nero, which is amazing

Then I got a new job, tripled my salary and moved to Westminster. Then I shopped in Sainsburys. I spent about $60 a week, and I spent quite a lot of that on vegetables. I only buy fruit and veg from Europe, with the exception of coconut. I didn't buy expensive steaks.

My weekly list 6 organic hens eggs 6 duck eggs (I eat 2 eggs a day for breakfast) 4 organic chicken thighs (2 meals) 2-3 kinds of fish, one was always trout or salmon. The other was ofen haddock or seafood which I made coconut curry with can of coconut milk (sometimes) red meat - venison, game, beef or lamb. Often lamb mince, which I use to make stuffed aubergines. Sometimes chops. Never steak Rarely pork, as it's hard to get organic. If I go to Waitrose then I get their organic bacon lots of veggies - carrot, beetroot, parsnips, broccoli, brussels sprouts, red cabbage, zucchini, asaparagus (when in season), cauliflower fruits - berries, stone fruits and figs when in season. Frozen berries when not. You can buy fruit from streetsellers which is great, but it's always very ripe

Regarding organic, I would advise Pork - ALWAYS chicken - when possible. Free range if not possibe lamb/beef - Winter only. Summer most are grassfed Eggs - woodland free range. All hens are supplemented with meal anyway

The best thing to do is to go to Waitrose right before closing time and all their meat is on sale. Also, Marks do a good 3 of $6 deal on some of their cooked deli meats/fish (but not as good now they've taken off the squid rings)

I miss UK supermarkets. You are coming at a good time - spring produce in season.

*stupid american computer doesn't have a pound sign

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 12, 2013
at 10:37 AM

Wow, thanks for great tips celticcavegirl! I agree that it's both better for the pocket and health to shop in season. Will check Waitrose before closing time.

40b065644e95a090f6a41808303773ae

(450)

on June 10, 2013
at 10:27 AM

Alt+0163 for the £ sign ;)

0
1931f59b3968714bfccecf97d6cf0648

on May 10, 2013
at 07:53 PM

I shop at LIDL and Aldi (budget supmarkets - their stuff is good quality but limited in choice) and other ordinary supermarkets, local butcher and fishmonger. I spent about £35-40 per week per adult and we eat well. I plan my meals and do batch cooking to keep costs down.

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 12, 2013
at 10:32 AM

Thanks Agatha! I used to go to LIDL and Aldi when I lived near them. This is a good way to economize.

0
20a24175ee0b8c0f37296600bce7ca1c

on May 10, 2013
at 12:28 PM

I shop at Sainsbury's and sometimes Waitrose when I'm feeling flush (which is hardly ever since I work part-time). Sainsbury's has coconut and almond milks and flax seeds as well as the usual produce. They have bags of budget salad and cheap avocados (which sometimes need a week or more to ripen, but you can save some money buying in advance). I also buy things like coconut oil, CoYo coconut milk yogurt and chia seeds from a shop called As Nature Intended (they have several branches throughout London). There's also many places that supply these things online. If you want a gluten or even sugar free cake then The Free From Bakehouse is awesome. They have an online site but also stalls at Brockley and Borough Markets. Talking of which, Borough Market has a lot of good stuff if you have the time.

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 10, 2013
at 03:10 PM

As Nature intended looks very nice, will check it out. I have only heard of Sainsbury's and have never used it yet. By the look of it sounds like this is where I should go as soon as I land. Thanks for your advice Cal!

0
Medium avatar

(122)

on May 10, 2013
at 10:39 AM

I spend about £300, but only because I'm on a strict budget - could easily spend more. I only buy organic, and I shop at Waitrose and sometimes Sainsburys (for wild salmon, mainly) plus -

http://www.athleat.co.uk/

https://www.organicdeliverycompany.co.uk/cms

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 10, 2013
at 03:05 PM

Very useful links. Thanks for giving me new ideas Hecate! Online buying and home delivery is the best thing, since I don't have a car.

Medium avatar

(122)

on May 12, 2013
at 01:13 AM

No worries :) Welocme to my neck of the woods, uh, when you actually get here! You could also check out Abel and Cole - http://www.abelandcole.co.uk/ - but they're sometimes a bit limited/overpriced. Also, most supermarkets inc Waitrose/Sainsburys do home delivery, check their websites.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 10, 2013
at 10:53 AM

http://www.devonrose.com/

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 16, 2013
at 10:39 AM

Oh, Abel&Cole is nice! I've used a very similar service HomeOrganics back in Dublin. There were always some little discoveries of new types of fruits and veggies and everything was in season. I loved it!

0
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 10, 2013
at 09:37 AM

I really don't budget (lazy and I should!) and tend to buy from more upmarket supermarkets (i.e. Waitrose). I currently live in a house share and don't have much freezer space so tend to buy fresh meat/veg for 2-3 days at most.

So I did a quite calculation of my average day's eating, not including two espressos, butter and heavy cream. I would say this is probably the top end of buying supermarket organic. Buying bulk and from a farmers market would certainly make things cheaper. If you have the space, buy bulk meats/fish. I would love to myself and or take advantage of the many organic box delivery companies.

|-------------------------+--------|
| 3 eggs                  | £ 0.25 |
| 2 salmon fillets (240g) | £ 4.00 |
| 1 sirloin steak (240g)  | £ 6.00 |
| 1 can sardine           | £ 0.55 |
| 1 avocado               | £ 1.00 |
| 3 sweet potatoes        | £ 1.00 |
| 1 spinach (230g)        | £ 1.50 |
| 1 broccoli (500g)       | £ 1.50 |
|-------------------------+--------|
| Total                   | £15.80 |
|-------------------------+--------|

I would say that I easily spend £600.00 a month on food including going out for dinners. I think in comparison to Europe and the rest of the world England is pretty expensive. Now like I said this is buying organic from supermarkets, it probably could be reduced considerably (£400?) if you made the effort.

I spend a lot on food since I pay cheaper rent then most people I know, and I also drink like two beers a month at most. It is not uncommon for someone here to spend £200.00 a month just on alcohol. My best friend used to spend close to £500.00, but I know some who spend close to that over a weekend.

Make sure you pack some warm clothes, our summer sucks here at the moment.

9570fd88f5ed75444fdf524de06f04e1

(0)

on May 10, 2013
at 03:02 PM

Thanks for heads up on the summer forecast!:) I remember when I lived in Ireland I could easily spend around the same amount as 600 GBP a month, looks like the prices are comparable. You made me think that freezer space should be one of my priorities in searching for a flat share!

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on May 10, 2013
at 03:55 PM

Yeah I think so, that or the possibility of buying a small chest freezer for your bedroom. :)

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