Beware the bulk buy
THE price of some groceries has fallen but money can still be wasted when shopping for home-cooked meals.
A lack of understanding about bulk buying and unit pricing can be costly, while the modern trend of prepping a pile of meals in advance can also have drawbacks. Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows the cost of takeaway food and eating out has jumped more than 10 per cent in the past five years, but several popular grocery items – including bread, poultry, eggs and milk – cost less.
Trolley Saver founder Sam Lee said people shouldn’t bulk buy something for a discount if they were not likely to use it all.
“When unused products are thrown away, so are the savings,” he said.
Mr Lee said surveys of Trolley Saver app users found that almost half of shoppers had thrown away prepared meals.
“The main reason is that eating the same prepared meal lacks variety and they still end up ordering takeaway,” he said.
“Another reason is some ingredients in prepared meals will spoil quicker after being cooked than if the ingredient was stored in the pantry and cooked at a later date.”
Queensland Consumers Association spokesman Ian Jarratt said unit pricing – how much a product costs per 100g or 100ml – was the key to spotting savings. He said the price differences between package sizes for the same do at the moment,” Mr Jarratt said. “But bigger is not always the best value.”
Mr Lee said people could help stop stored food from becoming an expensive waste by freezing prepped meals, buying good quality produce that lasts longer, and buying refrigerated items at the end of their shopping trip, to minimise their time at room temperature.