Supermarkets seem to hate single people. They probably aren’t really aware that they hate us, but they obviously do.
Apart from a couple of exceptions, such as Marks & Spencers, most supermarkets assume that there are at least two people eating their food. Want some chicken? It’s a pack for two? Want a bit of pork? No problem, but it’s a pack for two people.
Why is that?
Well I kind of know the answer to the question, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying.
I’d love to be able to go into a shop and not have to buy packets of food that are designed for two or more people. I hate wasting food. I was brought up to respect food and not to waste it, so I’ve spent years eating more than I probably should have done due to the way supermarkets package food.
You could ague that there’s nothing to stop me (or anyone else) from holding over the other half of a pack of meat (or whatever), but the reality is that once you open the pack the meat starts to go off. Sure it’ll probably still be edible, but it starts drying out and looks distinctly inedible.
Shop somewhere that has a butcher’s counter and get the butcher to give you only what you need. It might cost a little bit more than the packaged meat, but you’ll get to choose the cuts that you want and you won’t end up being tempted by the leftovers.
In Ireland we still have a number of excellent craft butchers, so if you can get to one it will be worth your while plus you’ll also be supporting local business. Where I live there are a couple nearby and SuperQuinn has a very good butcher on site. Other supermarkets can be a bit “touch and go”. Tesco’s meat counter isn’t exactly stellar, though that might vary depending on where you live. Dunnes Stores’ meat counter isn’t exactly amazing either, so I wouldn’t use it unless I had no choice. As far as I know none of the discount supermarkets have a butcher in store, so they’re out.
If anyone knows of Irish supermarket chains that actually cater to singles I’d love to know about them.
- The butchers (intotheorchard.com)
- The ONE Question to ask a Real Butcher (wellpreserved.ca)
- Marks & Spencer breaks mould with packaging for ‘longer-living’ fruit (guardian.co.uk)
Start planning your food ahead.
Although there is 2 of us, it makes more sense to buy stuff in bulk and plan its use.
Generally you can reduce the cost, and if you’re buying from a local butcher you can ask for a better price if you are buying a good bit.
I goto the butchers counter on a Sunday and ask for 6 steaks split into 3 packs, 1 or 2 lbs of mince split into 1lb bags and a few chicken breasts which i split into freezer bags myself.
I freeze what we’re not going to eat within the next 2-3 days, then take what ever I need out of the freezer the night before and pop it in a bowl in the fridge to defrost for that evenings dinner.
I sometimes cook bolognese/curries/stews/chilli for 4 and just reheat it the second night, the sauce infuses better with he food on the second day and tastes a lot better.
It can also be handy to cook another portion for the next days lunch.
Again if you change your mind you can always pop it in a freezer bag and into the freezer and reheat it another day, especially handy if you don’t feel like cooking.
The only downside to freezing is it does change the texture of meat due to water expanding in the cells as it turns to ice, but its generally not too bad and still a hell of a lot better than buying prepackaged food.
Most fruit and veg can be bought in supermarkets loose which makes it easier to purchase single servings.
Even if you do buy bags of veg, you can always make soup and freeze it.
Currently i’ve only a small freezer, but its enough to do all of this, if its getting too full then its time to start working your way through it before it spoils.
Singles servings would just increase the over all cost for you in the long run as you’d be getting less but the costs wouldn’t be much less due to transport costs, packaging etc.
Just plan for at least a week a head and you shouldn’t notice a problem with supermarkets having a bias against single people.
Thanks for the tips and advice.
The problem is that as I’m following a diet plan it sort of falls apart 🙁
I can easily have chicken on the plan once a week, so the other chicken fillet would have go into the freezer, which is small and definitely doesn’t taste as good once defrosted. The same goes for mince meat, though that’s a bit more bearable 🙂
I think the butcher counter is the best option.
Thanks for your comment
You’re following a diet plan created by a Supermarket Chain, not just any old chain, but the most rapacious of them all. And you’re *surprised* that following this plan causes food waste? I’d have thought it a certainty.
DGold – the plan doesn’t tie you to Tesco. It allows you to select which supermarket you shop in, so you can choose between the main Irish chains without any issue.
Of course if you opt for Tesco you’ll find that Tesco branded goods are on your shopping list, but that doesn’t surprise me in the least.
Thanks for your comment