Monday, 1 December 2014

30-Day Goodbye Supermarkets Challenge (Review)

Yesterday was the last day of my challenge.  Today I went out and celebrated ... no, not by dashing into the nearest supermarket to stock up on all the goods I'd missed, but by buying my first mince pie of the season ... from one of our local independent bakers.

Because you see, this challenge has been much easier, and more enjoyable, than I feared.  True it's required more forward thinking, and seeking out alternative traders and ingredients, but even on days when I haven't had time to give it much thought I've managed to put something on the table.

A few observations:

I am very fortunate to live within walking distance of a not just one, but two thriving high streets and a couple of markets, without which I would surely have failed in my challenge.

It's difficult to tell whether I'm better or worse off avoiding supermarkets.  Independents can't always match Aldi & Lidl prices but I've been more discerning in what I buy and haven't been tempted to buy more than I needed or give in to irresistible special offers.

I've eaten even less processed food than usual, preparing meals from scratch based on grains, pulses and vegetables, with fish and meat thrown in at the weekends.

The percentage of Bristol Pound payments has increased.

I've discovered a new supplier for the Indian dishes I enjoy preparing, as well as a new baker and cafe.

There is a sense of satisfaction in supporting local traders and keeping my local high street alive.

So although I'll eventually return to some of the smaller supermarkets it will only be for the handful of items I can't buy elsewhere.  I'll also be setting a weekly limit to prevent me from succumbing to old habits.

Perhaps you could give it a go.  If you do I'd like to hear how you get on.


  1. good to hear your experiences, Gareth
    Living by another of our great local High Streets it's some years since I used any supermarket for anything other than an odd item. I guess over 99% of my weekly shop is in local independents; much is cheaper (fruit and veg) or more ethical (other wholefoods), and I too spend much more in Bristol Pounds regularly, rather than 'old money'

    1. Thanks for your comment Martin. I'm so grateful for our local traders and can't imagine living in a place where I had no choice but to shop in supermarkets, which is sadly the case for too many people.