DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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10 December 2013

Getting to know my supermarket, again

Hanno did the grocery shopping yesterday; he does it almost every week because I don't like going to the shops. I was preparing lunch when he came home and he said it was difficult finding what I had written on the list. I do put things on there such as: "with real juice", "only Australian" or "free range only". Today he had to ask the shop assistant to help him find Granita biscuits. I need a packet for the Christmas cheesecake. They searched and finally found them on the top shelf. That tells me that soon we won't be able to buy Granitas from Woolworths any more. They will be gone from the shelves like so many other old Australian brands. I wonder if you have found a similar scenario in your local supermarket.


 It occurred to me that although I go shopping on the odd occasion, I haven't been shopping on a regular basis for years, maybe five or six years. I've decided I should go again to reacquaint myself with the shelf placement and the brands. My guess is that I'll find a wasteland littered with made in China/India/Thailand generics and non-food, it will make me angry and I wont want to go back. Nevertheless, I need to do it so I know the true state of the supermarkets and not my old version of them. We don't always do what we want to do.


Not shopping is my preference and if I could live without shopping at all, I'd be happy. Here at home I revel in the almost-solitude, I enjoy having the sun on my arms, I love getting my hands dirty, I love the rhythm of my day and the work I do. Being so immersed in the work here, which is an equal mix of physical and intellectual work, has made me a different person. There was time when I searched for meaning and happiness in shopping malls and crowds, now I know where I can reliably find it. It's always right here under my nose, at home.


I'm watching a TV program called "The Abbey" at the moment and although I am by no means a religious person, I feel that life in that Abbey somehow reflects my life here. The Benedictine nuns in the abbey are living a cloistered life of gardening, craft, preparing meals and regular prayer. Here in our home we live according to our values while maintaining simplicity in our lives. I live by sunrise and sundown rather than an alarm clock or watch. We eat at the same time every day, taking a main meal at midday, we tend our chores, and each day runs to a gentle routine that makes the work satisfying and enriching. I do not pray but I am mindful and have periods of quiet reflection. The work I do here defines my character as much as it defines my days. Some would believe that being at home most of the time would be a burden but I find much of the world outside my own community superficial and loud. It's easier to stay at home but from next week on, and possibly for the next few weeks, I'll do the shopping at the supermarket and try to make sense of it.

I wonder what changes you've noticed in your local supermarket in the past few years. Have you seen a big move towards foreign products and generics? Are the old brands disappearing?

60 comments:

  1. Oh, I am so, so with you here, friend. I really dislike grocery shopping and avoid it at all costs!! And I have exactly those same reactions you describe if I have to step foot in the regular grocer (followed by grand plans and resolutuons to never do it again). Good luck on your venturing out there ;)
    -Jaime

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  2. Oh Rhonda I really like this post, I wish I could get somebody to go to the supermarket for me, I really hate that job and I put it off until the last minute, I have to say I have resorted a couple of times to shopping online. One thing I do try to avoid is taking my children with me, oh the marketing horrors just for them .... not only is it getting harder to find things Im finding it busier and rougher, only last month there was a stabbing in one of our local supermarkets in the middle of the day mind you.
    I find it much nicer and comforting to stay home and bake goods and grow veges, unfortunately there is other things I need to buy but when I do go I make sure I stock up so I dont have to go to often. x

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    1. Sharon, i go 10pm at night and do a big shop for a fortnight. No crowds, plenty of time to look at those labels, no queues. Im lucky in that i live very close (but not in sight of) a small corner centre with Woolworths, a chemist and a few little stores. I use to walk there with Tom in a pram and given his autism, he had identified this as His supermarket. He would love to work there. We know all the long term staff and shopping is a pleasure. So long as i go in OFF times, definitely not after work or before a public holiday. Its so close i can zoom down there at 7am or as i said, go late at night.

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  3. I envy you in still having a Woolworth`s store where you are. They have now all been closed here in Britain. We now have only bigger supermarkets that charge the earth for items. And original british brands have also disappeared from our shelves. My cooking and household requirements don`t necessarily ask for the old brands, and I`m happy just to find cheap enough alternatives if I can. Shopping isn`t much fun for me either. I usually go with a well written out list of what I need, then just dash in and out of the shops I have to visit and get myself back home pronto. The blatened commercialism around Christmas time also is very off-putting for me. I avoid all the advertisements, pick what I need even without glancing at the sweety isles or any other convenient foods, then pay and get out quickly. Often you will be accosted by some shop staff to participate in their surveys, but I always decline as I`m not their average customer. Home is where I`m most happiest, just like you. Here I can create my meals without too many additives. I also love organic produce when I can get it, but here we must pay sometimes through the nose to have it. I grow as much as possible in my own garden during the veggie season, but during winter needs must and I do rely on the supermarket a fair bit as we can`t grow things then. Our climate is just not very good for it in winter. Without a heated greenhouse it`s impossible for me to carry on growing veggies, as we often have sub zero conditions and snow. I would prefer the supermarkets to supply us with more unusual
    and heirloom type of veggies, just like you could get from a proper farmers market. But, farmers markets here shut down for the winter as well, so the last chance for it would have been beginning of October. Then we have to wait till March to see farmers markets re-appear.
    I hope your shopping trips are successful and you can still find some of your old time favourites before commercialism and convenience products take over completely.

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  4. What a bad time of the year to decide to go supermarket shopping again, as one famous Aussie says, "Do yourself a favour" and start that experiment in the New Year LOL.

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  5. I find it difficult to find my old favourites as the supermarkets put those items in funny places so that we will buy their product instead. I also find that shop assistants don't know what things are if it is real food , they look at me like I am crazy....'what's a lentil?' , when I ask where the lentils are for soup making.

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  6. I share your dislike of grocery stores! I don't know what granita bisquits are, perhaps what Americans call graham crackers? I also look at labels very closely to see where the item comes from. I live in Michigan and I only buy American products if possible, sometimes Canadian. I won't buy from Mexico or overseas as I feel that if the item has to be shipped that far - I don't need it. I don't buy much already prepared items, it is the basics for me. I do canning of vegetables and fruit in the summer to hold us over the winter, when we cannot get any fresh things here in Michigan. You are certainly a lucky lady to have a husband who will do the shopping for you, I wouldn't trust mine lol. He would come back with all kinds of junk.

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    1. Hi Terry! Granitas are Graham Crackers. It sounds like we run very similar kitchens. Merry Christmas to you and your family. xx

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    2. As a girl from USA living in Australia now for 8 years, I have always missed graham crackers!! I am excited to see this post so I can look for Granitas and see for myself. When I was a little girl, my mom used to give me crushed graham crackers in a bit of milk as a bedtime snack but the most common use as I was growing up was for cheesecake crust or S'mores. xx debbie

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  7. I think you will probably find your shopping experience in 2013 frustrating and annoying although I think it is very wise to get out there and see the state of play as it is right now. I think the orange juice is one thing that is crazy. Years ago we used to buy a really nice orange juice which tasted like fresh oranges including the pulp and it was delicious. We don't buy orange juice now but in the Sept holidays we were away camping and I was at Woollies (Coles would be no different) trying to buy a litre of orange juice. I stood there reading all the labels for over 5 mins to find one that really contained orange juice. It was a difficult chore but there was shelves and shelves of orange juice there. It all said orange juice but it took me ages to find an orange juice that really was old fashioned orange juice. Yesterday I bought a juice was Woollies and it was really lovely but it was in a 500ml bottle so not sure if there would be a one litre but it lovely. I've just checked the bottle and it's Australian and in fact Qld, Mansfield. It has 99.9 percent fresh orange juice but it does have preservative 202 which I'm guessing all the juices have to have a preservative in them to keep them fresh. The brand is "Grove Juice" and their website is www.grovejuice.com.au It's in a white bottle (sort of like a milk bottle colour) with an orange label with "Grove Juice" written on a tree. I would buy it again and it tasted like I had just freshly squeezed juice. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

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  8. Please send Hanno here to do my shopping....I hate shopping too. I don't buy very much from the supermarket, mostly I shop at the bulk whole foods store, but some things I go to Coles for, and I like to know I'm buying Australian products, not just the packaged in Au, but grown here. I scan the labels right down to the tiny print, because sometimes critical information is hidden well. And I carry a list of unethical companies, the ones I don't want to buy from. It doesn't leave very much! Like you, I'm much more content away from the hustle and bustle

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  9. So many items have disappeared from shelves in Woolies. Some not replaced at all, others replaced with "generic" names. I'm fed up with it. Funny thing is i think to myself at times "oh mustn't be making that product anymore" yet i can go to Coles & find them. So obviously they are still being made just Woolies aren't stocking them for some reason. A lot of times i've quite making certain recipes because i can't get what i needed.

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  10. Hi Rhonda, I agree that our products are slowly being eradicated but it is an insidious process which I think they use in the hope that we won't realise it has happened. I find it extremely annoying but more upsetting because as you say the product origin is more and more from countries where the quality control is dubious. I have made the occasional comment to supermarket managers that I would prefer this or that but you need big numbers. Unfortunately once things are gone they are gone for good. Sue

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  11. Good Morning Rhonda ... We live in SA so I shop at Foodland, they are independently-owned and support local producers. Foodland also use the SA logo on locally grown products...which is a great idea. So I enjoy shopping. We travelled through Vic a few months ago and did a bit of shopping at Woolworths ..arrgghh!!! I was annoyed that supermarkets there still use plastic bags. Good Luck with your shopping experience Rhonda.

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  12. I live in a semi-rural small city in Nebraska. All we have here are the mega Wal-Mart and some chains. We are getting more and more over seas products and China, which I refuse to buy. I am noticing that even brands which you think are products of our US, are farmed out to over seas producers. (No insult to you, Rhonda, when I mention over seas).
    I shop a local grocer and a restaurant supply company for bulk, to get what I need anymore. I detest shopping anyway as I have a small social anxiety issue and people make me uncomfortable with the phones and the chatter. I purchase my meat, and most of my produce like potatoes and onions from local farmers and the farmers market and put in my crawl space in my home fitted with baskets and small shelving. I am content with that.
    We have lost a lot of brands through the last few years to Chinese imports, full of poison, noting what has happened with baby formula and dog treats, making kids sick and pets die. People had better start taking note of their families health and nutrition as the government does not care nor worry about your health and food.

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    1. No offence taken, Denim. The same thing here, with Australian brands now being made overseas. How dare they give those jobs away!

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  13. I have not seen brands disappearing in US. My grandmother did not go to the grocery store for 20 years or more before she died. She had not idea what was at the store and would really get upset when her old standbys were not available. You are wise to go and reacquaint yourself with what is really out there. My husband rarely shops and so it is generally easier for me to just do it because I have to talk to him on the cell phone the entire time he is in the store.

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  14. My local Woolworths stopped stocking an item that I liked so I wrote the store manager. Just a short letter asking if they could restock this product and 3 weeks later the product was on the shelf. Remember we may not like shopping however we are the customer and can ask for what we want.

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  15. Hi Rhonda,
    I think you will be shocked at the changes in supermarkets over the last 5 or so years. There is less 'real' food available, it's hard to find Australian made and it's hard to even find products that don't contain soy ( a good chance it's GM).

    There is also the issue of too much variety. I recently counted EIGHTEEN varieties of fetta cheese at Coles in Armidale! I just wanted regular, organic fetta. This explosion in variety means it takes a lot longer to find what you want, and sometimes you still won't find what you want - just good, clean simple food!

    Like you, I'm loving The Abbey. Those women have found a simple, meaningful life. While I wouldn't swap my kids for anything, I do envy the quiet rhythm of days at the Abbey....sigh!

    Have a beautiful day,

    Madeleine.X

    PS: thanks for introducing me to Ecostore. Our local Woolies only carries the dishwasher powder and I had to make a special trip for it. When I saw how may products were available online I placed a big order - that's a few less trips to the supermarket for me - thankyou :)

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    1. Yes, thank you Rhonda for the Ecostore update. I too placed a large order as there were only limited things available at woolies and buying in the bulk sizes certainly saved money. I have always loved the Abbey too. I think we can learn from them that the simple things bring joy and contentment and meaning to our days.

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  16. I have a regular shopping list and am on a mission to buy the listed items and get out of the shop. I use to love to grocery shop and now I detest it! I too, if I could grow it or make it I would do it. I am not even interested in Christmas shopping this year....oh dear.

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  17. I understand wholeheartedly how you feel. This year (the first in many) I was forced to go shopping for Christmas presents. I would normally make most of the gifts we give but our circumstances didn't allow that this year. As a consequence I did my Christmas shopping yesterday and came back home disgusted with the fact that I had to "make do" and the gifts cost me a lot more than their true value. I was tired and cranky only after a few hours as people in the shops hustled and pushed to get where they wanted and had no consideration for fellow shoppers. I also found the shop assistants be not very helpful at all and I felt like I was settling for second best with a lot of my purchases.
    As a result I am going to get working on Christmas presents early next year and find projects that are suitable to my situation (we are currently working away from home and living in a caravan).
    I find Christmas to be a stressful time of year and would love to get back to the old fashioned Christmas where gift giving was a basic affair. I can do this with some of my friends and family but others have a more commercial expectation. Hopefully their ideas will change.

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  18. One of the main things that I noticed is slowly disappearing from our shelves is Borax. When I see it on the shelf (old stock) I buy the lot, usually only about 4 containers. Because it is a toxic chemical, I was told it can only be bought at specialized chemical shops or some hardware stores.

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  19. I like you enjoy my time at home and feel that rhythm so well now, I miss it if its interrupted for too long. People ask me if I get bored. Oh that makes me laugh, bored!! I don't have enough hours in the day!! Their expression says it all : )

    I'm proud to say I have not ventured to Woolies since I 'broke up' with the big boy supermarkets back in October as a personal challenge on my blog. I am now shopping at the local IGA, local butchers, local organic online fruit/veg store, local fruiterer, and Aldi. I had to go to Coles on the weekend to get some of hubbies beloved Hoyts chillies. I usually refuse to go and get them but it was just easier this week. Woolies stopped stocking these Australian made/produced pickled chillies months ago & replaced them with an overseas version. I was surprised with my visit to Coles. If I'm truly honest, I initially was quite excited to be going in. I really love grocery shopping but loathe shopping of any other kind. I'm a self confessed foodie so I get excited by products and cooking from scratch. What had I been missing? Well it wasn't much. The major things were their flour variety had no organic nor the wide variety the little IGA here stocks. They had virtually 5 or 6 organic products to choose from where the independant has a whole one side of the aisle of organic and wholefood products. There were multi-buys aplenty, that I don't get at the independant. So for my one trip to the big boy in months, I won't be rushing back. I haven't missed a thing. I also hadn't missed the crazy carpark experience, my anxiety raised as soon as I entered. At my independant and at Aldi, there are always parks, free parks, and the overall shopping experience is unrushed and quite, well nice. Dealing with local people at the fruiterer, on the phone with the organic lady, talking to my butcher, its so lovely to be building relationships with people who are passionate about their businesses.

    One thing I'd like hear your view on is something I'm battling at the moment with my shopping $'s. Organic and foreign V's Australian made and not organic. I'll give you an example. I live in a beautiful farming area with great butter. I buy it one week and the next buy Aldi's 'just organic' which is produced in New Zealand. I am very torn. We are only on one income and I'm trying to do the best I can on the money we have. What is your take on it Rhonda or anyone else?

    Good luck with your shopping trip, I'll be very interested to hear what you think.

    Warm regards
    Jan

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    1. Hi Jan,
      I think we all struggle with choices re organic/non-organic and local/imported. I would, for example, buy organic butter from New Zealand if I couldn't get Australian - I wouldn't buy it from further afield.

      My preference is always with organic because not only do I not want pesticides in my body (or my children's) but chemical farming is destroying soil fertility, waterways, useful insect populations etc...That said, a few weeks ago most organic fruit was $20 to $30 a kilo, which I just cannot afford. My solution is to buy a small quantity of non-organic, local if possible, and do without the rest.

      As far as food choices, we can aim to produce more and more at home, and be patient that it doesn't happen overnight. As nutritious and interesting as items such as organic goji berries might be, I won't be buying them due to the distance they travel and the cost. We don't need new 'superfoods' bought at great cost and with lots of carbon miles to have a healthy diet - I noticed no mention of them in the studies done on the world's 'bluezones' (longevity hotspots). Most of the people in these hotspots ate food they'd grown naturally right at their own backdoors. They enjoyed the gardening, sunshine, their families and communities, and none of their food had to travel long distances. I guess what I'm saying is that we have to do the best with what we can find and create nearby, and don't fret too much about what we can't yet get perfect :)

      Madeleine.X

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    2. Thanks for your reply Madeleine, we do grow all our own vegies and some fruit all as organic as possible. I brought a small $40 box of organic fruit that arrived today and it had 7 bananas, a piece of watermelon, 6 apricots and 7 plums. We just can't afford that each week. Like you said you can only do the best you can on what you have and I need to think a bit more about the carbon miles, so thanks for the reminder :)

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    3. Hi Jan, I've written about this a couple of times. I just tracked down the latest post. It gives a full explanation of what I think about this important issue.

      http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/how-do-you-choose-food-you-buy.html

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    4. thank you Rhonda for taking the time, will have a read.

      Dear me, I've just watched the first 2 episodes of The Abbey on ABC iview, I cried and cried!!! I'd love to do that experiment. Jan

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  20. First of all I have question. What is woolworth? Here in United States they had a lower price department store. But they went out ages ago.
    In my area we have only 3 places to shop...two of them is supplied by western family and the other one is safeway. Although I could drive 35 miles in to wal-mart...I don't do much business with wal-mart, political reason.
    But I believe with up coming budget and farm bill shopping will be changing.

    Coffee is on

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    1. Hi, I am from Texas but have lived in Australia for 8 years. I remember my parents calling Woolworths "the five and dime" when I was growing up. Here in Australia, Woolworths are everywhere, but very different. It is a major supermarket...Think of Albertsons, Safeway, Piggly Wiggly...just like those. The store here that is most like the old Woolworths used to be in USA is called "Crazy Clarks" . xx debbie

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    2. Woolworths is one of the two big supermarkets here.

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  21. The worst for us was the closing of our grocery store this summer because of bankrupcy. They were trying hard to work it out but it was pathtic - empty shelves everywhere! we'd turn down the paper goods isle and there might be 3 rolls of paper towels and 4 small packages of toilet tissue. There were only a few packages of each of three kinds of cereal, almost no fresh fuits or vegetables. I kept telling people - you have to keep going, give them a chance, if we don't shop there, they have no funds to buy anything - but everyone was running out of town. I stayed faithful to the last week, when even I couldn't find anything to buy. After they closed another company bought them out and reopened under a new name - so we got our store back - but it was an awful time for most of a year! And it effected all the local business - when people go out of town to grocery shop they take all their shopping dollars with them!

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  22. My shopping is quite detailed since I began living as organic as we can. I have to go the three local stores as well as order from a company that delivers one time a month organic items (Azure Standard). Instead of getting frustrated, I find that I am kind of pleased that I have the opportunity to have so many places to seek out items I need.

    I absolutely love your tea cup cupboard and I am inspired~thank you Rhonda!

    Jennifer

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  23. Rhonda - you will probably be saddened and shocked when you do venture to those shops, and I often ping pong between coles and woolies to try and find the brands I'm looking for, usually with no success. its awful and the produce is awful and I'm surprised that australians are treated like fools by these big companies and fooled into thinking that our produce is fresh and lovely, when really it isnt so. So I get angry and disheartened when I shop, and seem to go less and less. There seems liitle joy out there in the malls!

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  24. My sister owns a small supermarket and she has struggled since the Coles and Wollworths supermarket wars began. Who can compete with $1 milk and bread. These deals that the big supermarkets make not only rape our farmers profits but drive small local operators to the brink. What will happen when the big supermarkets have no competion not only groceries but fuel and insurance as well. I like to buy from my local farmers market and try to only buy Australian produce at the supermarkets. I am lucky that I can afford a choice in what and where I buy. I know many people do not have that choice.

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  25. Take your blood pressure before you go to the supermarket and then take it again upon return - I could tell you what you've been missing but you can find out the 'joy' for yourself.

    Things that bug me - The reduction in product size for instance; previous 425gm cans now 400 or less, but, the price never goes down. It's been so long that I've forgotten the brand we actually used to like - but it all started with the tartare sauce - it disappeared and my family complained for ages that the newer tartare purchases were never as good. Twas sooooo frustrating. Last year for the first time I made my own tartare sauce to go with the christmas brunch; it was fantastic and I don't think I'll ever need to buy it again!!

    Canned fruit - if it's not aussie - it ain't going in my basket. I could go on and on but what's the point. I think we need to empower our own lives with growing our own or sourcing from locals.

    Your bikkies look yummy Rhonda.

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  26. I find the trip to the supermarket that draining that I set myself a challenge almost two years ago, only go once a month.
    (You can read the thread here: http://marijke-sander.blogspot.com.au/search/label/Supermarket%20challenge)
    Since I’ve started local dairies have started to sell their milk through small local outlets, needing the supermarket even less. If I would push it I could go without Woolies or Coles for about three months.
    I supply my own garden with a weekly trip to the farmers market, buy my meat from the local butcher and buy pulses, nuts and flour from the local health food store. It’s liberating!

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    1. We went through the monthly food shopping phase, now we go when we need things. That might be two weeks running, then not for another three weeks. It depends. We rarely go to Woolworths, we only go there to buy what we can't get from Aldi. This time is was the Granita biscuits. If we used Granitas more often, I'd teach myself how to make them but it's not worth it for once a year. We buy meat from the local butcher, fruit and veg from the markets and the rest is from Aldi or the IGA.

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  27. It is really depressing to browse the supermarket shelves & find most stock is imported & generic brand.
    Our Aussie products are placed really high or on the bottom.
    Even the cheeses are being replaced. Milk of course is rows & rows of cheap milk & our Aussie ones are allotted a small space.
    Go & browse & look what has happened.

    Yummy - jam drops.

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  28. my husband does all the grocery shopping he has for at least the last 15yrs... as time has gone by things I ask him to get a slowly disappearing..in my amazement and surprise I say no no you must not have looked properly,i asked did you just ask a young person that would;nt know....but in fact he had look properly just the brands I want have gone..so every now and then I go into town with him and see if I can find replacements..or I look for recipes that will substitute...we live in the country and just do not have time to go xmas shopping weekly or on a whim..so I do it all online

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  29. I shop fairly regularly because I teach cooking workshops but I tend to buy in bulk from supermarkets online (I don't drive and it's easier than dragging home 10 kilos of bicarb and 10 kilos of flour and then some)! I like to buy as much as I can from the local nuts&spice shop and green grocer. The green grocer is often cheaper than the big markets as they get a lot of less aesthetically blessed produce which doesn't bother me one bit when I'm cooking or preserving! I visited Coles recently here in Brunswick and gosh it was like going to Tescos in the UK, almost identical except the prices were SO much higher for thinks like fruit and cheeses. I assume alot of produce is subsidised in the UK but those 1 pound punnets of raspberries were lovely....

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  30. I shop weekly but absolutely loathe it so am going to try to shop fortnightly beginning next year. If I work it right, and plan properly and get the veg garden going the way I want it hopefully I will be able to shop just once a month. We only have Woolworths/Safeways - that I enter under extreme protest, Coles - only to buy what I can't get at Aldi and Aldi. No farmers markets, no IGA, not even any dairies we can buy milk from. It would be lovely to buy in bulk and there is a new store opened which I must check out but sometimes it works out cheaper to buy lots in smaller packs than a big bag. Time for some more number crunching and for some serious home organising.

    Brace yourself going to the supermarket Rhonda. I'm predicting it will be enough to put you off totally for another 12 months.

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  31. I live in a very up market area, our nearest town is full of art galleries, estate agents, 'cafe culture' and upper class delicatessens so prices are inflated to cater for the weekenders who come from London and other places, the locals cannot afford to shop here. I don't go shopping as such at all, I do it all online, even the grocery shopping. (our nearest supermarket is 25 miles away) I have an ongoing list in the kitchen which I add to as I run low on items, then once a month I do an online shop and have it all delivered. Brilliant, saves all that queuing and loading of shopping trollies. Your shopping list is saved so that it's all there next time you go to it, and it stops all that temptation in the aisles! Don't they have online supermarket shopping in Australia?

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  32. I'm glad you are enjoying The Abbey. I've been a visitor there for many years and always enjoy the peace and gentle rhythm of life there. But what strikes me whenever I talk to the sisters is that despite their choice to live a cloistered life they are far from being cut off from the world. They are certainly well informed about current events, they just prefer to let the world come to them instead of the other way around.

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  33. Rhonda, like you, I don't regularly shop. We live in an outpost, have only my car, and my husband uses it for work, so he does the shopping after work. It's not an ideal arrangement, and I wish we could have changed it, because this way my husband does the shopping after work and before dinner, so he's hungry and often buys things that weren't on the list - but so far this is what we can do. We can't grocery shop online because nobody would deliver here. On the few times I do go to the supermarket, I've noticed two main changes in recent years: 1) the food prices are slowly climbing up, while salaries remain more or less the same, and more people are unemployed and 2) supermarkets are more colorful and enticing in order to tempt people to buy more. I guess we are lucky to slowly develop an immunity to this temptation.

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  34. What I have noticed is the steady increase in prices. I buy mostly produce , meat and staples and still, every week, my groceries cost more. I bypass all items with preservatives and make everything by scratch, but still the increase will soon be beyond my means.

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  35. I have to admit - I love doing the grocery shopping! I guess it's because there is a part of me that does enjoy shopping and getting "new" things - and since I don't do much other shopping these days, it's a bit of a treat for me. Part of that could be because I live near NYC and we have an abundance of wonderful choices nearby - Trader Joe's, Whole Foods (too expensive to buy much, but they have a decent organic generic brand, and the beautifully arranged aisles are so much fun to peruse), a large, family-owned grocery store/dairy that always gives out delicious samples, even Costco - I love it all! Now that our kids are older, my husband and I leave them at home on a Saturday afternoon and go together. I wouldn't say it's as romantic as a night out at a restaurant, but it works for us!

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  36. I live in the Bay Area (San Francisco area) in northern California. We too have the "wine country " crowd and gazillions of champagne and wine cellars; all of which bring in tourists, etc. with their attached or nearby upscale restaurants. The local markets are also, predictably, full of upscale food. It seems that Americans anymore cannot seem to chop their own vegetables. Of course, the customer is charged more for this, and the shelves are full of this type of convenience food; none of which I buy. But yes, we do have disappearing brands here in the U.S.; goods you just cannot find anymore. And the imported Asian stuff is rife. I have often though about the fact that I cannot find local tomatoes even though I live in California and they had a thriving industry up in Sacramento at one time.

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  37. If anything I think there feels like there is more of a swing towards UK produced products over here - our problem still comes with fruit and veg though. I live in an area which is packed full of greenhouses growing tomatoes and mushrooms, yet still struggle to buy UK grown of either a lot of the time!
    For the first time this year the UK properly embraced "Shop Local Saturday" - I blogged about it yesterday. This is an attempt to encourage people to use their local shops instead of the supermarkets, and I heartily agree with this.

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  38. You're so lucky that Hanno will do the grocery shopping for you. I dislike shopping of any kind but grocery shopping is the worst since you just have to keep doing it on a fairly regular basis!

    Victoria
    Indiana USA

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  39. I try to do my shopping early in the morning before the crowds start. I only go once a week and on that day my husband says he can tell I have been shopping because I am cranky that evening...lol. He says I am so relaxed when I am home all day.
    Carol

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  40. About 15 years ago we took our teenage children to Perth, Australia to have a holiday with family living there.
    I recall going to the shops & seeing washing powder I hadn't seen for years at home. Not sure if I can say the name, but if I can it was omo, I hadn't even realised it had disappeared back in the UK. I expect there are many things no longer available that I for one just didn't miss. Enjoy the shopping Rhonda! I know how you feel, but looking with fresh eyes will be educational.
    Best wishes,
    Angela ( south England) UK

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  41. I let Matt do the shopping, too. I dislike it and it fits better with his schedule as he works outside the home only part-time. However, when I am out and about I sure see a lot of Made In China food. I was just talking about it to a friend. The grocery was selling Chinese apple juice. Since apples are a fruit we can actually grow well up here in the north country I find this utterly disappointing.

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  42. I am a more mature lady (80 years young) and I do my shopping with Coles online. A nice gentleman carries my groceries into the house and puts them on the kitchen counter. One thing I dislike about grocery shopping is the choices. If I have to buy cereal or dog food I stand in front of so much choice that it just makes me tired and I just want to go home. Another thing I dislike is if I need help it is so difficult to find someone who works in the store who can help me. This is a momentous occasion as after all your good advice I am actually making a comment myself. Keep up the great work and have a wonderful Christmas. Dorothy in Canberra, Australia.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Dorothy. I appreciate you taking the time to say hello. You know, I think we'll move towards online shopping in a few years time, mainly to eliminate the carrying from the shop to the car and then into the house. I wish you a very happy Christmas. xx

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  43. I think these changes happened quite a while ago, here in northeast Ohio, though now there is a swing back and we have more and more farmers markets, including ones that only sell what the vendors themselves have produced....And often organic.

    Recently I had been buying frozen organic spinach for a higher price because I thought it was a better product when suddenly I realized it was from China. I was stunned. There is no way they can be inspected well enough to guarantee this is organic. Never again will I buy this, or forget to check provenance.

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  44. We use the Woolworths App to go shopping. It show you what aisle the product is in and where about in the aisle it is located. My husband shops and I push the trolley...that way we only get what is on the list (I am not able to wander around looking at stuff that I don't need, reading labels and then ending up buying stuff just in case)...... So we are in and out of the supermarket in a flash. I prefer to shop at IGA, but Hubby prefers Woolies because shopping there is quicker.

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  45. I am in the USA and we have really big grocery stores here. What I have found is if you shop the perimeter those are the healthier foods. Fresh vegetables, meats, dairy are all on the outside aisles here. Sometimes I don't even venture into the middle aisles. If I do it's usually for baking goods-baking soda, powder, sugar, etc. I do also buy oats that they put on the cereal aisle here (cereals here should be brought up on fraud charges because they are anything but healthy as they claim). I also will buy frozen vegetables and fruits if needed. We are working more and more each year to become self-reliant like you & Hanno. My husband & I both enjoy your blog.

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