Author Topic: Australian Food  (Read 4829 times)

carobinson

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Australian Food
« on: December 31, 2017, 11:22:27 PM »
Hi all,

I am brand-spankin' new to the MMM world and am working my way through the blog from the start. As an Aussie, one thing that I struggle to get my head around is food pricing/comparisons.

We are a family with 2 primary-school aged kids that eat a mostly organic Low carb, healthy fat diet and I can't for the life of my work out how to get the costs very low while eating this way.

Do any other Aussies have any food buying tips while continuing a  healthy diet?

Ta :)

life_travel

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2018, 12:12:21 AM »
We were organic eating for 2-3 years , spending $800 per month , I still believe in it but it turns out I want to FIRE more . So we still eat very healthy ( lots of fruit and vege, whole grains ), but non organic. We got down to $537 average and I'm planning to go down to $400 this year. That's 2 adults but I'm buying a lot of pre packed salads for $5 instead of cooking from scratch too :)

mjr

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2018, 12:34:54 AM »
Fruit and vege shops are way cheaper than Coles and Woolies.    I use the local butcher for the fresh meats and Coles for everything else.

11ducks

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2018, 12:53:41 AM »
Bean and lentil based meals, and using meat as an accent. When I use meat, we use smaller amounts
 (for example- I use 250g mince for bolognese, or one chicken breast for stir fry, and bulk it up with heaps of veggies). I also use a discount grocer (they get in a variety of excess fruit and veg and sell it super cheap), and make meal plans around that. We spend $120 a week for everything (incl toiletries), for 3 adult-size eaters, in Qld.

Breakfast is oatmeal, weetbix or toast, all of which is mega cheap.

Kid lunches consist of a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a veg (carrot/cucumber sticks), and 1-2 other things, often homemade (pikelets, cupcakes, slices/bars), and chips/biscuits (it varies, depending on sales each week). I'll alternate with wraps/sausages/party pies/Cheerios, when on sale. My lunches are slow-cooker based (ie lentil curry, veg and rice), with a fruit/veg and water.

Astatine

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2018, 01:40:20 AM »
Welcome to the forum :)

The definition of healthy is different for everyone. Low carb (<50g per day) doesn't work for me but everyone is different).

We buy most of our staples from Aldi because it's much cheaper than from the big 2. Cheap fruit and veg is available from independent greengrocers (as in, not perfectly shaped = MUCH cheaper). We also try to buy as much as possible from small independent ethnic grocers because DH and I value diversity in the shops that are available to us.

I have no idea about organic food, it's not really on my radar. Is there a food co-op you could join? Or grow more of your fruit and veg yourself? If you eat meat, can you buy cheaper cuts of meat or eat less of it?


Llewellyn2006

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2018, 01:50:26 AM »
My wife and I prepare our meals from scratch and eat a pescatarian diet (my wife eats a little bit of meat) so we go through a lot of fruit & veg and fish. And........our food bills are still nearly $800 a month for two of us. I was staggered when I started keeping track of our costs at in July so I looked at it a bit more closely. We waste very little of what we buy so the only reason I can think of why our costs are so high is that we pay a big premium for local ingredients (Perth is not a cheap city in spite of the crappy economic situation). My wife tries to buy Aussie ingredients and won't buy products from one particular country unless there is no alternative. The Aussie ingredients are generally way more expensive than imported ones.

I guess we could trim some costs if we simply went for the cheapest option but we'd prefer to buy local stuff if possible. I'd love to get our costs down but I really can't find a way to do it without buying imported (or processed) stuff.

carobinson

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2018, 02:53:42 AM »
Thanks guys.

So as I mentioned, we are only days-new to MMM but are already facinated. We have a lot of work to do!

Food is an area that we feel we can't compromise on much (organic/wholefood/paleo/minimally processed is important to us) but want to make cuts where we can. Eating out has featured prominently up til recently (1-2 times per week) so we are going to try to cut this out as much as possible. When we are at home we homemake 90% of our food.

Our ideas for cutting food costs are:
Bulking out meals with legumes (previously mostly paleo so we were using pretty much none)
Only buying meat that is $15 or less per/kg, but still organic and/or grassfed where possible
Reducing meat intake to 1 meal per day (was previously 2-3 meals per day)
I coordinate a co-op so we can access cheaper prices for organic nuts etc

We still intend to buy mostly organic which straight-up makes things very expensive.

middo

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2018, 03:14:25 AM »
We have three adults at home, as our eldest (23) is back with us.  Sometimes we are 4 when the youngest (18) stays with us too.  We have only once in the last 6 months scored $800 for a monthly food budget, and generally run to about $1000.  A couple of things in this:

1.  We got though a fair bit of coffee as a family and buy quality organic, so about $50 per month home made coffee for us.
2.  We have only really the big two to shop in, as Aldi will only open in Geraldton later in 2018.
3.  I am buying more fish than previously, Basa is $7.00 a kg from Coles at the moment.  Very cheap protein and cooks like snapper.
4.  We have reduced our meat intake, and bought cheaper cuts.
5.  Our local greengrocer is not significantly cheaper than Coles, and the quality is often rubbish, which doesn't make it worthwhile.
 
I hate to think how much we were spending before we started to check our expenses in June 2017.  $30 on steaks for dinner on a Friday night were not uncommon (at home).  Oh, we spent $1300 last month, but a lot of that was Christmas extras, like hams, turkey and extra food for extra mouths to feed.  We haven't needed to shop for anything much other than milk since Christmas though...  Lots of left overs!

williaa5

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2018, 08:36:13 PM »
Chiming in just to add to your data points.
Family of 4 in Brisbane, two teenagers, one of whom does sport training five days per week.  The teenagers eat far more than the adults do.
We spend approx. $1,200 per month, mostly at Aldi with a little bit from Coles.  That includes groceries (e.g. toilet paper, toothpaste) as well as food.
Works out to just over $10 per person per day, which I'm ok with.


HappierAtHome

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2018, 09:55:29 PM »
Our grocery costs have ballooned to 800 - 1000 per month. Yikes. I feel a little ashamed posting that. That's two adults, one baby (formula, occasional disposable nappies to supplement cloth, and he's now eating a significant volume of fruit and veges).

Llewellyn2006

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2018, 12:50:13 AM »
Wow, seeing some of the figures people are quoting doesn't make me feel so bad now (our figure does include other stuff that we get from the supermarket but the bulk is food). As I suspected I think that good food is just really expensive in this country.

Eucalyptus

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2018, 01:14:08 AM »
Last year I was under $70/wk for food, plus $30 for eating out (I've been dating a lot...so its sometimes challenging to keep to $30!).

This is for me, and my pre-school daughter who is with me half time. I don't skimp on fancy fruit for her for kindy.

This year I'm shooting for $60/wk. I have zero doubt I can do it, in fact I'll probably smash it.

-I'm vegetarian at home. I eat eggs and dairy
-I'm getting into rice and bean meals. Super cheap and healthy.
-I'm very careful not to waste fruit and vegetables. I'm getting much better at this!
-make my skim milk from cheap powder.
-oats for breakfast, every single day. Daughter eats them too.
-try and get free eggs from Mum and Dad who have a gaggle of chooks where possible.
-very careful not to stock up on stuff that just ends up sitting in my pantry for years never being used. I only buy pantry stuff on special, usually enough to last a couple of months or more. That way I can easily wait until its on special again.
-don't go to the supermarket hungry...if you do at least do the fruit and veg section first and splurge on nice fruit rather than something worse...

If you are worried about organics, most of the possible health issues are more likely from herbicide use, though in Australia most producers are very careful about this. Vegetables that they were used on are usually washed at the farm. You can also just wash them; they are usually soluble. You could also grow your own leafy greens eg spinach, bok choy, silverbeet etc. As their surface area is highest they would hold the highest amount of herbicide per weight. They are also relatively expensive vs say carrots, peas, potatos, and, easier to grow even on a balcony in pots. Biology and plants don't care whether macro/micronutrients come from ie commercial fertilizers vs manure, so don't worry about that.

Best of luck!

PDM

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2018, 02:24:57 AM »
I'm always jealous of the Americans and their tiny food budget. We're a couple and our weekly shop ranges from $125-$150 at Woolies and a fruit shop. We could eat cheaper but like good quality wholesome food.

The only food related FIRE thing we do is to snap up any reduced to clear meat items and have flexibility to include them in the weekly meal plan.

Bee21

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2018, 04:04:40 AM »
Fam of 4, we usually spend between 150-180  a week on food (incl toiletries, cleaning products). We eat a lot of meat (free range, grass fed) and fruit and veg ( not organic).This January I am doing the uberfrugal challenge, so I am planning to spend 100 a week. 

limeandpepper

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2018, 06:54:30 AM »
I should be properly living with my partner in 2018 and I hope to keep our grocery bills to $500/month or less. So that's about $115/week for two, or $8 per person per day? I just suggested it to him and we both agree it seems doable. Only thing is we'll be in a suburb that's new to us so I'm gonna have to do some exploring to find out where to buy the good cheap stuff!

But yeah Australia isn't like America where apparently you can have a low grocery bill even while eating organic and low-carb. Can't have it all! You gotta pick what's more important to you.

ozbeach

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2018, 03:56:22 PM »
Single and living alone here. Spent $3,600 on groceries last year, or $70 per week. Another $1,000 or $20pw on grog.

Mainly shop at woolies, with the occasional IGA, local butcher etc.

Looking to eat a bit healthier this year and cut back on alcohol.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2018, 06:18:29 PM »
From what I've seen, the organic fruit and vegies is often dramatically more expensive than non-organic.

I'm not paying $18/kg for capsicums of $5 for a bag of onions :)

I have a fruit and veg shop not far from me that is generally very well priced. Coles and Woolies are often very expensive in comparison.

asosharp

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2018, 09:26:41 AM »
I'm single but I actually don't spend much. I spend approximately $20 - $40 a week on food.

The IGA near me also sometimes has some pretty great discounts on 'market goods' which I think are actually like B-grade items or something as I'm not sure how they can justify the price unless  they're just the loss leaders. You can get some really cheap buys ranging from 49c/dozen eggs  to possibly the tallest and biggest bunches of celery that were super cheap. I didn't buy it, my ex-housemate bought it for one of her recipes that needed a lot of it. I kid you not but when she held it up it was almost the entire length of her upper body.

I have been to Aldi twice but to be honest I don't find the price difference that much. Peanut butter for example for the same grams was probably like 10 cents cheaper? Bread was 1c cheaper (yay?).

limeandpepper

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2018, 10:05:06 AM »
The IGA near me also sometimes has some pretty great discounts

I find that IGAs in Perth can actually be pretty good for prices and act more like supermarkets. In Melbourne however they act more like convenience stores and the prices reflect that.

kei te pai

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2018, 11:21:17 AM »
Chipping in from across the ditch. Our food prices are expensive too, compared to the US. However I think the quality is good if you shop carefully, and avoid processed food. The freezer is my friend! I buy meat in the "reduced for quick sale" shelf and freeze it, sometimes dividing into smaller portions first. I also buy big blocks of cheese , cut it up and freeze in approx 200gm portions.
There is always a packet of milk powder in the cupboard, to avoid extra trips to the nearest store. I try to do a big shop fortnightly and only buy fruit and some vegetables in between. There is  plenty in the garden this time of year.
When I was tracking carefully , one of my downfalls was the extra supermarket visits, supposedly for just one or two items. Seems like it was impossible to get out the door without finding another 6 items I "needed". So its better to justnot go.
The only cleaning type products I get are chemico, dishwash liquid and bleach, and they last for ages. Im not squeezing each dollar to death anymore, but the habits have stayed. I still occasionally get mocked for refusing to buy dishclothes and using cotton teeshirts cut up instead, but it also pleases my environmental  as well as economic beliefs.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2018, 10:43:25 PM by kei te pai »

chouchouu

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2018, 01:28:06 PM »
I buy organic but only fron an animale welfare stand point so I'm not strict on it since australian farming practises are quite good compared to other countries. So for example I only buy organic chicken to avoid the hormones regular chickens are fed and because organic goes hand in hand generally with welfar of which the chicken industry is pretty bad with. However for cattle 98% of Australian cattle is pasture fed so that's already organic and high welfare so I don't look to buy "organic" cow. I buy my chicken from aldi since its reasonably priced for organic meat. Fish also is mostly organic since the majority of it is from the ocean. I also don't eat that much meat in the first place, perhaps four times a week. I don't buy organic fruit and veg, having spent a lot of time on farms I didn't see much use of pesticides and most farms were very environment friendly and sustainable. They don't want to use pesticides because they will run off into the creeks they swim in themselves and effect the local environment. It's also costly and farmers are very cost conscious. For our family of four eating organic chicken, free range eggs and regular cow and pig (haven't seen organic pork anywhere) our costs are about 120-150 a week in Sydney. 

givemesunshine

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2018, 07:11:12 PM »
Another Brisbanite here - I spend $80-$100 per week on food and groceries. I try to get my veges/fruit from the markets (I live near Rocklea markets so a great option). I will also buy organic/good welfare meat and Australian sourced seafood. I try to make my meat stretch so I have recently taken to cutting chicken breasts in half (widthwise, so they are thinner) and then either bashing them flat and cutting for thin stir fry strips or making a schnitzel with breadcrumbs and herbs. I also bash and cut my beef thin and stirfry (currently obsessed with korean bbq marinade!). This makes it go further and I fill up on veges and some rice. I also do Meat Free Monday and try to have a vegetarian breakfast and lunch everyday. Mostly for saving money but it's also pretty healthy. I eat quite a lot of fruit and it's not cheap - particularly for berries and stone fruits which I love!

I also buy cheese which is not cheap (halloumi, mozzarella, feta) but life's too short to deny myself deliciousness.

Wish it was cheaper but the quality in Australia is excellent and I love to eat well.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2018, 11:13:50 PM »
Quote
I have been to Aldi twice but to be honest I don't find the price difference that much. Peanut butter for example for the same grams was probably like 10 cents cheaper? Bread was 1c cheaper (yay?).

This is fascinating to me because I have worked it out a few times item by item and we save 10 - 20% on the total shop buying at Aldi (depending on what we're buying that week). I wonder if we're buying completely different groceries?

Eucalyptus

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2018, 04:34:46 AM »
Quote
I have been to Aldi twice but to be honest I don't find the price difference that much. Peanut butter for example for the same grams was probably like 10 cents cheaper? Bread was 1c cheaper (yay?).

This is fascinating to me because I have worked it out a few times item by item and we save 10 - 20% on the total shop buying at Aldi (depending on what we're buying that week). I wonder if we're buying completely different groceries?

Yeah its interesting, some things are cheaper at Aldi, but many things that i buy are the same price elsewhere, especially the bulk pantry things. One thing that's always cheaper for me at Aldi is frozen veg. I'm lucky in that its not too hard for me to go by Adelaide's Central Market at least once a week if I want, for fresh fruit and Veg. Its usually impossible to beat those prices in a supermarket.

Nanna was raving to me today about the Aldi laundry detergent. She loved the powder and this time has tried the liquid and says its even better. Its only 3.79 a litre and is phosphate free. Much cheaper than the Eco brand one I normally get from Woolworths. So I'll be getting that next. Sounds like it does a better job too which is handy.

One thing I'm trying to find at the moment is a good place to buy cheap Brown Rice. I managed to get a big bag of white Sunrice from Woolworths on special for 12c/100g (seems this has now gone up to 14c/100g. Woolworths Long grain in 5kg bags is 13c/100g). Brown Rice is much more expensive. So far it seems like the 1kg Woolworths Select Brown Rice at 23c/100g is the winner. 1kg bags are better as it saves on stupid amounts of bulk buy and lower chance of it going off (more possible with brown rice)

Next I need to convert over to dry beans. I'm sure its cheaper than cans (just less convenient). But I've no idea where is a cheap place to buy. I don't mind buying in bulk online if that's cheapest? So far I like: Kidney Beans, Brown Lentils, Black Eye Beans... Any suggestions?

I've just started using a website to compare prices...
https://www.frugl.com.au

Not sure how up to date or helpful it is though it seems to be good at first glance at comparing prices between Woolworths and Coles. Woolworths and Coles have good online sites now for price checking of their stock. Aldi's of course is terrible and Costco useless (though I've stopped renewing my costco card...no good for me, too bulk, only their nuts are useful but I haven't run out yet...).

SaucyAussie

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2018, 06:39:03 AM »
I'm always jealous of the Americans and their tiny food budget. We're a couple and our weekly shop ranges from $125-$150 at Woolies and a fruit shop. We could eat cheaper but like good quality wholesome food.

Keep in mind that Australian dollars and US dollars are not the same thing.  Not sure how to do a good comparison, but the exchange rate might be a good start. Also minimum wage in US is around $7/hour vs $18/hr in Australia ($23 for casuals!).

I try to eat a Paleo based/Whole30 diet and it does get expensive.  Sometimes I forgo the organic/local meat as it up to three times the price.  I make up for some of the cost by rarely eating out, and cutting back on alcohol.  I sometimes cut out the more expensive ingredients from a recipe if they are not critical, or find a cheaper substitute.

Astatine

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2018, 09:43:11 PM »
@Eucalyptus One of my food shopping goals is to minimise how much we buy from the Big Two (I want diversity in my shops and not just big chains). We tend to get dried legumes from small independent ethnic grocery stores. I'm not sure if it's cheaper or more expensive than from a supermarket but I don't particularly care. Dried legumes make a lot of food so to my mind, it probably doesn't make a lot of difference in the cost per meal if there is $1 or $2 cost difference per 500g.

That said, sometimes the small ethnic shops are cheaper than even Aldi. We buy 2 litres of plain yoghurt for $7 from one particular small shop. Have not seen it cheaper anywhere else.

PDM

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2018, 10:46:41 PM »
I'm always jealous of the Americans and their tiny food budget. We're a couple and our weekly shop ranges from $125-$150 at Woolies and a fruit shop. We could eat cheaper but like good quality wholesome food.

Keep in mind that Australian dollars and US dollars are not the same thing.  Not sure how to do a good comparison, but the exchange rate might be a good start. Also minimum wage in US is around $7/hour vs $18/hr in Australia ($23 for casuals!).


The exchange rate makes their groceries even better value (current $1USD = $1.27AUD).
A comparison would be for a generic basket of groceries from a major retailer, then converted into the single currency.
Something like this:
https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jspcountry1=Australia&country2=United+States

I doubt Australia's comparatively high minimum wage is the sole driver of higher food prices than the US

Eucalyptus

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2018, 04:35:31 AM »
@Eucalyptus One of my food shopping goals is to minimise how much we buy from the Big Two (I want diversity in my shops and not just big chains). We tend to get dried legumes from small independent ethnic grocery stores. I'm not sure if it's cheaper or more expensive than from a supermarket but I don't particularly care. Dried legumes make a lot of food so to my mind, it probably doesn't make a lot of difference in the cost per meal if there is $1 or $2 cost difference per 500g.

That said, sometimes the small ethnic shops are cheaper than even Aldi. We buy 2 litres of plain yoghurt for $7 from one particular small shop. Have not seen it cheaper anywhere else.


Good call. I went past a Chinese grocer in central Adelaide tonight to take a look. They sell various beans and lentils in bulk by the kg (scoop out your own), the prices looked very good. Most were $3-$4 per kg, which is fantastic. Apparently a 400g can of beans is ~115g of dried beans. So a cheap can at 80c works out to $7/kg, but of course with much higher environmental footprint (canning, transporting much heavier hydrated beans and cans).


I still have a couple of cans to get through, then I'll go back and hit them or another store up. There are a few around that would be great to support. There is an area a nice bike ride from here that has quite a few Afghan and middle eastern stores that also look like from the outside that they cater for Indian customers as well. A lot of these people were refugee immigrants, be great to see what they have that I can buy and use.

SaucyAussie

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2018, 06:24:02 AM »
I'm always jealous of the Americans and their tiny food budget. We're a couple and our weekly shop ranges from $125-$150 at Woolies and a fruit shop. We could eat cheaper but like good quality wholesome food.

Keep in mind that Australian dollars and US dollars are not the same thing.  Not sure how to do a good comparison, but the exchange rate might be a good start. Also minimum wage in US is around $7/hour vs $18/hr in Australia ($23 for casuals!).


The exchange rate makes their groceries even better value
(current $1USD = $1.27AUD).
A comparison would be for a generic basket of groceries from a major retailer, then converted into the single currency.
Something like this:
https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jspcountry1=Australia&country2=United+States

I doubt Australia's comparatively high minimum wage is the sole driver of higher food prices than the US

I think you have that backwards - think of it this way - for that equivalent value (US1 = A1.27) in Australian stores you can buy $1.27 worth of goods, but in US stores you can only buy $1.00 worth of goods.  So that $127 grocery visit in Australia will only cost you $100 in the US - but it is actually the same actual value. 

So a $800/mth grocery bill in Australia converted to US dollars would be $630.  The US is still cheaper, but it is not quite as bad as it looks after taking the exchange rate into account.



ooeei

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2018, 06:40:30 AM »
Here are a couple threads where people discuss organic foods, you may find them helpful:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/how-do-you-guys-feel-about-organic-foods/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/organic-vs-conventional-food-prices/


I was all in on the organic train for a few years after college, then after watching a few celebrity chefs and "food people" like Joel Salatin talk about them and diving a bit further into it, decided it wasn't really all it was cracked up to be. There's a huge difference between what the typical person imagines as organic, and what you actually get from a regular grocery store. Maybe the regulations are different in Australia, but in the US I don't think it's even close to worth it. It's almost entirely marketing. The science is also far from conclusive on whether it's better for you or not.

What the science IS clear on is that more fruit and vegetables is better for you. The cheaper those fruit and vegetables are, the more likely you are to buy more of them. The science is also clear that money problems are one of if not the biggest sources of stress for most people/relationships, and stress is generally unhealthy.

Even if we assumed organic is better for you than not, it still has to be better by enough to offset the extra cost associated with it. So far the research shows a negligible difference in quality (can go either way), but a huge difference in price. The average person has around 1,000 other things they can change about their life that will help them more than going organic.


Eucalyptus

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #30 on: January 10, 2018, 03:46:43 PM »
Here are a couple threads where people discuss organic foods, you may find them helpful:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/how-do-you-guys-feel-about-organic-foods/
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/organic-vs-conventional-food-prices/


I was all in on the organic train for a few years after college, then after watching a few celebrity chefs and "food people" like Joel Salatin talk about them and diving a bit further into it, decided it wasn't really all it was cracked up to be. There's a huge difference between what the typical person imagines as organic, and what you actually get from a regular grocery store. Maybe the regulations are different in Australia, but in the US I don't think it's even close to worth it. It's almost entirely marketing. The science is also far from conclusive on whether it's better for you or not.

What the science IS clear on is that more fruit and vegetables is better for you. The cheaper those fruit and vegetables are, the more likely you are to buy more of them. The science is also clear that money problems are one of if not the biggest sources of stress for most people/relationships, and stress is generally unhealthy.

Even if we assumed organic is better for you than not, it still has to be better by enough to offset the extra cost associated with it. So far the research shows a negligible difference in quality (can go either way), but a huge difference in price. The average person has around 1,000 other things they can change about their life that will help them more than going organic.


Concur


Organic and permaculture etc sound all nice and lovely, but the reality is that in order to feed the world and still have an environment left to live it, we need modern conventional large scale agriculture. Modern Ag is efficient on people-power, its efficient on land area. Organic isn't. Yes, "chemicals" can harm the environment as well, however, if we all went totally organic there wouldn't be any natural environment left anyway, as we'd have to clear it all to have our permaculture farms. Also, there'd be much fewer doctors, nurses, school teachers...as far more people would have to be farmers. The natural environment provides a huge amount of "ecosystem services" to agriculture, both modern and organic/permaculture. Things like clean water, clean air, insect control. This doesn't happen if you use it all up for an organic farm. An organic farm doesn't provide clean water supplies in and of itself.


The strong conclusion of everyone I work with in Environmental and Agricultural Sciences is that Modern Ag is the way forward. We are no brainwashed. It just makes sense.

asosharp

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #31 on: January 18, 2018, 04:34:17 AM »
@Eucalyptus One of my food shopping goals is to minimise how much we buy from the Big Two (I want diversity in my shops and not just big chains). We tend to get dried legumes from small independent ethnic grocery stores. I'm not sure if it's cheaper or more expensive than from a supermarket but I don't particularly care. Dried legumes make a lot of food so to my mind, it probably doesn't make a lot of difference in the cost per meal if there is $1 or $2 cost difference per 500g.

That said, sometimes the small ethnic shops are cheaper than even Aldi. We buy 2 litres of plain yoghurt for $7 from one particular small shop. Have not seen it cheaper anywhere else.

I don't mind buying from the big guys, but I do agree that the ethnic supermarkets can sometimes have an advantage on the prices or the quality of goods. I don't frequent them as often, my mum usually goes (she's retired) so she sometimes buys things at the request of me and my siblings. We are Asian, so she prefers to go shopping at oriental shops and we have quite a few that we prefer.

In the city there's a shop that I like for fresh and good quality nuts, grains, and legumes. It's also cheaper. But parking in the city is a hassle so when we go it's usually when we go for dim sum. haha

Quote
I have been to Aldi twice but to be honest I don't find the price difference that much. Peanut butter for example for the same grams was probably like 10 cents cheaper? Bread was 1c cheaper (yay?).

This is fascinating to me because I have worked it out a few times item by item and we save 10 - 20% on the total shop buying at Aldi (depending on what we're buying that week). I wonder if we're buying completely different groceries?

Maybe. I know some IGA's are terrible and like someone said they're more of a convenience store and the prices reflect that. Mine actively has discounts to try and compete against the nearby Coles. I also use Coles as I know what the cheaper stuff is there e.g. pasta noodles. I also prefer their canned tuna and Greenpeace reckons the Coles brand ones are quite good as well. I also get toilet paper from Coles but I've heard that Aldi has a good one called Confidence which is cheaper than Quilton.

We also have an Aldi near us by the way. So I think it's competition competition competition.

middo

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2018, 08:32:55 PM »
We have three adults at home, as our eldest (23) is back with us.  Sometimes we are 4 when the youngest (18) stays with us too.  We have only once in the last 6 months scored $800 for a monthly food budget, and generally run to about $1000.  A couple of things in this:

1.  We got though a fair bit of coffee as a family and buy quality organic, so about $50 per month home made coffee for us.
2.  We have only really the big two to shop in, as Aldi will only open in Geraldton later in 2018.
3.  I am buying more fish than previously, Basa is $7.00 a kg from Coles at the moment.  Very cheap protein and cooks like snapper.
4.  We have reduced our meat intake, and bought cheaper cuts.
5.  Our local greengrocer is not significantly cheaper than Coles, and the quality is often rubbish, which doesn't make it worthwhile.
 
I hate to think how much we were spending before we started to check our expenses in June 2017.  $30 on steaks for dinner on a Friday night were not uncommon (at home).  Oh, we spent $1300 last month, but a lot of that was Christmas extras, like hams, turkey and extra food for extra mouths to feed.  We haven't needed to shop for anything much other than milk since Christmas though...  Lots of left overs!

I thought I would update this, as we have been careful with our purchases of food recently, and my wife is a bit more on board than earlier.

February was $760 on food, $350 on non-food (wow), and $580 on eating out.  My daughter and I drove across the Nularbor and bought meals.

March is shaping up as $700 on food, $200 on non-food groceries, and $200 on eating out.  The eating out figures also includes any alcohol or home brew supplies.

I would think that $700 for food is more than sustainable for 3 adults if we tried a bit harder.  We are not really feeling like we are ever short on good quality food.


Some cheap ideas:
We do a lamb roast on the BBQ, a butterflied hogget leg for around $30 on a Saturday night often.  There is enough meat for Dinner for 3 that night, and 3 more meals afterwards.  Later meals re-use the meat in wraps, which is lettuce, cheese, reheated meat with garlic, tomato, and greek yoghurt.  Wraps are each 1/2 cup of plain flour, a half teaspoon of baking powder, some paprika and some water.  Roll out and throw onto a hot BBQ plate.  Turn when it bubbles and don't over cook (1 minute all up)

Coles basa fillets are $7 per kg.  Lazy meal, get a packet of coles chips ($2 per kg), bake them for 45 minutes and fry the basa in a little butter in a large pan for about 4 minutes each side.  Serve with greek yoghurt.  3 can eat for $5.

Basa fillets can also be used in curries.  I use the recipe from here: https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/fish-recipes/keralan-fish-curry/  We do 1 kg of fish, substitute spring onions for shallots.  We get a number of meals out of it, with a bed of basmati rice under the curry.  Last time it was dinner, and then lunches for 2 for 5 days.  We make ours hot.

Chicken drumsticks from coles are $4 per kg.  A little seasoning like cajun or portugese chicken and half an hour in the oven, and you have a tasty meat to have with baked potatoes, baked onions, baked pumpkin and peas.

Lastly, I have used this coles unerd $10 meal to great effect.  I space out the meat with a bit more pumpkin and penne, but I love it!  https://www.taste.com.au/recipes/curtis-stones-penne-pasta-pan-roasted-butternut-pumpkin-pork-sausages/tn45T04u

Give some of them a go.  And please share your cheap Australian recipes, as I am always looking for more to add to the repertoir.
 

mspym

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #33 on: March 29, 2018, 07:49:58 PM »
Data point: we average $250 a week for 2 adults and two part-time teen boys who are hitting the HUNGER stage. We have a small mall nearby which has a Woolworths (for the loss-leaders), an Aldi, a really good greengrocer (which is also where I pick up bulk legumes, dried fruit/nuts/and anything deli), a great butcher and a place that only sells chicken. We are not really squeezing every penny but are definitely choosing what to purchase from each location based on a price/quality metric. I don't really buy meat from either supermarket- the butcher & the chicken shop are better, but there is some competition between woolworths/aldi & the greengrocer which I take advantage of.

I know it's not The Most Frugal approach but I am ok with it as I include time & effort required in my calculations. By comparison with most of the shopping trolleys I observe, we are doing ok, particularly on the ratio of ingredients to pre-prepared food.

limeandpepper

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #34 on: June 30, 2018, 07:46:22 AM »
Just coming back to this thread because I tracked my expenditure for June and I've only spent about $140 for groceries for the month (and about $55 for eating out), which is a lot less than I expected. This is just for me, my partner spends more. What surprises me is that I don't feel like I've been skimping on this amount, I've been buying things like chorizo, feta, and green tea ice cream from the supermarket for example, but I buy them when they're on special. The meals I've been cooking for dinner this month has been predominantly Asian, Mexican, Greek and Italian, so a good and tasty selection. It will be interesting to see how much I spend next month!

Grogounet

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #35 on: July 02, 2018, 07:49:14 PM »
To keep groceries to an acceptable level while eating good:
- Download Ywaste app and get to the store just before closing
- Put my kids and I to the community gardens - $50 for the whole year and usually get a day's dish out of our working bee days
- head to the local markets just before they close at 12pm and always get a good bargain

limeandpepper

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #36 on: July 02, 2018, 08:00:28 PM »
- Download Ywaste app and get to the store just before closing

I have the Ywaste app but haven't really seen any really great deals yet, just cheaper takeaway food and they're all too far away for me to be bothered with it anyway. :\

Grogounet

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #37 on: July 02, 2018, 08:05:55 PM »
Haaaa you've seen the good old sumo discounts have you? (I hate sumo BTW)
I guess it depends where you live

limeandpepper

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #38 on: July 02, 2018, 08:21:33 PM »
Yeah I'm in Melbourne and so far it's mostly CBD and inner north cafes offering deals on the app.
So I've been using the Half Price app for groceries (covers Coles, Woolies, IGA) instead and it's been brilliant for me for certain items, I still shop outside of the major supermarkets for other stuff as well, especially fruits and veggies.

Anatidae V

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Re: Australian Food
« Reply #39 on: July 03, 2018, 02:53:30 AM »
We've been spending 800-1000/month on groceries and 200-400 on work lunches & takeaway, for 2 adults and 1 baby and an extra adult 2 days/week who buys us steak and brings fresh free range eggs (my mum stays with us to babysit). Not much I can do about my husband's lunches, but if I ever get the energy it might be worthwhile checking prices between our local Coles vs IGA.