The Healing Plate

How to save on food costs with rising inflation

grocery store

Sarah Bullard (Registered Dietician) and Rentia Greyvenstein (Registered Dietician).

According to the New Zealand Food Price Index, prices have been up by almost 8% in the past year.

You weren’t wrong when you thought your bill seemed higher. Grocery prices’ annual increase is the highest in a decade. In 2022, food prices were 0.7% higher in March compared to February.

The foods that are most affected by inflation right now:

  1. Meats, poultry, and fish (up 8.7%)
  2. Fruit and vegetables (up 18%)
  3. Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices (up 5.1%)
  4. Non-alcoholic beverage prices (up 2.7%)

poll of 1,000 Kiwis through email and social media found that 98% were worried about the cost of groceries in New Zealand. They were making changes to their shopping as a result.

More than 84% of Kiwis have said they had removed items from their usual weekly shop because of cost. In 2019, a family of four living in Aukland averaged $395 on groceries. The same trip would cost at least $427 now.

How to eat healthy on a tight budget

Your monthly budget is also likely to feel the effects of increased fuel prices, electricity, and clothing. Don’t despair, and you don’t need to switch to a diet of Ramen noodles. You can still eat healthy on a budget.

Start by evaluating your monthly food budget. Look at what you currently spend on food. Where is most of your food budget going? What types of foods are you purchasing? Where can you make changes? If you want to save money on food, here are a few tips that can help:

Buy fresh fruit and vegetables from local markets.

Those who follow the Healing Plate’s posts know we buy at the Grey Lynn Farmer’s Market. These markets are usually cheaper than the store because they cut out the middleman. By changing where you buy your vegetables and fruit, you will focus on the low-hanging fruit and easily cut down on your grocery budget

Organic vegetables are often comparable to supermarket prices and sometimes even cheaper! Most of the pesticide-free produce is more affordable than at the local supermarkets.

Grow some of your vegetables.

Start with ones you like, and that are easy to grow. Grow cherry tomatoes or lettuce in a pot or container. The taste of freshly picked vegetables can’t compete with store-bought.

Save money with DIY snacks.

Make your snack packs with cheese, meat, dried fruit, nuts, or whole-grain crackers. Hard-boiled eggs stay fresh in their shell for one week in the fridge. Pair that with an orange or banana. Pick a protein source and fruit, vegetable, or whole-grain carbohydrate.

Try this recipe this week for a healthy, cheap option.

You can find more recipes here.

Come back for the next post with some more tips on saving money at the grocery store!