Food

Tom Kerridge's top tips for saving money when cooking

It's not every day you get cooking tips from a top chef like Tom Kerridge!

Tom Kerridge

Tom Kerridge shares his top tips on saving money at the supermarket

Tom Kerridge has made a name for himself in the world of posh nosh. His pub in Marlow was the first ever to be awarded two Michelin stars. But Kerridge also believes food should be an experience for all the family, and he’s not afraid of hearty grub for which pubs are known. 

Not only is Kerridge a top chef, he is also a dad and a campaigner. Alongside footballing star Marcus Rashford, he launched the Full Time Meals campaign last year in a bid to stop children going hungry.

They share easy, nutritious and cheap recipes to help families, and have shared them with the Big Issue.

Kerridge said: “I grew up in a single parent household on a council estate. My mum worked two jobs and times were difficult and money was tight. So if Marcus and I can make even the smallest difference, then it will mean everything to us.”

As the cost of living crisis spirals, poverty is set to soar and millions are scrambling to find cheap ways to feed their families.

Kerridge has previously called for “robust” measures to help disadvantaged children. And now, as part of the Big Issue’s Summer Survival Guide, he has shared his top tips for saving money when you cook.

You might not be serving your family fancy food worthy of a Michelin star but, as Kerridge says, there’s nothing wrong with some good old grub. Here are Kerridge’s tips to note down before you head to the supermarket.

Save money when cooking by trying different cuts of your favourite proteins

Consider trying different cuts of your favourite proteins. You might find out that you actually prefer them! For example, chicken thighs are cheaper than breasts and they have a more intense, rich flavour. 

Make broccoli stems into homemade pesto

Kerridge suggests you reduce waste by keeping the steps of your broccoli and making homemade pesto. Broccoli stalks are often thrown out because people don’t realise they’re edible. But why chuck it away? Simply chop and blend the stems with nuts or seeds, cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, and some lemon and you’re good to go. Check out Kerridge’s recipe for homemade pesto here. 

You decide when food goes off – not the packaging

Kerridge says: “Always go by use by dates, don’t throw away produce on its best before date – you can be the judge on if your food is okay to eat.” 

Waitrose has actually scrapped best before dates on more than 500 fresh food products to encourage customers to be the judge of when their food has gone off instead of the packaging.

Marija Rompani, sustainability director at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “We want our customers to use our own judgement to decide whether a product is good to eat or not which, in turn, will increase its chances of being eaten and not going to waste.”

Get the early evening supermarket discounts

Supermarkets often reduce items in the early evening or late afternoon to shift food that is set to expire that day or the following day. Products will typically be branded with yellow stickers, and you can get good food for a much cheaper price. 

Each supermarket will vary on the time they start discounting food, but once you’ve got a rough idea of when your supermarket does it, you can plan your shop around that. Some supermarkets will have an aisle specifically for reduced food – so scout your local out. 

Write a shopping list

We know it’s a slog and seems to take far more time than it’s worth, but Kerridge says it’s important to write a shopping list. This will stop you from perusing all the other aisles in the supermarket, and you’ll be less likely to be tempted to spend money on things you don’t actually need. 

Don’t over-season your meals for batch freezing

Kerridge says: “If you’re batch freezing your meals make sure not to over-season with salt and chilli as these spices become stronger over time.”

So save the spices and salt for now – you can add them later when the meal’s all dished up on your plate!

Save money when cooking by buying frozen fish

Fresh fish is about 35 per cent more expensive than frozen, according to Kerridge, but it doesn’t have any added nutritional value. Head to the freezer aisle to get your fish and you’ll save money. 

Make lists of any wasted food

“It’s useful to make a list each week with the best before dates of your perishables to avoid waste,” Kerridge says, “then make another list of your wasted food at the end of the week so you can reduce the unnecessary quantities in future.”

Check how much the product costs by weight

When buying any kind of food, the secret to saving is to check how much the product costs by weight. Generally, large single items will usually be better value than multipacks – but check before you buy. The price per weight is usually printed on the product ticket underneath the product on the shelf.

Here’s our Summer Survival Guide, which we will update regularly with new articles and tips on making sure your kids have a fun summer without breaking the bank

Get involved with the conversation on social media and share all your tips and advice for families using the #SummerSurvivalGuide

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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