I have ethical problems with buying at the supermarket. Aside from the fact that supermarkets sell so much processed food, I have problems with how much market share they have, and with how they wield the power that comes with having what’s basically a duopoly in Australia. I have problems with the kind of food they sell, and how they market that food.
So after reading an article in The Guardian about how one journalist went supermarket-free for a year, I’ve decided that my family is going to give it a go. For three months, we’ll stay out of the supermarket and shop locally, online, and independently.
While we do already buy a lot of our food away from the supermarket, some of this is going to be a challenge. Toilet paper, for example. Where am I going to get toilet paper that’s made from recycled paper if I don’t buy it at the supermarket? And what about the organic butter and the jars of passata that I usually buy at Aldi?
We already buy our fruit and vegetables at the local greengrocer, but I’d like to buy more at our local farmers’ markets. The same with meat. I always buy buy grass fed, free range meat at the local butchers, and we don’t eat a lot of meat anyway. We’re lucky enough to get a lot of fish from my dad, who’s a keen fisherman. I buy bread from farmers’ markets or our local sourdough bakery. We get organic milk and dairy products delivered, although I still buy yoghurt at the supermarket because I haven’t found one I like that can be delivered.
We have four pets, and I buy their food at our lovely local pet store and at the butchers. The few cleaning products that we use, I buy from Hello Charlie. The same with personal care products.
Other things are going to be a little more problematic. We eat lots of nuts, which we buy in kilo packs at the supermarket, and then there’s things like feta cheese, which I buy in tubs because it keeps longer. Vegemite? Flour? Porridge oats? Tea? Crackers? I can see I’ve got some research to do, and I’m going to have to get better at planning ahead.
As my husband quite rightly asked, what’s the point of this? Are we just trying to avoid supermarkets? Can we buy organic stuff from the supermarket, to try to encourage supermarkets to stock more organic products? Can we use wholesalers like Costco? Are we trying to save money by buying in bulk? So many questions, so many things to think about.
Join me and my family as we see whether it’s possible to live supermarket-free for three months.
Image credit: Cyril Caton on Flickr
Could you go supermarket free? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!