Here’s a challenge. Trying to spend less on your weekly shop, while coping with rising food prices AND still making sure your family eats healthy food. It’s a tough one.

Have you ever looked at all the ready meals or packaged stuff in your trolley and wondered whether you could make it yourself? From scratch? Would it work out cheaper? Would it be healthier? In other words, would it be worth it?

What Consumer has carried out a unique and comprehensive study, comparing the cost of typical pre-packaged or ready meals with the costs associated with making the same dish from scratch. The study looked at 50 family favourites from Toad in the Hole to Sweet and Sour Sauce to Bakewell Tart, and found some surprising results. The results of the money saving study can be found here.

Why make from scratch?

  • Home-made quantities generally yield larger amounts and will contain higher percentages of meat or fish per serving.
  • You control exactly what goes in. There is no excessive addition of salt or sugar, no bulking agents, and no artificial additives to improve taste and appearance such as acids, stabilisers or emulsifiers.
  • Salt and sugar are used as natural preservatives to help keep food longer. One is often used to counteract the other which is why foods can contain such high amounts of both.
  • Canning and bottling often involve pasteurization which subjects the food to high temperatures to kill off any harmful microorganisms. However, this process also kills vitamins and creates a rather synthetic taste which also suppresses natural flavour.
  • You can choose to incorporate better quality, or organic ingredients. Pre-packaged or ready meals don’t give you the choice.
  • Let’s face it’s not only more healthy but it is just so much more satisfying!

Also check out our top ten money saving tips for food shopping