The first food shop!

It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I approached Waitrose, Biggin Hill this afternoon. Not something that usually happens as I actually quite like grocery shopping and thinking up what tempting meals I can put in front of the family for the week.Waitrose

This week however was the first time I had ever set foot into a shop determined to only buy things produced in the UK and I am astonished that it was not more difficult. Thankfully any items that were Waitrose own brand were clearly labelled with where they were produced, and whether they were produced in a single country or in multiple countries.

Non Waitrose things were more difficult and there were some items that I went without as I couldn’t find an obvious manufacture location. I w as astounded how far and wide our shopping used to come from.

The back of the carrots clearly showing that they were produced in the UK. Good on you Waitrose for making this easy ūüôā

As we have yet to¬†officially¬†start our challenge (1st Jan), I must admit that, as we have just moved house, the larder is not quite all I would like it to be and so there were a few little staples that found their way into the trolley to be used sparingly through the year. Things such as soy sauce, Dijon mustard (a Unilever brand!), rice wine vinegar, sunflower oil (although I fully intend to spend time later on today finding a true British source of oil to keep us going for the rest of the year) and Clementines (as they are my little boy’s¬†favorite¬†and he is currently poorly).

One thing I found very¬†intriguing¬†was how difficult it was to find British bread flour. The flour that I would normally buy was made in multiple countries and at 66p makes bread making well worth the effort, as you get a delicious home baked loaf for about 50p of ingredients. However the only bread flour I could find was one produced by The¬†Women’s¬†Institute and at ¬£1.79. Although not making home bread production expensive, it does make it more of a¬†luxury. There was also no yeast to be bought that was made in the UK, so as a result I will be creating my own culture over the next few weeks in the hope that as the year progresses it will help to keep me in fresh bread.

It may sound as though I am blowing the trumpet of one supermarket and not testing out others, especially as we have a Tesco, Sainsburys and a Morrisons all relatively local. I will be testing them all in the weeks to come to how well they compare to what really was a trauma free first shop (Stay posted).

Although the fridge is fairly chock full, there are many items I would not normally buy and some that I have had to swap to something similar. Butternut squash for example has been exchanged for the tougher skinned squashes that can survive here over the winter. Parsnips are not something I would normally buy but as we were a little short on veg I have decided it might be a taste we should¬†acquire. One the fruit front, we may not be sad to see the end of apples and pears as they are the only thing available that’s British. However, as James commented there are many farm shops where they sell frozen fruit which is still British!

Looking forward to starting to receive the Abel and Cole fruit and veg boxes as of the 8th Jan and I’ll blog to let you know how it goes filtering out the non British. Otherwise a very Happy New Year to you all and we’ll see you on the British side.

– Emily



  1. Emily, I thought of your blog this morning when I posted my How to Make Clotted Cream. Here in the US we don’t have as many choices in cream as you do. Your double cream is much richer than our heaviest “heavy whipping cream.” My usual brand of organic cream is ultra-pasteurized, which won’t do for clotted cream, so I found two brands of local organic cream that was just pasteurized rather than ultra-pasteurized. One had a fat content of 35%, which is typical in the US, and the other had a surprising 40%, still not up to what you have in the UK. Worked beautifully, though, I’m happy to say.

    • We are very lucky in some ways in the UK with the range and quality of our dairy products. I personally love an traditional cream tea… I imagine that this was your intended use?

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