Thursday, 12 September 2013

Beating The Big Two /end rant

We walk into the supermarket, with very little thought of where things came from or how they get there. We just throw them in our basket or trolley, and keep walking. Does anyone remember when Bob Katter declared that Coles and Woolworths have 80% of the market share? Well I'm sad to say but it's (pretty much, the figure varies from 70-80%) true. Our Big Two own such a huge part of our market that they can decide how much to charge for things, with very few ramifications. Remember the $1 milk debacle? Do you know how many local dairy farmers were forced out of business? No, neither do I, and I bet most of Australia doesn't realise how bad things are for our local farmers. Our amazing fragile planet has only so much to offer. We need to try and live in a sustainable way and cause as minimal impact on the planet as we can.

When you think about it, the fresh produce sold in The Big Two, could come from anywhere, and be as old as they like. Ever bought an apple, thinking it looked delicious, fresh and shiny, only to get home, take a nice big bite, and get that horrid floury taste? Yeah I hate it too. So what do I do about it? A few things actually:

Shop Locally - 
We know that The Big Two are massive chain super markets, so why not shop at IGA or Ritchies? These are small locally owned business. Most of the time they put money back into the community as well, so it's a win win. Yes, sometimes it might be more expensive, but you're only buying what you actually need, there are no isles dedicated to tricking you into needing DVDs, or cookbooks and other useless items. 

Shop Smart - 
There are other cheaper super markets that you can visit for your weekly or fortnightly grocery shop. My favourite is Aldi. They keep costs down by supplying their own brands, and they don't skimp on the quality. I love walking through the isles and getting almost everything I need. The only things I sometimes find it hard to buy are the fresh food, but that's mainly because they're out of stock by the time I get there. 

Shop Fresh - 
There's nothing as exciting as walking into the market early in the morning, seeing all the hustle and bustle of stall holders trying to sell their wares. I absolutely adore shopping at the market for my fresh fruit and veg. I get to make a joke and get to know the market people. I always get a good deal on my bananas, because I'm not afraid to haggle the price. I know, when I'm shopping at the market, that everything is fresh and delicious. The market is a great way to connect to the local community. You'll always get what's in season, so you know it's fresh, and haven't been stored in cool storage.

Shop Organically - 
The less chemicals we use now, the smaller the ramifications later. I don't want my children or I to be immune to penicillin because we ate too many food items with pesticides! There are plenty of independent organic stores around Melbourne. I'm not saying you have to do your weekly shopping there, but try a few things out every now and then.

Shop Online - 
You can find some of the most amazing things online! From online grocers to vegan female hygiene products. Whatever your cup of tea, you'll be able to find it online. You might have to pay a little extra for postage or delivery, but just think of it as replacing your petrol costs, car maintenance, and time used to actually shop for these things. 

Don't Shop, Grow - 
Our supermarkets are stocked with items from around Australia. This stock is delivered on the back of huge trucks. If the trucks stop (be it strike, petrol shortage etc) our shelves will go empty. So why not think ahead now, and grow some of your own fresh produce. Don't panic and think you have to grow a whole garden full of every type of fruit and veg. Just try a couple of easy things to start with, like tomatoes and strawberries. When you're comfortable with growing those, try your hand at other plants, like kale, pumpkin, potato and beans? It can be something as simple as a lemon tree in the back yard! Every little step helps.

So I hope I've given you something to think about, and some ideas on getting started.

Good luck and may the force be with you!

Jayde xx