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How do you do your weekly shop? / What's your meal planning process?


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I do all the cooking in my household. Every Saturday or Sunday morning I make a note of things we need on my phone using a Google Keep checklist that is shared with my wife so that she can add stuff to it throughout the week. Before going to the shop, I have to think about what I'm going to cook for the next 5-6 nights and I write this down in a separate Google Keep note. This is what typically takes the most time, as if I want to cook something new I'll have to look up recipes and find stuff to eat that I can cook in a reasonable amount of time one a weeknight after a long day at work, and which I can find the ingredients for. Once I've chosen what we're going to eat for the next week, I add all the ingredients to the list for each meal, then I look in the fridge and cupboards and make a note of everything else we're missing.

 

After that it's off to the shop (almost always Lidl, sometimes Aldi - both are about ten minutes from where I live), usually with my toddler in tow. I whip round as quickly as possible, checking items off the list as I go, normally adding a few extras here and there if I fancy them or if they're on offer.

 

Once that's done, it's back in the car and home, then I have to put everything away, moving older stuff to the front of the cupboard/fridge so that it gets used first. I tend to go out mid-morning, so after everything's away it's normally time to make lunch.

 

I'd say the whole process takes at least two hours out of my weekend, and that doesn't include any actual cooking. I've been doing it like this for the better part of a decade now and it's getting to be a bit of a ball ache. The meal planning thing I've been doing for the last year or so, and while it adds to the time I have to spend thinking about food shopping, when I didn't used to do this I'd end up getting home from work then scrabbling about trying to make a meal, which was more stressful. It takes a bit of extra time, but I prefer doing it this way.

 

However, is there a way I can streamline the process? I think online shopping would be the biggest time-saver, but I'm not convinced by it for a few reasons: Lidl and Aldi don't do online shopping, so I'm left with more expensive shops; when I've done it in the past the quality of the veg hasn't been great and I've had multiple substitutions for things I normally wouldn't buy, or there have been required ingredients missing; and it gets my son out of the house for 45 minutes or so to give my wife a break. I also oddly enjoy doing the food shop, choosing the stuff, seeing what they've got, feeling productive, spending some time with the boy.

 

I think what I'm really after is a way to expedite my meal planning. All of the meals I make each week stay on the aforementioned Google Keep note once they've been checked off my list, so there's a bank there I can pick and mix from depending on what my wife and I fancy that week. I've also got a 'Recipes' bookmark folder that I save stuff to, and, again, I'll typically choose a couple of things to make again from that list each week. It's mostly the new recipes that are a pain. I use BBC GoodFood a lot, but even with the filter options you'll often find stuff that takes too long to cook or is to faffy when you've got to have a meal on the table within an hour of coming through the front door. Other recipe sites seem absolutely chock full of adverts and seem to hide the actual recipe at the bottom of the page after numerous paragraphs of text and auto-playing videos. It pisses me off.

 

What do you do?

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I just go to the shop and buy stuff. 

 

There's no real plan, I just buy what I fancy to last me a few days. 

 

I tend to have stuff in the house that's long life or frozen to make sure I can always make a meal, and then I go through phases of eating different things so I'll be buying a lot of avocados for a few months, things like that.

 

If I've always got garlic, canned tomatoes, pasta & basil I can always make dinner. 

 

I've been making cacio e pepe a lot recently too, it's super quick and all stuff I keep in. 

 

I've got tofu in the freezer and noodles so I can make ramen or chow mein or whatever, I grow my own chillis and herbs as well as keeping spring onions growing on my window ledge which helps with that. 

 

Tortillas in the freezer and black beans in the cupboard means I can make tacos or quesadillas. 

 

I rarely ever write anything down or follow recipes so things fall out of fashion and I stop making them or I pick up something new. 

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We have about three approaches. 

 

We buy pretty much all of our groceries from Ocado. 

 

Approach one is to just book a delivery, and add the stuff we usually buy. We tend to just have an idea of what meat and veg we like and have a vague idea of what we might fancy, whether we're trying to keep it healthy and so on. Like Gaz basically, we just get enough decent veg and meat that I can decide on the recipe later. The way I consider myself a good cook is not because I'm amazing at signature dishes but just because I like adapting and figuring out what will work together. 

 

Approach two is we actually make a spreadsheet of meals for each day and then when we have that list scan through to extract a list of ingredients, which we paste into ocado. They have a multi line search function that helps here. This works well because we might push ourselves to try more things or new recipes while we compile the list. But it also means we consolidate common ingredients across the recipes and ensure we can get economies of scale. For example if we are trying something new that involves courgettes then we might have a pasta dish another day knowing we can pad it out with the rest of the courgettes. 

 

Approach two has the benefit of being a bit more efficient and less likely to forget you had some veg in stock until you find it rotting at the back of the fridge. And I find with my random buying approach we tend to lean on our tried and tested safe meals and get a bit less adventurous. But then the planning takes time and is boring and can take a bit of the fun of impulsively buying things that are new and in season and deciding based on what you fancied that night.

 

Approach three is in my spare time I'm building a Web app which is a more advanced mix of the two. When we are calorie counting using my fitness pal to calculate stuff is a fucking ball ache. And I tend to forget when I invent great new recipes. So I want my own personal database of often used ingredients that I can cross reference with my own personal database of recipes. I can choose to build a recipe focused shopping list or a food plan of recipes based on what I bought randomly. Its gonna be great but I am not spending much time building it. In my defense I'm moving house this week and things have been stressful.  

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Kind of the same. I do most of the cooking and we make a menu of what we want the for the week ahead and then anything we need specifically for it goes on the lost along with replacement things (as in when you've used the last of something it goes on the list).

 

We find this was there is very little food waste as we buy exactly what we plan to use. Of course the list is split between cold / fruit & veg / meat & fish and ambient. I hate ending up at one side of the store only to remember I need some veggies from the first aisle. I'm not crazy enough to alphabetise or sort by aisle ;)

 

I did toy with using an app but to be honest pen and paper just works - why over-engineer?

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1 hour ago, new666uk said:

I did toy with using an app but to be honest pen and paper just works - why over-engineer?

 

Because I'm a developer and building the app is fun...but no I wouldn't use an app either. I think they have so much bloat and won't get a simple job done, they all want to consume your lifestyle, hence why I'm building my own.

 

All these apps either have adverts, they don't work the way I want to, they have to "add value" by doing community engagement or sharing recipes online etc. My fitness pal does calorie counting relatively well but they're constantly trying to get me to do every aspect of health and recording weight loss and signing up and everything. I just want such a small part of it. There's no way to translate it into a shopping list.

 

For me I want to just build such a simple thing. Just a database of recipes and ingredients, and dates. They all interlink: A date can have a recipe. A recipe can have ingredients by weight. An ingredient has calories per gram. Thus out the other end comes a total of calories and a shopping list. Job done. It's this part that is time consuming and difficult with a pen and paper, or even a spread sheet, and the plan is I get to just browse my own collection of recipes I've found and copied or invented and just go "I fancy this on Tuesday" and know what to buy. 

 

The calorie thing is secondary actually but when we do count we do so well at not putting on weight and feeling healthier. It's relevant to this thread because I find that when we have a fairly thorough meal plan we eat well and don't over do it. When we live day to day figuring out what to eat we end up potentially stringing together a collection of carb heavy lazy meals. So I do think meal planning helps a bit. But calorie counting feels like it sucks the joy out of cooking so my hope is that with a bit of forethought by the planning phase and a bit of judgement about amounts before we do a weekly shop, when I'm actually in the kitchen I'm broadly hitting the right amount based on what we had for lunch and what we're having that week. 

 

If I ever get to a MVP I'll open source and share it, I'm building it with Strapi and Vue. It's actually really fun, I've been spending about 30 mins a day on it before my morning standup while I drink my coffee. So it goes slow, but it's coming along.

 

 

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Whenever I get inspiration for an idea of what to cook I add it to a big list on Google keep. When it comes to shopping I look at the big list and then pick a few things I want to cook from the list and create a shopping list, then I buy said things at the supermarket.

 

Simple.

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Thanks to the replies, all. It's comforting to hear that several people do things similar to the way I do them.

 

@cowfields, how expensive is Ocado? More than the supermarket or the same? I've heard they're supposed to be good when it comes to online deliveries.

 

9 hours ago, new666uk said:

 

I did toy with using an app but to be honest pen and paper just works - why over-engineer?

 

Using Google Keep works well for me as I've always got my phone in my pocket and the app saves what I've previously checked off the list, so I can scroll through it and add the weekly essentials that I always buy pretty quickly and easily. I've shared it with my wife so she can add stuff to it as well. Same for the Keep note I use for meals: I can scroll through what I've previously cooked and just re-check them to add those meals to this week's checklist.

 

I think I just need to spend an evening adding a load of recipes to my bookmark folder that I know I can make quickly of an evening and be able to find all the ingredients for. This is an issue with shopping at Aldi/Lidl: they don't always have everything I need and I end up having to go into Sainsbury's/Tesco as well.

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I do it all online with Morrisons, I got a midweek pass which gives me free delivery any time Tue, Wed and Thur. The pass was 35 quid for a year but worth is as the cheapest delivery slots were  £1 or £1.50 and saves on petrol and time going shopping.

 

I place an order every week for three weeks in advance, usualIy I add 6 bags of cat litter to make up the minimum order of 40 quid to reserve the time slot and edit it in the week before adding stuff as needed.

 

 

 

 

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@Jamie John ocado can be expensive as they offer some fancy brands. Natoora, Daylesford, even some M&S stuff can be pricey. With the first two though you are getting more for your money. Not just quality but better provenance, better organic stuff.

 

But Ocados own brand stuff is cheap like any supermarkets own brand and their big brands are probably on par. I don't know really. I think the wider choice allows you to spend what you want. 

 

For example they've got Hawksmoor steaks on which are pricey but amazing quality. We'll get a big one and share it, but then the rest of the meals might be cheaper and less decadent, it's nice to have the choice. 

 

The main thing is doing it online and having a delivery. I absolutely hate shopping in a supermarket and can't think why anyone wouldn't shop online given the option. Pandemic never changed that attitude, we were using ocado for a while before., 

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Ocado used to price match their own brand products to Tesco and issue vouchers if you paid more, they stopped this recently but reduced a lot of prices on those products and with Smartpass you get a lot of other offers for 10% off a variety of products (not just Ocado own).

 

That said I'd never recommend them as a value/budget option. I would though 100% recommend them as a brilliant reliable online shop, all thru lockdown they've been perfect for us and as a longstanding customer really did right by us.

 

For building orders we have a recurring weekly delivery slot where the site takes a first guess a month in advance at making a placeholder order for you, which it refines over time as gets a better idea of what you order every week - it only places this order though in the first place, then its down to you to amend it but its a good start and stops you needing to add the basics in every week.

 

Our orders are a combo of specific things I want to cook but then a good spread of stuff that I can use in a variety of ways, if you have a decent stock cupboard of spices and things like tinned toms then having chicken breasts & onions ordered every week opens up a whole world of curry/Italian/mexican etc.

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We've turned into proper middle class wankers since Covid-19 started. Weekly food delivery from Waitrose, fruit and veg from one of those suppliers that pivoted to doing home deliveries when their usual restaurant trade dried up, and two meals a week from Mindful Chef. Haven't been in a supermarket for a year now.

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we go online, flipping between Sainsburys and Ocado. Honestly I have to say my wife does 99% of it and I'm relieved because we'd eat so much worse if I had to be in charge of it. I'm hopeless at planning and find the siren call of whatever's on offer at the short-dated section irresistible. 

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17 hours ago, RaoulSilva said:

I do it all online with Morrisons, I got a midweek pass which gives me free delivery any time Tue, Wed and Thur. The pass was 35 quid for a year but worth is as the cheapest delivery slots were  £1 or £1.50 and saves on petrol and time going shopping.

 

This is one of those things that I think more people are realising. Having perhaps been forced into using online delivery, and maybe resenting the delivery charge at first - that hang about - this is actually pretty good value. Even if you pay 4 or 5 quid for a one-off delivery that's probably saved you a quid or two in petrol and at least half an hour of your time (my time is worth at least what I'm paid an hour, double that for things I don't like). The thing that was noticeable after the first lockdown ended was that there was just no slowdown of orders. People who'd done it out of necessity just kept on doing it. At my Sainsbury's we're currently doing 29,000 items a day in orders every day, which used to be run-up-to-Christmas type numbers. The new store manager wants to push this up closer to 40K (which is insane). But the demand is absolutely there.

 

As an online shopper I'm biased, but if I wasn't one I'd totally do it. However, I do finish every day's work in a supermarket, so I can just pick up a few bits before I leave each day - so that's how I do my shopping. The brilliant thing is I know by then what things are on special offer, so will have a short list scribbled on the back of my hand. The bad thing is I get easily lured by things I love that other people have ordered, so that also goes on the list. Ooh - fig rolls, good choice! Scribble, scribble.

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My partner does the meal planning (and is very good with it) and we just put an Ocado and Riverford order through each week. Plan for 7 days worth of meals, with the freezer/takeaway as a bit of a backup. While the veg box is a bit more expensive it certainly seems to be considerably fresher than supermarket veg and as such lasts a lot longer. It tastes better too, as an added bonus. My partner does seem to hoard cookbooks, which isn't ideal, but she does make an effort to ensure we have a few new meals each week.

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In the spring/ summer/ autumn I buy a week’s worth of meat, and a week’s worth of vegetables, and then chuck stuff on the grill when I get out of work. I have a retractable awning that is fire retardant so I can even do it when it’s raining. Winter is a different story and a bit of a faff
 

I used to meal prep lunches for work but I’ve gotten sick of it so I just take a double scoop of protein shake to work and add water and mix it at lunchtime. The car industry is so fast-paced in the good months that I barely have time to take a piss, let alone stand by the microwave and subsequently masticate and swallow food

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We do a big shop about once a month and then my partner does top ups and trips to the veg market. He enjoys it and I don't. Tends to be the usuals plus a small list for any specific meals I feel like making. We're both pretty good as making meals out of whatever but it can get a bit boring, so I try and include some new meals each week.

 

I did use to do online shopping and Tesco was my preferred one. Just seemed like the best balance of value, service and good picks, you can also save shopping lists so have a basic one that you add to or alternate ones from different weeks associated with a meal plan. I think any cost difference between that and Lidl or Aldi is off-set by being able to properly compare unit prices, plans meals to avoid waste or the need for top up shops and not buy extra stuff.

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I'm a designer at Waitrose and researching this exact thing at the moment, so this is a timely thread! I'm specifically looking at how/when people make their free-text shopping lists and how they use them when they shop online or in-store, and if those lists differ.

 

Most people I've spoken to seem to keep some kind of weekly shopping list on a notepad or in the kitchen or on their phone, which other family members can add to. They then cross stuff off as they shop (whether that be online or in-store) and clear down the list after each shop, with things that were out-of-stock being left on there for the next time they shop. The big pain points with this approach is stuff not being in aisle-order when you're in the supermarket, meaning zig-zagging around, and how you tick stuff off the (paper) list when your hands are busy with the trolley/basket. With a digital list, the problem is constantly unlocking the screen and the worry about dropping the phone or it getting nicked as it's constantly in and out of your pocket or bag.

 

Like @emerald fox I make extensive use of the 'Lists' function that several supermarket websites have - I have a list for each of our staple meals so once I've made a meal plan for the week I can easily add any required ingredients to the trolley. I can highly recommend this if you regularly have the same dinners!

 

I use the Notes or Reminders app on my iPhone to add stuff to a free-text list as it runs out, or as I think of it. I use Siri to do this, which is great as it's often when I'm dashing around the kitchen and don't want to unlock my phone, open the app, type it in etc. Then that free-text list is pasted into the multi-search function when it comes time to shop. When I'm shopping I'll make a second list of things to check in the kitchen that might be low/empty.

 

A run through the 'Favourites' list that the website keeps is a good way to prompt for anything that I might've forgotten.

 

I'm sure there are ways to streamline this a bit, especially for regular purchases that are not ingredients for the meal plan, but I can highly recommend setting up some product lists if you're an online grocery shopper.

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The system we use at work to pick the shopping is very good on a basic level (also immensely flawed on many smaller levels). However, the gist of it is that we pick up to 8 different orders at a time, and the system keeps us moving forwards through the store, because in theory it knows where everything is. So we snake along the aisles going from the back of the store to the front down aisle 7 picking everything for all the orders, then up aisle 8, back down aisle 9 etc. When it works, it works really well. (My major beef with it is that if an item is in two locations it will often pick from the second one first, and if there's no stock there the system won't take you backwards to the first place  yet- it will complete the rest of the shop, and then take you back there - which might mean you have to go from one end of the store to the other for one poxy item. Happily if you know what you're doing you you can work around this most of the time, but you'll often see new starters doing laps of the store. Seriously, if they just got the system to pick each item from the first place first our picking speeds would leap up - whoever designed the system is costing the company thousands of pounds every single day.)

 

I'd imagine the other online supermarkets software is similar.

 

The thing is it should be pretty simple to do something like that for regular customers. Let them set up a shopping list, then get the software to stick it in the right order. I guess you'd want to allow vagueness, so rather than selecting a brand, just put "tea bags" or "pasta", but that's still easily doable. Then as each item pops up, it could suggest special offers too. I'd imagine the supermarkets must have considered this, but ruled it out. There's probably money to be made by people being inefficient whilst shopping.

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15 minutes ago, MarkN said:

The thing is it should be pretty simple to do something like that for regular customers. Let them set up a shopping list, then get the software to stick it in the right order. I guess you'd want to allow vagueness, so rather than selecting a brand, just put "tea bags" or "pasta", but that's still easily doable. Then as each item pops up, it could suggest special offers too. I'd imagine the supermarkets must have considered this, but ruled it out. There's probably money to be made by people being inefficient whilst shopping.

 

I think your last point must be bang on.

 

When shopping at my local Morrisons (which, to be fair, I've not been into since December) I have a decent awareness of where pretty much anything is that is on the shopping list but still end up wandering around looking for the odd random, rarely bought, and sometimes hard to categorize item and that will invariably lead me past things that were nowhere near my shopping list but which end up in the basket.

 

These days I am well into the local market as they have an excellent chicken/eggs/farm shop type gear man, an excellent cheese man, and an OK pie couple all right next door to each other before, just outside, there is a slightly crazed cake and bread lady, and an excellent veg family. Ten minutes if that and I am sorted for pretty much everything bar the staples...

 

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I don't know how the other online apps handle it but what I love with Ocado is the ability to 1-click quick add things to any open orders, it really helps stop those phone lists (which I still have of course for things I can't get via Ocado) but it's just as quick to 1-click an item onto the order as add it to a list. 

 

with any app style store discovery is always the issue - if I know what I want it's easy to browse the 4 kinds of garam masala on offer, but in an actual store I'll spot the dried Mexican Ancho chillis next to the spices and inevitably add them into a trolly

 

My preferred overall method is mainly online then a casual browse in a physical store every fortnight or so for things I can't get online and a nice stroll around at a time the store isn't that busy. 

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2 hours ago, MarkN said:

The thing is it should be pretty simple to do something like that for regular customers. Let them set up a shopping list, then get the software to stick it in the right order. I guess you'd want to allow vagueness, so rather than selecting a brand, just put "tea bags" or "pasta", but that's still easily doable. Then as each item pops up, it could suggest special offers too. I'd imagine the supermarkets must have considered this, but ruled it out. There's probably money to be made by people being inefficient whilst shopping.

 

Yeah, it would massively improve the experience of shopping in-store from a list. You'd need to match a string (e.g 'mushrooms') to a product category and just use the same data that pickers use to arrange things in aisle order for that exact store. It wouldn't be perfect (what does someone mean when they have 'squash' in their list?) but it would be infinitely better than a randomly arranged list. From my point of view it's not been considered and rejected, we've just not got round to it yet. People shopping using a digital list on their phone is still relatively niche but it makes much more sense when combined with the 'scan and go' self-service apps that most supermarkets have, because the customer necessarily already has their phone out as the barcode scanner.

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It would also cut down on the number of people asking me where the eggs are. (Or since our store refurb last year, where the cleaning products and bin bags are). Before the refurb I was half-convinced aisle 7 had a cloaking device on it. There are 54 aisles in the store that I have to deal with and well over half the requests I had were in that one aisle - eggs, sugar, tinned fruit, pudding rice, Marmite, peanut butter, those little sponge fingers you put in trifle... I kept on toying with the idea of interrupting someone before they said what they were after, and saying "At a guess aisle 7, now what are you looking for?". I once asked a bloke to follow a woman I'd already directed to the tinned fruit when he asked me for the location 10 seconds after her (I only realised afterward that she could easily get side-tracked by some biscuits or something and lead him on a wild goose chase, so decided against doing it again).

 

Interesting that it's not been considered. I can imagine it would be a really popular feature if done even half-well.

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1 minute ago, MarkN said:

It would also cut down on the number of people asking me where the eggs are. (Or since our store refurb last year, where the cleaning products and bin bags are). Before the refurb I was half-convinced aisle 7 had a cloaking device on it. There are 54 aisles in the store that I have to deal with and well over half the requests I had were in that one aisle - eggs, sugar, tinned fruit, pudding rice, Marmite, peanut butter, those little sponge fingers you put in trifle... I kept on toying with the idea of interrupting someone before they said what they were after, and saying "At a guess aisle 7, now what are you looking for?". I once asked a bloke to follow a woman I'd already directed to the tinned fruit when he asked me for the location 10 seconds after her (I only realised afterward that she could easily get side-tracked by some biscuits or something and lead on a wild goose chase, so decided against doing it again).

 

Interesting that it's not been considered. I can imagine it would be a really popular feature if done even half-well.

Heh, that's interesting. I think 'eggs' is one of those products that could be anywhere and that has no standard location from shop to shop. When we tested where users would look for it in the online categories there was an even split between 'fresh' (so near the fruit, veg and meat) and 'food cupboard' (tins etc). It's also kind of a baking thing. Those sections are often at opposite ends of the shop so I can see why you get asked so much.

 

There's a decent iOS app called 'shopping UK' that sorts your free-text list into categories, which is really good. But, as we said, the holy grail is arranging it for the actual shop you're in.

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Isn’t the point of in store layouts to make people wander around trying to find stuff in the hope they’ll buy extra 

 

I would love what you’ve suggested but I can’t see it being in the supermarkets interest 

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7 minutes ago, emerald fox said:

Isn’t the point of in store layouts to make people wander around trying to find stuff in the hope they’ll buy extra 

 

I would love what you’ve suggested but I can’t see it being in the supermarkets interest 

I've heard that before but I suspect it's apocryphal. It's ultimately not in the shop's interest to frustrate customers when they can so easily shop elsewhere, hence (I suspect) the fairly standardised layouts across supermarkets. Online tools like Favourites and 'Shop from a previous order' (or even the search function) would not exist if the aim was to make people make people bumble around picking up exciting new products.

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/articles/how_supermarkets_tempt

 

Quote

The essentials are also placed far away from each other. Sometimes eggs are hidden in store. This egg hunt makes you travel through the supermarket. More time spent in the supermarket equals more time to spend money.

 

@MarkN maybe it's a deliberate tactic to prevent shoppers from forming a mental model for where the eggs are located!

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1 hour ago, Pob said:

I've heard that before but I suspect it's apocryphal. It's ultimately not in the shop's interest to frustrate customers when they can so easily shop elsewhere, hence (I suspect) the fairly standardised layouts across supermarkets. Online tools like Favourites and 'Shop from a previous order' (or even the search function) would not exist if the aim was to make people make people bumble around picking up exciting new products.


It’s good of they’re focusing on ease of shopping now. One of the big draws of Lidl and Aldi for me is that they’re quick and easy to navigate, grab what you want and go. 
 

Having a list that assigned items to aisles would be a massive help

 

1 hour ago, Pob said:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/articles/how_supermarkets_tempt

 

 

@MarkN maybe it's a deliberate tactic to prevent shoppers from forming a mental model for where the eggs are located!


I stopped using our local Tesco’s which was the biggest in Europe because it was so big that it took ages, and the eggs were right at the far end 

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Before lockdown, I never did food shopping online. It was just a wander to the supermarket and back every week or so, knowing that if I forgot anything that I could pop back. It's less than 10 minutes away and decent daily exercise.

 

Now, I'm more conscientious, because I've largely avoided shops, and I like hitting the free delivery minimum spends :)

 

I have a master list of things I usually buy - or at least would kick myself if I forgot. This has specifics and general categories, e.g. cooking oil, rice, flour, soup, toilet rolls, salad, meat, cat food. I also have a separate list that I keep between shops for things I realise I want, just ran out of, or need for a recipe.

 

I alternate between Prime Now, which is served one of my two local Morrisons (both have different items) and Delifresh.
I prefer the latter - better produce and more interesting - but they don't stock all the stuff I want (e.g. toilet cleaner, cat food). Biggest problem has been that fresh stuff has very variable best before dates, and Morrisons is terrible for delivering stuff with only a day or so on it. I got pretty good at planning, splitting, and freezing - which I'll do with anything from bread buns to Delifresh's twenty chicken breasts bumper pack. I highly recommend the green fresh fridge bags for vegetables (available from Lakeland and also cheaper places). I don't know what's special about them but, with a sheet of kitchen roll, lettuce stays good for a few weeks... which has been a revelation.

 

I use Amazon Prime for 2.5kg tins of milk powder every couple of months, bulk cat litter, and the occasional box of snack bars. I've also bought a couple of times from Yankee Bundles, but I've tried to stop that since it's mostly junk snacks, and at some level I realise I don't *need* 150 creme eggs.

 

Having said all that. I'm not an efficient online shopper. Despite having these lists, I still need to wander down every virtual aisle to see what I might be missing. I suppose it counts as entertainment for me nowadays.

 

...

 

Speaking of over-engineering... my Dad wrote himself a program in Spectrum Basic, which he built up with a list of everything my parents bought on their weekly shop. He'd sit down with my mum for an hour poring over stuff to buy, then leave it for half an hour while it collated and indexed their choices. It would print out a shopping list on thermal paper, ordered by whichever shop sold things cheapest - I think this would usually have been the local supermarket, grocers and corner shop - each with a total expected spend. When he returned, he'd update the prices in the database according to his receipts, leaving it for half an hour to re-index and then save the data. It's only now that I type this out that I realise how ridiculous this all was, but it continued for a couple of years. In the wild-west of 80s home computing, he should probably have tried selling this program to other shopping-retentive weirdos. For someone who was a hobby programmer, it was pretty good, apart from whatever terrible sort algorithm he'd coded.

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