Learn from the pros who have already proven the ways to keep the kitchen running like a business, reducing waste, and ultimately, saving money.
Inflation has caused food costs to rise, and while there are ways to save money on your grocery bill, there are also ways to organize your kitchen at home – which will ultimately help you save up in the long run.
According to Food Service Direct – buying products in bulk is not the only solution for fighting food inflation.
Here are other tactics you can use to get the most out of your meal budget:
1. Store food the right way to reduce food waste
When stocking your pantry, be sure to organize your products so the oldest are used first. And check food labels on your packaged foods that may need refrigeration after opening (such as soy sauce). The term, first in, last out, might come to mind, but it's more of, whatever is close to expiring, put it first in the fridge. You got a new ketchup on sale? Awesome!Put it BEHIND the one you already had in your pantry, because that's how you avoid picking up an item to use it, and realizing, you let it go to waste. The same applies to leftovers, even.
If you see it, you'll use, is the bottom line. If you'd like to get super intense, you can start labeling dates, but let's go easy on ourselves if we are just starting out.
2. Plan your meals around the seasons:
Seasons affect the prices of produce. Sure, if you really wanted to fight inflation, you've probably researched homesteading, community gardens, and more. On social media, they'll all tell you to start farming, but if we are realistic, not everyone has the space to do that, or the budget and scope of knowledge to begin.
That said, if it's strawberry season, the strawberries will be cheaper. If you're looking for rare fruit and a hard-to-find time, you'll be paying a premium price. What's seasonal, is usually better priced, and smart food businesses already know how to use nature and seasonality to their advantage.
3. Learn the cost of each plate:
Ok, you didn't come here to talk about math, but, we need to. The simpler the plate, the more seasonal the plate, the less meat-heavy the plate is, often, the more economical the cost of the meal is.
You can start by following social media accounts that do this, or you can simply start by looking at the ingredients you bought and how many servings you were able to make. You'll quickly learn which meals cost about $12 per person, and which can cost $5 per person. Generally knowing what your cheaper meals are (and often they can be the tastiest meals) means you can know quickly, when you're on smaller budget which recipes to pull from.
4. Embrace sustainable living through reducing food waste:
We know we'd all LIKE to believe that all our favorite dishes are fresh made, as soon as we order them. But, that's not usually the case. Rather than throw away extra chicken, or chicken fat/bones, even, chefs often use those "left over" bits in soups, or simple dishes. Bones and even shrimp shells can be used to make stocks for future meals, for example.
If you embrace the idea of wanting to reduce food waste, you will naturally end up saving money in the long run. What's good for the planet, is good for you too.
5. Make what "sells"
So, sure, you're not really selling your meal to your family, but if you were, you'd make more of what gets eaten up without having to throw it away. So pretend you're selling the meals you make (to yourself or your family) - and make more of what sells.
A pro tip is, if you know what never goes to waste in your home, try and make it even more cost-effective. If you usually buy super expensive organic produce, try seeing if there is a local farmers market where you can get the produce cheaper, but still fairly fresh and organic. If you buy pre-cut veggies, check out what that may be costing you. Can you make the meal with less meat or one that costs less? These are all questions chefs and food business owners ask themselves, and it helps keep the books on the brighter side.