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Written by Ripe London on September 1, 2023

How to Eat Sustainably and Save Money

Sustainable eating, a hot button topic these days, can seem daunting if you’re not already taking part. One of the most formidable considerations to face when you’re thinking of making the switch is cost — isn’t it more expensive to eat sustainable or organic food? Many people are aware of cost effectiveness in their food shopping nowadays, thinking that an eco-friendly diet isn’t economically sustainable.

The short answer is: it doesn’t have to be. Sustainability goes hand in hand with saving money.

Chic diets consisting of meat substitutes, organic produce, and all manner of foods with tasteful, informal packaging are just one route towards sustainable eating. Eco-conscious meals without breaking the bank are easy. Ripe can help you with budget-friendly nutrition. Here are four ways to make thrifty food choices that are all about eating sustainably.

Cut Down on Meat and Dairy

Beef and dairy products are some of the biggest polluters in the food supply chain. Cows release a lot of methane, and it just so happens that cows are the second most populous farm animals in the world, with at least 1 billion in total across the planet. In terms of land use and farming processes, beef and dairy cows occupy three out of the top four spots for greenhouse gas emissions.

Meat and dairy products also happen to be some of the most expensive basket fillers. Plant-based proteins like tofu, lentils, and dried beans cost around half the price of beef back in early 2022. Certain meat substitutes also tend to be very pricey, contributing to the assumption that cutting down on meat costs too much — it doesn’t, as long as you know what you’re looking for.

Cheap Alternatives to Meat and Dairy

Meat alternatives can be made from plant sources such as soy, peas, lentils, and mushrooms, providing a protein-rich option without relying on animal products. Dairy alternatives include almond, soy, oat, and coconut milk.

  • It requires less water, land, and feed to produce plant ingredients compared to the resources needed for raising livestock.
  • The increasing popularity of meat and dairy alternatives has led to a competitive market, encouraging manufacturers to offer affordable options to attract a wider range of consumers.
  • Buying and cooking from scratch is more cost-effective than branded meat alternative items. You don’t have to sink money into packaged meatless burgers if you make them yourself.

Meal Planning and Strategic Shopping

The most effective ways to eat cheaply and sustainably don’t involve shopping, but thinking about shopping. By taking steps such as meal planning and entering the supermarket with a strategic shopping plan, you can start buying affordable sustainable food.

  1. Plan out your meals in advance. Knowing the recipes you’re going to cook for the coming week will help you buy what you need in the quantities you require. Look through your kitchen or pantry and check what you’ve already got.
  2. Buy in bulk. By knowing what you’re going to need for the next week or so, you’ll be able to see which ingredients you need. Beans, soy, and other plant-based proteins can be purchased in bulk and used in numerous recipes.

Knowing how much you’re going to need and how long you have to use it is a huge step towards saving the planet and helping your wallet. By following these steps, you’ll be preventing food waste which comes with scattershot shopping. UK households throw away a collective 240,000 tonnes of uneaten meat products per year.

You’ll find your shopping bills go down, your food waste go down, and your preparedness for the week ahead go up.

Eat Locally

Good quality fruits and vegetables are always tough to find. Supermarkets are packed with produce grown with pesticides and fertilisers, harming the environment and harming your health. Local produce, on the other hand, has a fraction of the greenhouse gases attached to its growth and transport. With emissions and fossil fuels reduced, you’re doing the planet a favour and getting much better flavours in return.

Fresh, local fruit and veg can be found around every corner — as long as you know where to look. Visit markets, particularly farmers markets, to find healthy foods grown right on your doorstep. This is a great way to support eco-friendly local businesses, too.

Benefits of Being a Locavore

  • Locally grown foods are often harvested at their peak ripeness, which enhances their flavour, texture, and nutritional value. Locally sourced foods are more likely to retain their nutritional content because they spend less time in transit and storage.
  • When you purchase locally grown products, you directly support local farmers, producers, and artisans. This helps stimulate the local economy, create jobs, and foster a sense of community.
  • Local foods have a smaller carbon footprint compared to foods that are transported over long distances. They’re also more likely to be adapted to the local climate and soil conditions. Supporting local agriculture promotes resilience in the face of climate change.
  • It’s also an urban legend that eating local produce (such as honey) helps you build up a tolerance for the pollen in your area. The more you know…

Eat in Season

Foods grown and harvested in season are at the peak of their ripeness. In terms of both taste and nutritional value, seasonal eating is the best economic choice. Furthermore, as the name suggests, seasonal food is grown in its most natural season. This helps cut down on harmful fertilisers and other resource-intensive processes such as incubation.

Because of how easy it is to grow fruits and vegetables seasonally, this produce tends to be cheaper. Artichokes in April, aubergines in August, and onions in October will all potentially be less expensive as they’ve been grown with the weather on their side.

Ripe Can Help You

If you’re looking to eat local produce that’s in season, whilst also cutting down on the emissions to get those things onto your plate, then you’re in the right place. At Ripe, we’re committed to fresh fruits and vegetables getting shipped to your doorstep. Whether you want to eat organically at home, or evangelise to everyone at work, a Ripe gift box or office box is fully customisable. You might even be able to order a handwritten card with your purchase!

Delivering Freshness and Sustainability to Your Door

As a London-wide delivery service, we can get fresh and locally-sourced produce wherever and whenever you need. At Ripe, we believe in the power of healthy eating to let you excel, and we’re passionate about shipping seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy snacks, to homes and workplaces all over the city.

We’re committed to high standards of produce and delivery. We can take some of the confusion away from going sustainable by getting it all straight to your door.

How Ripe's Delivery Service Transforms Sustainability

We aim to reduce the environmental impact associated with traditional grocery shopping while providing fresh produce directly to you. Here’s how Ripe embodies sustainability:

  • We source from local farms and producers. This reduces the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation, supports the local economy, and encourages seasonal eating.
  • We work directly with producers, allowing for better inventory management and reducing food waste that can occur in traditional retail settings. By cutting out the middlemen and streamlining the supply chain, we  reduce energy and resource consumption.
  • We create a direct market for small-scale and organic farmers, helping them access a wider customer base and encouraging the sustainable agricultural practices associated with local farming.

For more information, visit our shop page to start eating and living better.

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