Can Eating Ethically and Sustainably Also Be Affordable?


The internet is full of advice on eating ethically and sustainably, and how to be more responsible as a food shopper. After all, we are all accountable for the state of the planet, its people, and all living creatures on it. But can making ethical and earth-friendly food choices really be a realistic way of life for the average family? There’s no denying that the free range and organic route is a much healthier lifestyle option – but is it affordable? Can someone on low-middle income really afford to choose grass fed beef over grain fed? Or can they confidently select organic fruit and veg over regular vegetables without blowing their weekly budget?

There are many ways we can eat more ethically and sustainably as responsible citizens of this earth, but it’s about finding the most cost-effective ways to do so that matter for most. Otherwise, the dream of creating a better, fairer world is an ideology that only the rich can really indulge. So what are the ways to keep organic, free range and fair trade as obtainable as possible? Here are some tips on shopping responsibly on a budget.

Buy Fruit & Veg in Season

Getting in season fruits and vegetables is a great way of saving money on groceries. But lower prices aren’t the only thing that will tempt you into sticking with this golden rule. Seasonal veggies will taste much better at the right time of year. And letting green grocer availability guide you will ensure that you have a colourful, well-rounded and varied diet throughout the seasons.

Freeze, Preserve & Pickle

Another rule of eating sustainably is to reduce food waste. Leftover vegetables and fruits should never be discarded. Some freezer friendly fresh foods can be stored away for future recipes, whilst others are best for jams, preserves or pickles. And don’t forget the sauces – from homemade salsa and pasta sauces to vegetable gravy, there are so many creative ways to make your food last longer.

Use the Whole Animal

When it comes to meat, choosing grass fed and pasture fed is the most ethical option for the animal. It’s also better for the British landscape, and pasture-reared meats such as beef are found to contain less fat and have more nutrients such as omega-3, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. But good meat comes at a price. To make your money go further, ask for more cost friendly cuts and don’t let parts of the animal go to waste. Some butchers will give away pork rinds (can be made into pork scratchings), suet (can be rendered into cooking fat) and bones (can be used in soups and stocks) for free.

Stick to Homemade

One of the cheapest ways to eat well is to stick with homemade and home baked. Buying organic readymade foods (such as ready meals, sauces and baked goods) can be pricey so if you can source the ingredients yourself, give it a go. A breakmaker can make baking easy and accessible, whilst organic sauce recipes are readily available online.

Try Home Grown

It’s often the little things that really add up at the supermarket. So having a home grown herb garden or vegetable patch will help to keep your fridge stocked up for those impromptu recipes. If you’re worried about initial cost outlay or time, try a herb garden first as these are relatively easy to maintain and are not expensive to keep.