Supermarket vegetables cost the earth


Inspired by Rich at the Roaster (a fine blog full of useful tips and recipes for those prepping a special Sunday meal – try to ignore the fact that his ‘Food Pictures’ currently lead off with a photo of a baby…) I took a look at our weekly organic veg bag and tried to work out how much it would have cost if we’d been able to buy the same stuff from our local supermarket. Like Rich, I found the results pretty remarkable. Unlike Rich, I can’t figure out how to get a neat spreadsheet into by blog, so bear with me.

Newsflash: Turns out I also managed to delete the photo I took showing my delicious veg in all it’s colourful glory. This post is becoming even more pointless by the second, if that’s possible.

Gather. Gather.

For the last four years or so, we’ve picked up a bag of organic vegetables grown by Ruth Hancock and her company ‘Fresh and Green’. They are the epitome of local supply. Ruth has a field, she grows beautiful veg there and she sell them to local people from her house and via the Ottery Healthstore.

It’s a perfect scheme for us, meaning we always have a full stock of vegetables whether we like it or not, sitting there pressuring us to cook and eat them rather than nip down to Bloaters in Sidford for chips. We pay £10.00 each week for, frankly, more vegetables than we can usually eat. We’ve never had so many vitamins, and nor has our compost heap.

Here’s the bit where I go on about organic meaning no pesticides soaking into the ground, and how smug it makes us feel to have zero food miles for the bulk of our weekly intake. This is the end of that bit.

So, the sums. I couldn’t find direct equivalents for everything I had in the bag that week, but you’ll have to believe me when I say that nothing Tesco had to offer looked any better than what Ruth had bagged up for us. Plus, Tesco apparently don’t sell chard, so that’s been left out, and the figures should be even worse for the supermarket.

Veg bag                            Tesco regular       Tesco organic
(If available)

Tomatoes 500g                  £1.49                          £2.78
Green beans 400g             £1.60                          £2.08
Potatoes 1kg                        £1.25                          £1.25
Runner beans 600g           £2.10                         £2.10
2 Green peppers                 £1.36                         £1.79
Basil 50g                              £1.30                         £1.30
Red onions 200g                £0.19                         £0.35
Mixed salad leaves 300g   £4.50                        £4.50
Rainbow chard 300g          n/a                            n/a
1 Cucumber                          £0.70                        £1.21
Courgettes 500g                  £0.90                       £1.50
Carrots 500g                        £0.67                        £1.00

Total: £10.00                  £16.06                   £19.86

Now, I know what you’re thinking. £4.50 for a bag of salad leaves. Okay, get over that and check out the final scores. Even if you have no interest in buying organic, just getting the regular stuff from Tesco costs an extra 60%. The organic stuff is basically twice the price.

So, why buy it? It makes no sense. Stop now and find your nearest veg box scheme.