How To Make Your Grocery Shop More Sustainable

Fresh Greens Shelley Pauls Glajfsumnjq Unsplash
Photo by Shelley Pauls on Unsplash

With a renewed focus on making our lifestyles more eco-friendly, more shoppers are now looking to ensure that sustainability is a priority when they are completing their weekly food shop. Not only can this help to protect the environment, but by doing this, you are also more likely to choose healthier food options that can help you and your family to get the nutritional content that you need to thrive.

Choose Wild over Farmed Fish
Choose wild fish over farmed fish, as farmed fish are not only reared in stressful environments, but they may also be higher in fat due to the fact that they are able to move around less and are more likely to have some of the most common fish diseases. You can tell the difference between wild and farmed salmon by the changes in salmon color, which occur due to their different diets.

Shop Locally
Your grocery shop can also be made more sustainable by sourcing local alternatives to the supermarket foods you normally buy. For instance, you could swap supermarket shopping for purchasing your food products at a local independent market, farm shop, or butcher, where you will be able to invest in food that may have been grown locally. If it is not possible to shop at a supermarket alternative, check the labels of the products that you want to buy. This will tell you where the products were grown. Look for locally products rather than those which have been imported into the country.

Invest in Organic or Cage-Free
Whether you are buying animal or plant products, check the labels to find organic or cage-free options. Cage-free animal products require that the animals were treated humanely before slaughter, while organic products are grown without pesticides that harm air and soil, and often have a larger genetic diversity than other products on the shelves. This means that they are better for the climate and nearby wildlife, and also provide an increase in nutritional value.

Opt for Fresh Foods
Rather than heading for the convenience of freezer food, opt for fresh foods, especially when you are looking for fruit, meat, and vegetables. Not only is there less packaging around these products, which can help you to cut down plastic waste, but they have cleaner production methods since they travel straight from the farm to your kitchen.

Go Veggie
If possible,  also consider reducing the amount of meat in your diet or going completely veggie. Being a vegetarian is more sustainable than eating meat because vegetarian foods use less resources, such as field space and water, and produce less greenhouse gas than meat production, where a large amount of space has to be used for animals to graze. Meat production also causes heavy deforestation, and requires heavy pesticide use in growing the feed for these animals, killing the environment and other local wildlife.

Check the Discount Shelf
Check out your supermarket’s selection of “wonky” food items — bumped, bruised or small blemishes. Although this food may not be perfect on an aesthetic level, it tastes the same and can help to stop the alarming food loss and wastage statistics that are damaging the environment.

Making your grocery shop more sustainable can be difficult since eco-friendly options can often be less convenient for your family. However, by making the extra effort to shop for locally-produced food, to cut down on your meat intake, and to buy wild over farm-raised fish, you will be able to reduce the carbon emissions that your family is contributing to the planet, while also boosting the nutritional content and health of the food that you are cooking with daily. Don’t forget your reusable grocery shopping bags and buying loose products over pre-packaged options.

Maggie Hammond is a proud mama to two little people, and has one too many furry friends. She is passionate about alternative medicine, the great outdoors and animal welfare.