"cooking from scratch" vs "pre-packaged meals and snacks"

User avatar
ChrisGreaves
PlutoniumLounger
Posts: 15714
Joined: 24 Jan 2010, 23:23
Location: brings.slot.perky

"cooking from scratch" vs "pre-packaged meals and snacks"

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Here in Canada we are being bribed.
Again,
Item 6. in this news report reads:-
6. Limit convenience foods. While pre-packaged meals and snacks are convenient, they often cost more than cooking from scratch. Limit these as much as possible and opt for whole foods instead.
About ten years ago I surveyed myself for a week or so and figured that cooking my own pork/chicken/liver and onions with two veg was about one-tenth of the cost of buying the equivalent as a Frozen Entrée
I know that in some cases a factory-processed item, done in massive bulk, can be cheaper than hand-picked, (think frozen peas), but ten years later I have measured that home-baked bread is way cheaper than air-pumped polystyrene foam, and that home-made cookies cost elss than, and contain less sugar and salt than packaged sacks.

If you have ever compared prices of your regularly home-cooked food against factory-made, how would you rate the phrase "often cost more"?

I would say that they always cost more.
Cheers, Chris.
By definition, educating the client is the consultant’s first objective

User avatar
HansV
Administrator
Posts: 78783
Joined: 16 Jan 2010, 00:14
Status: Microsoft MVP
Location: Wageningen, The Netherlands

Re: "cooking from scratch" vs "pre-packaged meals and snacks"

Post by HansV »

I haven't done scientifically rigorous research, but yes, in my experience cooking from scratch is generally cheaper than ready-made meals, unless you scrape the bottom of the barrel in the supermarket. But if you do the latter, you'll consume much more fat, salt and sugar than necessary.
Best wishes,
Hans

User avatar
Skitterbug
BronzeLounger
Posts: 1284
Joined: 24 Jan 2010, 12:14
Location: Sitting in my computer chair!

Re: "cooking from scratch" vs "pre-packaged meals and snacks"

Post by Skitterbug »

My preference is home preparation of our meals. I know exactly what goes into the meat or veggie dishes. We preserve or freeze fruit and veggies so no need to buy those items that we are lucky enough to have "home-grown". For our meat supply, we will shop our local butcher shop for a half of beef or pork that they will "process" for us. There are still items we have to purchase especially during the winter months, but we do not purchase frozen entrées, etc.
Lately, "often cost more" is about double or triple what it 'used to cost'. So expensive stuff - food!
And I totally agree that pre-packaged meals and snacks are much more expensive than home preparation!
Skitterbug :coffeetime:
A cup of coffee shared with a friend is happiness tasted and time well spent.

User avatar
ChrisGreaves
PlutoniumLounger
Posts: 15714
Joined: 24 Jan 2010, 23:23
Location: brings.slot.perky

Re: "cooking from scratch" vs "pre-packaged meals and snacks"

Post by ChrisGreaves »

ChrisGreaves wrote:
17 May 2023, 17:12
About ten years ago I surveyed myself for a week or so and figured that cooking my own pork/chicken/liver and onions with two veg was about one-tenth of the cost of buying the equivalent as a Frozen Entrée
@Hans @Skitterbug
If we can agree on a common dish, let's set up a quantified trial where we each make the same dish and measure the cash costs in terms of Ingredients, energy, and time, and then compare results.

We might post here a list of the things we cook/bake on a regular basis, in generic terms, and then agree on a common dish?

(1) I make my own meat sauce and eat pasta & meat sauce.
(2) I bake my own bread and cookies.
(3) I make my own salads - canned sardines or corned beef, with onions, dandelion leaves.
(4) I pop corn for a cereal.
(5) I make a super-tasty supper of fried onions, vegetables, and diced pork/chicken/liver

These five dishes can usually be purchased in a supermarket, so we can
(a) Prepare a dish ourselves and
(b) Report on its preparation cost and the cost of an equivalent dish in the supermarket.

Any takers?

Cheers, Chris
By definition, educating the client is the consultant’s first objective

User avatar
Skitterbug
BronzeLounger
Posts: 1284
Joined: 24 Jan 2010, 12:14
Location: Sitting in my computer chair!

Re: "cooking from scratch" vs "pre-packaged meals and snacks"

Post by Skitterbug »

Chris - I've never gone to the trouble of breaking down the cost of a preparation of a meal. When our budget was limited, first paid were bills and church and then left over $$ went to clothes/food/and extras. Of course the budget improved for us but the routine has remained the same - bills first and then extra used for food, etc.

Grocery items have increased by maybe 33% to even 50% in our area. And that makes gardening that much more important.

You mentioned popcorn. You may chuckle but as an example of cost 'watching', I purchased 25 lbs of popcorn and vacuumed packed it so the moisture content for proper popping - would remain. I did this so I could get the price break offered. It ended up being $1.63 per pound (shipping included in cost). I know this brand of popcorn actually pops! Sometimes, when I've purchased some at the grocery, the results of popping is dismal. Total waste of $$.

Anyway, popcorn is an item in your list that I can relate to regarding recent cost.
And yes, I do make cookies occasionally, have potatoes and onions from the garden, don't eat sardines or liver (blah).

Since you did ask, this is just a bit about our budgeting and how we survive this life! <chuckle>

Cheers!
Skitterbug :coffeetime:
A cup of coffee shared with a friend is happiness tasted and time well spent.

User avatar
ChrisGreaves
PlutoniumLounger
Posts: 15714
Joined: 24 Jan 2010, 23:23
Location: brings.slot.perky

Re: "cooking from scratch" vs "pre-packaged meals and snacks"

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Skitterbug wrote:
18 May 2023, 17:24
... as an example of cost 'watching', I purchased 25 lbs of popcorn and vacuumed packed it so the moisture content for proper popping - would remain. I did this so I could get the price break offered. It ended up being $1.63 per pound (shipping included in cost).
Popcorn is a good suggestion, Skitterbug.
20230522_095621.jpg
20230522_095629.jpg
I buy the stuff in 1Kg plastic bags from Foodland at $cdn 3.79 per bag. I have an old nut jar about one litre capacity and empty the bag into the jar. I pop corn in batches to make two four-litre - one gallon - ice-cream tubs of popped corn, and use it mainly as a cereal with milk or with water. A space-filler.

I make the popcorn by ladling two soup-spoons of corn into the saucepan at a time, perhaps seven times in all, to make the two tubs of popped corn.

So: The next time I empty a bag into the container, I shall carefully count how many soup-spoons of kernels are in the bag, that will let me compute how much of that $3.79 is used to make two tubs (say two gallons) of popped corn.

Then at Great Personal Expense™ I shall purchase a bulky carton of puffed wheat or similar from Foodland and see how many of those would be required to make eight gallons.

Then, stuffed to the gills, I shall calculate the price and post my results here.
Cheers, Chris
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
By definition, educating the client is the consultant’s first objective