The everyday supermarket swaps you can make to bring down your bill

Swapping out ingredients for veggies that are plentiful and in-season and opting for different cuts of meat can reduce the cost of your shop.
Swapping out ingredients for veggies that are plentiful and in-season and opting for different cuts of meat can reduce the cost of your shop. Photo credit: Supplied

With the cost of living on the rise and all of us feeling the pinch, spending less and shopping smarter is at the top of mind for many Kiwis.

If you want your shop to go as far as possible, arming yourself with a game plan when heading to your local supermarket is key.  

One of the best tools in your shopping arsenal is to make smart swaps that won't sacrifice on flavour or creativity in the kitchen – but all things going well, will help cut down on dollars, waste and worries.  

We turned to the experts at New World to find out some of the swaps they recommend during your weekly shop.  

1. Shop with swapping in mind

The true smart swapper needs to go to the supermarket ready to supplement. Yes, we all know the single mindedness that can occur when you've seen a TikTok recipe you're dying to make  – but often a little creativity with an ingredient list can save you more dollars in the long run. 

Recent weather events have hit many crops hard and this has affected the availability and price of some of some of our favourite fruit and veggies. The humble kumara is one vegetable that is less plentiful this year because of the weather, but don’t be disheartened, kumara fritters can easily be supplemented for potatoes, while frozen corn can easily be swapped in for corn cobs.

Recipes: Ginger beef and broccoli bowls and Baked honey mustard chicken drumsticks and smashed potatoes.
Recipes: Ginger beef and broccoli bowls and Baked honey mustard chicken drumsticks and smashed potatoes. Photo credit: New World

Frozen or tinned versions of your favourite produce are great-value alternatives to fresh produce and are just as nutritionally beneficial – snap-frozen spinach leaves work well in smoothies and curry sauces.  

Giselle Bleakley, New World Head of Marketing says, like many Kiwi families, she likes to have fruit and vegetables as a part of every meal. "I try to let what's in season inspire what I'm going to cook. Right now broccoli is in season, so I'm using that as much as I can. My kids love it when I make a different take on cauliflower cheese and put in broccoli instead," she says.  

2. Scan the shelves for a lower cost swap  

If you've been using the same products for years and reach for the same thing in the same aisle each week, it might be time to swap your favourite brand for a cheaper alternative. Take a scan of the shelves and see if there's a cheaper tin or package – they often have almost the exact same ingredient list. New World's own brands Pams and Value often offer more cost effective (and just as delicious) alternatives.

3. Switch up your meat shop 

If you've always been a chicken breast-only household, it might be time to change things up. Mixing up your recipe repertoire and opting for different cuts of meat can make a load of difference. Lean into the winter chill and pull out that slow cooker: cuts of meat like beef chuck end up meltingly tender after eight hours on low. Buying larger cuts is a great idea and although initially more expensive they will make you several meals. Head to the New World website for some more recipe inspiration

Recipes: Beef casserole and Puttanesca.
Recipes: Beef casserole and Puttanesca. Photo credit: New World

Try cooking a whole roast chicken in the slow cooker and use the meat in pies and curries throughout the week and make stock to freeze with what’s left. If you're unsure, ask the experts in the butchery and seafood sections at your local New World. They're there to help, so ask them for suggestions on what to swap out, they can likely point you in the direction of a great alternative. 

Swapping at least one meal for a vegetarian alternative each week will lead to significant savings. "I sometimes substitute meat with beans and lentils, which adds fibre and makes for a low cost meal. It's super easy to add pulses to your shop, they come in cans and packets, are good value and keep for ages," says Bleakley. Find some New World vegetarian inspiration here.

4. Swap packaged snacks for homemade alternatives 

If you need a little treat to get you through the 3pm slump, there's a good chance you're  spending money in the snack aisle. By making batches of homemade alternatives, you can save on money, waste – and you might even  get a nutritional boost.

Head to the New World bulk foods section to stock up on nuts, seeds, oats and more – they make great muesli bars and seeded crackers, or you could give this easy and delicious Bran muffins recipe a go. If you're a cheese fiend, buy a wheel and portion pieces for the lunchbox, rather than prepackaged cheese snacks.

5. Swap takeaways for fakeaways  

If you're trying to cut down your spending on takeaways, why not let New World take care of the portions and prep? The Annabelle Langbein range of Simply Dinners available at New World feed four and work out to be $6.25 per serve. We love the Chicken Pad Thai – which feeds four for the price of one if ordered from your local Thai takeaway!  

Simply Dinner: Chicken pad thai and Italiano Pizzas.
Simply Dinner: Chicken pad thai and Italiano Pizzas. Photo credit: New World

6. Swap to an online shop  

We all know the adage 'never shop hungry', but even the most prepared supermarket shopper is likely to throw some random bits into the trolley that while delicious, aren't on the list. If you've never tried shopping online, it's time to take the plunge – you might just become a convert. Not only is it super easy – and allows you to do the supermarket shop in front of the television – or just about anywhere and it gives you the chance to see how much your cart costs before going to checkout.

Armed with your arsenal of smart swaps, you're ready to tackle your next supermarket mission! You can find more recipes and inspiration here

Article created in partnership with New World.