Such a surprise

Like 130,000 or so other Britons this year, Brian Buller, 37, has gone vegan this January. His motivation to sign up for the so-called Veganuary was the supposed health benefit of a meat and dairy-free lifestyle. However, more striking that any pounds being shed on the scales has been the pounds being taken from his wallet.

“My usual bi-weekly food shop would’ve cost me around £45,” Mr Buller a student at the University of Manchester, said. “My latest shop was just over £64 and didn’t include that much fresh produce, either.”

You might even think that animal products were a cheap source of protein and fats.

33 thoughts on “Such a surprise”

  1. If the NHS is going to refuse to operate on fatties because It’s All Their Own Fault, will it similarly refuse to operate on vegans made ill by malnutrition? I do hope so.

    (OK, operate if they are children, but report their parents to the police for child abuse.)

  2. Why doesn’t he just go to the ‘buy it at a knockdown price now because it’s date is up’ shelf? That’s where most of the vegan stuff seems to end up in my local Sainsbury…

  3. bloke in Germany in Porto

    I was vegetarian for almost a decade, am sure it cost more to eat cheaply than the meat eaters.

  4. I do like Greggs vegan sausage roll. No gristle or bits of bone and tastes like the real thing. At £1 a pop it is a very handy snack when walking between pubs. But usually I opt for a McDonalds double cheese if available on my route.

  5. “My latest shop was just over £64 and didn’t include that much fresh produce, either.”
    So WTF did he buy that was vegan? No fruit or vegetables?

  6. Steve, that’s £22.50 per week. I costed a very basic diet after reading a student mag article about someone who couldn’t make do on £1 a day. Well, you can’t. It would be very basic indeed on £2 per day, and still not luxurious on £3 (£21 per week). It gets easier if you share the effort between a group of people, but not if one of them breaks the rules on portion control, and it gets correspondingly more difficult if you have any sort of dietary needs (or fads). The great thing about group catering is that you can do bulk buys and two-for-one deals, and you don’t have to worry about wastage. There’s also an issue about whether you actually get the money per week or per day. In the former case you can get things to spread over the week, and in the latter you can’t – things that cost more than the daily amount, for example, but can be used every day, such as cooking oil (if you are a veggie-bugger).

    Suppose that you have to shop for a week for 6 students, which gives you £126 @ £3 per day per person. I could do that. I might even be able to do it for £2.50. But I’d struggle to cater for one at that rate, and definitely go hungry if the £3 was handed over each day.

    There’s also the issue of where you live and where you can shop. Assuming the Buller is Sociology, then he’ll have time on his hands to do the rounds of shops and compare prices. If he’s doing a real degree (say Engineering), then he won’t.

  7. Excavator Man – I thought bi-weekly meant twice a week.

    I probably shouldn’t have believed Pink Floyd on the subject of learning 🙁

  8. Something scrabbling around the back of my mind. This is one of the differences between American and English perhaps? A bimonthly magazine over there is 6 times a year, here 24. Or the other way around mebbe.

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    He obviously doesn’t use Lidl, fruit and veg there is dirt cheap. You have to shop regularly because it tends to be end of life. Their other stuff is quite cheap and good quality. The only problem is lack of choice and often they run out. No parsnips the others day.

    Mrs BiND reckoned it about halved our shopping bill when she started using them.

  10. They could avoid confusion simply by using English. Is it fortnightly or twice a week?

    £45/week sounds reasonable. It would be a slightly spartan version of my weekly shopping. £45 for 2 weeks doesn’t seem possible to me unless you are living on potatoes and carrots. If he is doing 2*45 per week, then he is probably either porking up or living on steak and chips

  11. Truly a difficult question, that bi business. I read it as once every 2 weeks, but if it is twice weekly then yes, I’m wrong. The points I made are right for the sums involved, they just don’t apply to Mr Buller. Mind you, even £45 twice a week doesn’t go that far in my local Waitrose: fillet steak at £50/kg takes half of it for one meal. Add in the Valpollicella Ripasso at £12.99, some French Fries, a big mushroom and some pepper sauce, the smoked salmon starter and a dessert with clotted cream and it’s all gone! And that’s before you add the dessert wine, the pre-prandial Prosecco and a coffee!

    Biannual, biennial. Shit!

    Bicycle, bilingual, bisexual – or as the Speaker might say: the bi s have it!

  12. He’s obviously avoiding the traditional pulses and carb(rice, potatoes, bread) with seasonal veg root and heading for the chemically engineered fake “cheese” and “meat”, in which fortunes are being made by the manufacturers, by cajoling cheap ingredients into a more visually appealing form.

  13. £45 for two weeks is plenty, sans the beer. I buy steak mince and chicken breasts for the weekend,pork chops etc, during the week soups and fried eggs due to weight management. A sneaky tin of mackerel or tuna every now and then when I get the protein munchies. A rotisserie chicken is £5.50 to £6, makes a nice soup for two days with some root vegetables and chicken stock cubes. Cheap as chips.

  14. I’ve had second thoughts, and defend my belief that it was once every two weeks because a Brit would say ‘twice weekly’.

    Jussi, please produce the spreadsheet. Remember, you need the whole day’s food, not just one meal. Granted, your Rotisserie chicken may produce two meals and 2 soups, but not on its own.

  15. It’s got to be twice weekly! No one in the UK uses bi-weekly to mean fortnightly. And check the wiki link above?

    Also, who does their regular (as in “usual”) shop just once every fortnight. Unless they are topping up in between and in which case the numbers above are worthless in that respect anyway?

  16. GC

    “Semiweekly”: Merican indeed – no one uses that term on the right side of the pond!

    (Tim – please get rid of the typing too quickly bollocks! Like TMB, no one’s ever accused me of that before)

  17. Excavator Man, excluding beers £22.50 a week is easy. Albeit, I do eat lightly during the week but come weekend I may buy Morrisons steak mince £8 per kg, chicken breasts, sirloin steaks are £7 per two, I cook curries from scratch, pizza from scratch. But I don’t eat snacks except manchego cheese which is £1.50per a small container. I don’t buy anything readymade.

    On Tuesdays I might buy the chicken, two carrots and onions and makea broth out of it, still eating it onThursday. If I only didn’t drink beer I would be a facsimile of myself in my late teens.

    Monday for instance. I have a garden salad (£1) for lunch + tin of tuna, for supper I fry 3 eggs in butter. Yesterday Friday I had chicken shwarma + onions + rice + homebaked pita + greek yoghurt sauce. Today leftovers from the schwarma + cheese cubes when I get dizzy and peckish.

  18. Bi-weekly is one of those annoyingly ambiguous words.

    Twice a week? That’s 90 quid a week he’s spending!
    Every two weeks? That’s a more reasonable £22.50 a week, but then why not just say “fortnightly”.

  19. Jussi, and what about toiletries, detergents, washing powder, bogrolls and condoms? Plus flowers for the ladies?

  20. Oh, FFS! I am &*NOT* postig too quickly!

    Stats nerd that I am I add up my food receipts as a distraction from adding up the proper receipts for my tax return. I average about £115 a month, which is mid-£20s a week. Every now and then it leaps when I splurge when out with friends.

    I’m surprised a student is spending middle-aged working chap levels of money on food. When I was a student in the ’80s I thought it a horror to have to break into a second five pound note.

  21. jgh

    “I’m surprised a student is spending middle-aged working chap levels of money on food.”

    He’s not student age, he’s 37. What Diogenes said. When you do a weekly (or other) shop, it’s never just food.

  22. Jgh, this “student” is 37

    By that time, you tend to want a bit of comfort in your life as well as your washing

  23. @Excavator Man January 18, 2020 at 11:59 am

    £1pd not difficult

    2.5kg Pots £1.25
    1kg Carrots 49p
    1kg Rice 45p
    1kg Spag 40p
    800g Loaf 55p
    Multi-vitamin pill 0.9p/day
    = £3.15 leaving £3.85 for toppings

    @Steve January 18, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Yep, bi-weekly = twice per week, if 2 weeks he’d have said fortnightly

    @Jussi January 18, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Spot on

    Today I bought a Morrisons rotisserie chicken reduced from £5.00 to 50p (and 15 eggs 13p, 9 Crumpets 7p plus more). Sunday roast, Monday stir-fry, then large pot of chicken broth

    @Diogenes “Rabbit Hole” January 18, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    Subject is “food shopping”; do you eat toiletries, detergents, washing powder, bogrolls and condoms Plus flowers?

  24. If he shops fortnightly he won’t be eating much fresh food. After a day or two it would start to go stale.
    Fresh fruit and veg and fresh bread are cheap.

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