Do you find food shopping a little overwhelming? The major supermarkets are constantly vying for our attention, and always have a few tricks up their sleeves to draw you back in. These can be anything from loyalty schemes, to TV advert gimmicky merchandise. Want to know the BEST way to get the most out of the food shops? Buying the food they are ready to chuck out!
Shopping for yellow label reductions is by no means a new concept, but a lot of people benefit from it because of a number of reasons. Perhaps you're one of them - do you worry that the items will just not be of any use to you? Are you scared that you'll be elbowed in the face by die-hard shoppers? Never fear - this 'how to' guide will set your mind at ease, and help you to see why yellow label shopping need not be an issue. You can stay calm & orderly but STILL enjoy great savings and a varied diet.
Top Tips for being a successful Yellow Label shopper:
1. Be prepared to get creative
Have you always been slightly envious of people who just seem able to cook from scratch, without having to follow a recipe? According to the Independent, 1 in 4 Brits can only cook three recipes. This stat is a little scary, as we can safely assume this means people aren't experiencing new & interesting foods at home, and are more likely to splashing the cash on eating out to enjoy a wider variety.
Some recipes are even written by celebrity chefs who have been paid to promote products - so there really is no need to worry about going a little rogue, you might enjoy your food more for moving away from 'safe' combinations. Here's a fabulous free guide to help you get your head around which flavours are known to work together.
Take a look at this recipe site - it makes cooking from scratch just that little bit easier. Try entering your yellow label purchases to see what it generates!
Don't get sucked into the animosity associated with yellow label shoppers. Why not try a different approach - make friends with the member of staff who reduces the items. You never know where building a rapport might take you! 'It costs nothing to be kind', as they say.
Contrary to popular belief, blindly sticking your hand in amongst the crowd and taking whatever you grab can actually be a fantastic way to try something different. Also, if you see items and then see others snatching them up before you, this can be disheartening - keep it positive by not even seeing what you've missed out on!
2. Bear in mind that each shop will reduce different types of food
If you only have yourself to worry about, the chances are that you prefer to eat smaller amounts of food on a more regular basis throughout the day. If you have children you are more likely to eat bigger dishes at set points in the day - our eating habits massively affect our shopping style. If you love little snacky bits but find the prices put you off, then you will get most enjoyment out of hitting up convenience shops for their discounts. Check out Co-op, Tesco Express or Metro, plus smaller Sainsburys'. They are designed for people on the go, and so snacky 'convenient' food is what they'll be reducing.
If your goal is to snap up yellow label items to keep your family fed for a lot less, then naturally you'll want to work your routine around large supermarkets' reduction times. Believe it or not, it's often the healthy vegetables and unusual fruit that end up in the reduction counters. Kill two birds with one stone - make some fab savings whilst giving your little one's a more varied and healthy diet. Even cabbage can taste amazing if cooked well!
I recently stopped off at a Co-op on a Saturday at 8pm, which is quite a while after they start reducing items for the evening and there were still tonnes of items up for grabs!
Life Hack: Yellow Label hunting at convenience shops is great, as people are often just passing through quickly so there are fewer competitive shoppers hogging the aisle.
I managed to nab a salad from Co-op's Irresistible range, plus two packs of festive sandwiches, a huge punnet of green grapes and two punnets of blueberries - all for a modest £1.47.
At full-price these items would have cost me a whopping £14.60 - meaning I had secured a very generous 90% discount!
3. Create a routine - not all shops reduce items at the same times of day
Remember, reduction times are the individual store manager’s decision, so sadly it's tricky to know exactly when to hit the shops. Get started by doing a bit of research - you can visit your favourite shops at different times to get a feel for the times reductions pop up, or you can politely ask a member of staff to tell you when they reduce their products.
ASDA seems to be the best of the bunch for insanely big discounts, which is perhaps why police have been called in the past to break up fights. The best reduction we've heard of so far from them was a £1 party cake that started out with an RRP of £12!
From research, Co-op are the most consistent from store to store - you can safely assume their reductions will appear at around 10am, 3pm then between 6-7.30pm. 24-hour shops tend to begin their reductions at about 7pm then slash prices even more aggressively at 9pm. Otherwise, as a rule the shops tend to reduce items in the last 2 hours before close - this is because they naturally want to make as much profit as possible so slashing their prices is a last resort.
If you are 'loyal' to a variety of supermarkets, make sure you print off this useful guide – I like to keep one on the fridge at home and then another in my bag so that I know what times to go when I’m out:
* Please note: Every shop's manager has autonomy when it comes to deciding reduction times. These times have been obtained through simply asking local shops & through word of mouth. If you’re looking for more accurate times for your local shops, head in-store to find out & make a note on your print-out. *
What are your Yellow Label tips & tricks?if I've missed any!