Supermarket-free Me: Who to follow, what to read

It has been almost a full month since I posted about my intention to revive Supermarket-free Me on the blog while I give up supermarkets for lent. I was delighted by the responses I got via the blog and Twitter. Clearly there is interest out there and I know a growing number of you have already heroically pledged to give up using supermarkets for a year or more!

If indeed you are interested in my challenge then I thought it could be helpful to share with you links to some members of the supermarket-free community out there, or indeed, to those who blog or tweet about issues that might be relevant you. So here, in no particular order, are some recommendations:

Goodbye Supermarkets
Joanne O’Connell is a journalist who has given up supermarkets. She’s a regular on Twitter at @byesupermarkets and her webpage is . If you’re concerned that avoiding the supermarket may be expensive, you might be interested to visit her page What can you get for a Tenner.

A Year Without Supermarkets
The Pugh family gave up supermarkets and set up their blog – they also tweet at @teampughblog . Their year is over but the blog provides documentation of their experience and the money they saved. Plus they are still posting regularly, with some content referring to being supermarket-free (which they still are!)

Joanna Blythman
If you know anything about food you’ve probably already come across Joanna Blythman, an excellent journalist and author who writes about the stuff for a living. Her web page is and you can find her on Twitter @JoannaBlythman

Zoe Morrison is a fellow blogger. Like me, she blogs and tweets mainly on environmental issues but unlike me she updates far more regularly and has taken on so much more! As well as working towards Plastic Free July, going without shampoo and signing up for the Rubbish Diet (to name but a few of her challenges), Zoe has also given up supermarkets for several months! You can read the blog at and follow her on twitter at @Ecothrifty

Margot and Barbara
Liz who writes is cutting down on both supermarkets and plastics – two of my favourite subjects! She touches on growing your own which is very much complementary to my cause (even if…ahem…I haven’t actually ever done this myself!) Liz posts on a wide variety of topics so you may have to rummage around for the relevant ones but I’m including her as you’ll have a delightful read as you search! She’s on twitter at @margotbarbara

Big Barn
Big Barn describe themselves as a Community Interest Company and are all about encouraging local trade. They have a good website at with tools to help you find local suppliers in your area. Discover them on twitter at @findlocalfood

Follow this family of three as they aim for a more sustainable life and give up supermarkets. Their very decent and well-written blog gives an interesting account of life at the start of this process and you can connect on twitter at @Arabodeblog

Sophie Cussen
Sophie isn’t (as far as I know) supermarket-free, but has a fabulous blog mainly about gardening and growing your own but she dabbles in a number of green issues. Not just a great writer, Sophie is lovely on twitter too and supportive if you have any garden questions @sophiecussen

Finally a shout out for @nothingnew who last year bought nothing new and this year has given up the supermarkets.

If I’ve missed you or you want to use this post to connect with others then please do add a comment at the bottom of this post with your blog, twitter or other info of interest.

So are you swithering about whether you should be cutting back on what you spend at the supermarket? Perhaps (as I felt last year) you think it sounds like an exciting and positive challenge but you just need some more reasons for why this is a ‘good thing’? How about indulging in a little background reading!

Since last year’s project I have been hooked on reading about supermarkets and where my food comes from. I have acquired quite a few books on the subject. Although I’ve not read them all – in fact, I tend to read a chapter here and there from different books depending on what interests me at the time – I have to say I have lost hours to devouring this type of writing. It’s fascinating and hugely relevant to anyone who thinks even a little about what they are eating and consuming from supermarkets.

photo (310)

So here goes…. A few publications I’ve found useful, listed alphabetically by author:

Blythman, Joanna: Shopped The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets (2012)
(eBook so not pictured above)
Patel, Raj: Stuffed and Starved From farm to fork The hidden battle for the world food system (2012)
Lawrence, Felicity: Eat your heart out why the food business is bad for the planet and your health (2008)
Lawrence, Felicity: Not on the label What really goes into the food on your plate (2013)
Siegle, Lucy: To dye for Is fashion wearing out the world? (2011)
Simms, Andrew: Tescopoly How one shop came out on top and why it matters (2007)
Weber, Karl: Food, Inc. How industrial food is making us sicker, fatter and poorer – and what you can do about it (2009)

Have you got any more? I’d love to hear about them!

PS: if you are thinking of buying any books, why not source them from a local bookseller and get started with supporting your community – can help if you prefer to buy online.


17 thoughts on “Supermarket-free Me: Who to follow, what to read

  1. One of the things I like best about local shopping is the relationships you build up with the folks who work in local shops and, surprisingly, other regular customers… the down side is that sometimes it can take me a whole morning to buy cheese, milk, butter, meat and vegetables!!

  2. I shall be following your progress with interest. I think foreswearing supermarkets is probably more difficult in some areas than others. Here in the middle of London we have lovely independent shops – but they can be very expensive.

    • Exactly! I am spoilt here being served by lots of local shops, near a big city and also close to farmland….It definitely varies by area and of course lifestyle plays a big factor on how easy this could be (or not!)

  3. Wonderful idea, thank you. I’ll be following with interest. I’m not super-market free, but at least ‘supermarket-light’ – in part because the nearest proper one is a 12 mile round trip, which helps with the temptation! I am trying to grow as much food as I can. I’m also lucky to be in a rural part of Suffolk with many local producers, both large and small (and where the traditional garden gate ‘eggs / plants / home made jam’ stall lives on!)

    • Thank you! You are probably ‘supermarket-light’-er than me just now 😉 I find it hard to resist the temptation in amongst the chaos of a busy life. I am well served by supermarkets – I reckon I’ve got at least 12 (probably far more!) within 12 miles… The more I read though, the more guilt I feel when I use them. Cold turkey works best for me and I guess the longer I go, the better my chances of breaking my bad habits.

      Thanks for your comments, welcome to the blog!

  4. The only one I’ve read is Felicity Lawrence’s Not on the Label back in 2004 when it was originally published. I’m not sure whether the 2013 edition is a reprint or an overhaul of the content but I found this book was a real turning point for me in understanding where my food comes from and how to shop better.

    Would love to know your opinion on the others: if I was to read them, which would you particularly recommend? And is there an order you’d suggest? (Bearing in mind the one I’ve already read). Thanks in advance!

  5. From what I know of you, supermarkets probably aren’t that relevant any more so why not look at a bigger picture and read Food Inc or Stuffed and Starved. Also I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of To Dye For if you want to look at what you wear.

    Not on the Label is making me gasp a bit in horror about how food is made. I realise I’ve spent so long just trusting what’s in food and it wasn’t until I became responsible for feeding my children that I paid much more attention to organic, sugar content etc. but even now I’m realising there’s so much more to it all than that….

    • Somehow I missed your response, I’m sorry! I’ve looked up both of the titles you recommended and neither is stocked by my local library : ( So will have to do a bit more investigating!

      Yeah I agree with you about Not On the Label, and trusting too much! It’s true about a lot of things, not just food – we think that companies/corporations/governments have our best interests at heart, and it’s a shock to realise that actually, they don’t…

  6. Currently involved in a campaign to prevent any more supermarkets coming to my little town (we have a Co-op and a Tesco-owned ‘One Stop’ already). Have started a website where we’re blogging about our campaign and trying to collate info, research and resources. We are and I think we’d probably like to link to this blog (and would be happy for you to link to us).

  7. Pingback: Supermarket-free Me: Solutions not problems! | westywrites

  8. Pingback: Supermarket-free Me: Talking politics | westywrites

    • Oh thank you! This has been a surprisingly popular post 🙂 The issue of dye and production of clothes is scary – I was unaware of most of the issues til recently…

  9. Pingback: Lent 2015 Challenge | westywrites

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