THE BLOG

I Didn't Shop in a Supermarket for Six Months

02/07/2014 13:35 BST | Updated 01/09/2014 10:59 BST

Six months ago I decided to stop shopping in supermarkets as an experiment. I haven't bought anything in a Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Aldi, etc. since December 31st 2013.

I didn't do this because I'm anti-globalisation (I love Starbucks), into the slow food movement (I'm not really sure what it is), or trying to convert people to local shopping. I just had a bad trip to a supermarket two days before Christmas, got annoyed, and wondered if there was another way.

After six months I've concluded my experiment. Here are my incredibly scientific findings:

  1. It's surprisingly easy to get most stuff you need without supermarkets. A weekly veg delivery and a monthly meat delivery for the freezer sets you up well. Plus the corner shop sells most things, and the internet sells everything.
  2. Milk rounds still exist and are great. You can manage everything online and they also deliver bread, bacon and even cat food. The only downside of getting a milk delivery is that, as anyone who has watched a 1970s British comedy knows, the milkman will inevitably sleep with your wife. It's a small price to pay for fresh milk though.
  3. When you don't have an ingredient it is really annoying to have to travel round endless delis and independent grocers when you live 300 yards from a Tesco. You hate yourself and wish you weren't such a dick. Your family start to hate you too. And you still don't have any turmeric.
  4. Shopping locally/independently is no more expensive than shopping at a supermarket. In fact I think I've spent less on food, possibly because I've been getting seasonal produce and making things from scratch. But...
  5. ...I've spent lots more on takeaways because I wasn't organised enough to have food in. When the curry delivery man says "I haven't seen you this week", you know you have problems.
  6. Most supermarket veg (and to a degree meat) is flavourless and awful. I guess this isn't surprising if it's been on a boat for a month. If the supermarket has had to get its strawberries from Peru, don't be shocked when they taste like sadness.
  7. Supermarkets are the brightest, most colourful places in the world when you haven't been in them for a while. I can't explain how amazing they look. They're a credit to their marketing departments.
  8. Getting a box of vegetables delivered and googling recipes is an excellent way to cook new things. There is a recipe online for every combination of ingredients you can imagine.
  9. When you tell people you don't shop in supermarkets they hate you and think you're an arsehole (perhaps justifiably).

In conclusion I don't think I'll ever go back to doing a weekly supermarket shop, but it'll be good to be able to pop in and pick up ingredients as needed.

If you're thinking about shopping independently for a bit, I'd say go for it. Just make sure you've stocked up on turmeric first.

Robbie Knox is an award winning writer, producer and director. He is a founder of the production company Cinema Campesinos, who specialise in creating content and commercials for brands and media owners.