Leading ready meal supplier to the senior market, Parsley Box, is on a mission to help alleviate the rising costs of living with a raft of tips for saving cash.
The typical pensioner household will have an annual food bill averaging £1,563 and rising according to recent figures – with spending on housing and fuel costing a further £1,485.
But there are ways to fight back against inflation – including eating ready meals that are cooked in the microwave.
Some comparisons made by the company has shown that savings can be made by planning menus in advance and thinking how they are stored and cooked.
In a bid to help their customers tackle the threat of increasing costs, they have brought down the price of a range of customer favourite meals. Parsley Box have supported customers by reducing prices to just £2.95 on some of its most popular products. This could mean a main meal for every day of the week for just over £20.
Parsley Box has also frozen prices until September -and because their ambient meals don’t need to be stored in a fridge or freezer and are cooked in just a couple of minutes in a microwave, this further adds to the savings.
Oven versus microwave
The method chosen to cook food is often overlooked when it comes to the impact on utility bills.
Cooking with a microwave is much more energy efficient than cooking using an electric oven, according to data from the Energy Saving Trust.
The average microwave uses less than half as much energy as the typical oven – and used once a day costs on average £13 of electricity a year, compared to £30 for an electric oven.
The cost of cooking is more than just the price of the ingredients – with around 20% of a household energy being consumed in the kitchen with expensive ovens, hobs, refrigerators and kettles. Fridge freezers are thought to count for 12% of that cost as they are continually drawing power to maintain a constant temperature.
According to Parsley Box’s Managing Director, Simon Russell, ovens are particularly inefficient because you have to heat up the whole appliance, not just the food in it. ‘Cutting down on the use of the oven and maybe only using for special occasions will make a big impact.’
Microwaves, slow cookers, electric pressure cookers and air fryers all consume significantly less energy than ovens, so using these instead will save you money – with microwaves being particularly energy efficient.
There are other benefits of buying ready meals. Meal planning means eradicating the stress of last-minute cooking – just choose from the wide ranging menu and there can be something different for lunch and dinner every day of the week. Add vegetables and sides to suit, choosing what you want to eat as and when you want to.
This approach also minimises food waste – an added benefit considering the campaign group WRAP says we throw away 9.5 tonnes of food each year. Parsley Box meals last for six months in a store cupboard -so are unlikely to be wasted or go off.
And then there’s the washing up. Dishwashers are energy-hungry, too, because they have to heat water needed as well as run the cleaning mechanism. One run a week can cost £14 over a year – costs that could be saved with Parsley Box meals which can avoid the need for washing up.
Delivered to the door
Another cost of preparing food is the shopping. Visits to the supermarket requires transport and time – which can add up. Parsley Box delivers straight to your door, saving costs of travel.
CEO of Parsley Box, Kevin Dorren, said: ‘We are doing everything in our power to keep the costs of good food at the lowest prices possible. Not only that the method of heating and storing our meals will have an impact on other costs.’
THE VALUE RANGE FROM PARSLEY BOX
There are currently eight meals in the new value range which are priced at £2.95 each – meaning a main meal for every day of the week could cost just over £20.
The addition of a few fresh vegetables and the microwave can be used to produce a complete meal, quickly and cost-effectively.
When taking into consideration all the elements of bringing together a meal, from deciding what to eat to having it on the plate, ready meals can be an efficient and cost-effective way to plan weekly food.