Canned goods are in just about everyone’s shopping carts when we go grocery shopping and I can only assume it’s for convenience and the longer shelf-life.
Sure price may be a deciding factor like it did for us this week but it wasn’t the only reason. My wife wanted to buy Del Monte canned fruit which is out of the ordinary for her.
There is always a time when I’m asking for pineapple and we don’t have a fresh one on the counter to use up. It’s not a bad idea to have a few cans of fruit for ease of use even in recipes for marinating or baking.
She noticed the cans were on sale for $1.00 at Freshco so she did the weight and price comparison to the larger cans. It was certainly worth the price since the larger can was approximately twice the size but ringing in at $3.29.
This time of year fruit is reasonably priced but my wife is picky about her peaches. She hates buying peaches that have no flavour.
Apparently they are picked before they are ripe and go through a process to keep them from becoming ripe too soon during travels to our grocery stores. You might find this in produce that is out of season or travelling far to get to your dinner table. It just doesn’t taste the same.
I’m sure you can all relate to the peaches and plums we’re talking about. She wanted to grab a few cans until we could make it to the local farmers market to see if we could find something better than what is in the grocery store, especially if it’s locally grown. We don’t mind supporting our local farmers. It’s a matter of us getting out to the farms.
Sure you can buy locally grown in the grocery store but there’s something special about going to the farm and picking the fruit yourself and seeing it on the trees.
We also buy other canned products on occasion such as canned vegetables especially canned green beans or mushrooms. It’s not uncommon for us to buy canned meat and fish.
When I was living in the UK I loved buying sardines but at one point a friend said to me “Are canned sardines good for you?” which made me question them for a second. To be honest anything fresh is better but I’m still alive and they tasted good to me. Ironically I’ve never bought sardines in Canada.
Canned goods to avoid
When buying canned goods there are some cans you might want to avoid wasting your money on. This was a topic that I knew I wanted to learn more about because we do purchase canned goods and what I learned seemed to be more common sense than anything at all.
Just because the food inside a can looks good it might not be if your canned goods shows any of these signs which I found at Eat Right Ontario who share an informative post about canned goods and food safety in Ontario. Below is my opinion and findings about such issues with canned goods.
- Dented– Dents in cans may seem harmless but if there are dents in the can it can prove unsafe if the preserving has been affected. Some people fear botulism in dented cans or in home canned products which is a food poisoning caused by a bacterium (botulinum) growing on improperly sterilized canned meats and other preserved foods. Botulism can happen if even a pinhole is created in a dented can. I won’t say that I haven’t bought a dented can before and eaten it because I have. I survived but we are all taking a risk even though apparently the risk is low. My health is worth more than a discounted price. If you dent a can on your own (we’ve all dropped cans before) it’s best to use that canned good as soon as possible.
- Bulging- If your can is bulging my first question would be, why is it bulging? The second thought would be, I’m not purchasing it. Even if the can is on the reduced rack I tend to stay far away from damaged product. I don’t want to waste my money nor risk our health.
- Leaking-This is self-explanatory. If you have to question whether a leaking can is safe than you should bring the can to customer service so they stop you from purchasing it. The cashier may be trained to watch for such defects as well but whether they will stop you from purchasing it is another question.
- Dusty- Buying a dusty can may mean one thing “old product’, again common sense should tell us to not purchase it. Not all canned goods will have an expiry date if any at all. In Canada according to Eat Right Ontario only foods that have a “90 day shelf-life” must have a best before date. Otherwise you may just see a bunch of numbers on the top of a can like you do in the Del Monte Fruit photo I posted above. If you aren’t sure do what I would do and call the manufacturer and they can tell you more about the product by the number coding on the can. Being an informed consumer is better than guessing. Personally, I wouldn’t buy a dusty can.
- Torn or missing labels- If a label is missing from a can you are buying a product where you really don’t know what lurks inside. Sure someone may confirm what the product is but without labelling but you won’t truly know until you open the can. I don’t know if there’s any legality behind selling unlabelled cans in Canada. If the label is torn it’s up to you whether you purchase it. Someone may have ripped the label by accident or it was torn in transit or from the grocery clerk stocking the canned goods shelf. I remember back in the UK when they had an area for cans that were missing labels they’d be around the 15-20p mark and we’d buy one or two and play tinned food roulette. You’d constantly be surprised as to what you’d get.
- Rust- If you see rust on a can that is another no-no especially if the rust is prominent which might also cause pinholes so stay away from rusty products. We have had some canned goods or even preserved jars in the cold room that have rust around the rims that we can easily wipe off. This happened in our presence not before we purchased them. If it’s simple surface rust that we can wipe off we personally wouldn’t get too worried but that’s your own call. This is just another reason to make sure your canned goods are stored properly and follow FIFA- First In, First Out which is not new its common sense with any food product not just canned goods.
Canned food storage
I’ve seen some pretty elaborate canned good shelving in cold rooms and pantries on the internet and for good reason, food safety. If you love to coupon or to scoop up great deals on canned goods you might have a large pantry of cans that you should be tracking.
If you are super organized like we try to be (note “try”) you can use our handy FREE downloadable Pantry List so you can track exactly what you have in your pantry.
Buying canned goods are great if you want meals ready to eat or for storing products for longer periods of time. Canned goods are also great to save money when food is pricey depending on the season.
The shelf-life of canned goods can vary depending on the product but tomatoes with high acidity we try to eat with-in the year as well as canned fruits although they don’t last long around our house. If you aren’t sure a simple call to the manufacturer may be your best source of information. On most canned goods you will find a phone number if you have any questions.
Any other products with a low acid count may last longer because of the low acidity (2-5 years according to Eat Right Ontario) but again we do our best to eat it and replace it. The longer the product sits we find the quality of the product is compromised. Sure it may be edible but might not taste as good as if we would have eaten it sooner. The problem is that we don’t know the production date because it isn’t required on the can. It’s up to you to keep track but following the rule of FIFO (First In First Out) is probably the best bet.
Once you open jars of food put them in the refrigerator or follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you open something in a can don’t put the can in the refrigerator. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people do this and it just makes me shake my head. Transfer the product to another container and use up as soon as you can.
Canned goods food safety
This is probably worthy of its own blog post but BPA seems to pop up often when it comes to plastics and canned goods.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical used to make a hard, clear plastic known as polycarbonate. BPA is also used in the manufacture of epoxy resins which act as a protective lining on the inside of some metal-based food and beverage cans.- Health Canada
From my research metal cans may be lined with an epoxy resin which is used to protect the food from contact with metal. According to what I read it sounds like Health Canada is still researching BPA but has strict guidelines when it comes to baby products such as baby bottles. Health Canada concluded that BPA through food packaging won’t cause any major concerns for the general public and young children in a 2011-2012 BPA study.
You can buy products that are BPA-free but how accurate that is, I can’t tell you.
Do you use canned goods? What will you buy and not buy when it comes to canned goods?
July grocery game challenge posts
If you missed any grocery game posts for the month I will post the line-up for the month each week here in this section for you. Join in the Grocery Game Challenge fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each blog post… here are the GGC rules!
Each month I hold a draw and one WINNER is chosen. I will post the name of the person who has the winning grocery shop of the month right here so make sure to check back every week.
- Should grocery stores bother having a garden centre?- The grocery game challenge #1 June 30-July 6, 2014
Grocery saving tips
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Ultimate grocery shopping guide
Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is below with new information added monthly.
If you missed a Grocery Game Challenge post some of the most popular posts are listed below or you can now find the posts listed on their own page called The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.
If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email and let me know.
Food food and more food
If you are a foodie like I am you will enjoy going through my Free Recipe Index where recipes from CBB foodie Nicola and myself are shared every Sunday on the blog. Check it out! Try a recipe and leave a review for other fans!
Grocery shop results
- Sugar Cones $1.49
- 4 x Del Monte Fruit $1.00 each
- 3 x Oasis Juice $1.00 each
- 2x cans of pineapple $0.99 each
- 2 x loaves of bread Sale $1.99 each
- Seedless Grapes $1.00 per pound $2.32
- Celery Sale $1.00 each
- Fuji apples $2.74
- 2 x cucumbers Sale $0.99
- Herb and Garlic Cream cheese large container Sale $3.00
- Limes $1.20
- Anise/Fennel Sale $1.99
- Red tomatoes on the vine $3.42
- Tata premium tea reg $6.99 Sale $3.99 each 216 bags each box
Total out-of-pocket $44.34
Shoppers Drug Mart
- 2x Milk Neilson Sale $3.97
- Neilson Cottage Cheese Sale $1.99
- Danone Creamy Yogurt Sale $2.99
- Schneiders Bacon Sale $3.99- SDM coupon $2.50
- 2 x Dozen Eggs Sale $1.99
- Wonder English Muffins Sale $1.99
Total out-of-pocket $20.38
This shop was part of a spend $75 get 18,500 Optimum points.
Yearly grocery budget for two: $2820
(The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $240 per year or $20 per month.)
- Total Grocery Budget for the Month: $235.00 or $78.33 week with potentially one no-shop week per month or $58.75 for 4 weeks per month. (During the months with 5 weeks we just make it work)
- Total Budget for July $235.00-$49.88=$185.12/4= $46.28 per week
- Total Coupons Used this Week : $2.50
- Total Coupons Used to date: $43.50
- Total Discounts this Week: $0
- Total Discounts Used to date: $43.61
- Total Gift Cards Used to date: $33.18
- Total Rewards Points Used: $0
- Total Rewards Points Used to date: $20.00
- Stockpile Budget ($20.00): $0
- Stockpile Budget Used to Date: $20.00+$19.08+$17.94+ $2.06+$20.00+$15.10 + $20.00 (June)
- Snap Saves to date: $0.25
- Total Spent This Week: $64.72
- Total Spent So Far July: $31.56+ $64.72=$96.28
- Total Over/Under spend this shop: under $13.61 under if we do 4 shops
- Total Over/Under spend for the month: $n/a so far
- Total Left to Spend for the Month: $88.84
- Total to Carry Over Next Month: -$0
- Total Spent To Date This Year: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $242.66+ Feb $191.74+ March $255.82+April $235.07+May $223.62+June $275.37+ July
- Weekly Overview: We stocked up on a few items this week but to be honest we’ve been rushing around as we have so much to get done. We went to one store and although we may have been able to PM a couple of items we forgot our flyers at home on the counter (brilliant I know) so we lost out on a couple products. Other than that we were happy with our shop.
Did you find any coupons? If so share the details in the comment section of this post where you found it and what the coupon is for with expiry. Another week has passed where we didn’t find any new coupons. It really makes me wonder if coupons are slowing down in the stores because of the smartphone coupon apps.
Alternatively we may be just missing out and the coupons are gone by the time we get to the grocery store. We’ve seen many for health and beauty but we haven’t picked any up because we don’t tend to use them these days unless the coupon is amazing. We have so much stock that we need to use up except toothpaste for me but I’m still waiting for some good toothpaste coupons to pop up.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.
- Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops only to win a monthly prize. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
- When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month. You can post your shops all month-long.
- Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: Yes our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any more. It’s just one way to help cut your budget to save money.
- Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Coupon Match-ups of the week and your weekly Checkout 51 offers from 25 Newspaper Inserts around Canada compliments of Save Big Live Better that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge.
- What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
- How Do I Know what stores accept coupons? : You can find all your store coupon policies here. If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
- How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.
Over time you will gradually learn where you should and shouldn’t go in the grocery store or at least how to say no, I’m on a budget I need to buy this or that.
You may also substitute items in order to stick to your grocery budget to make it work. Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do.
This is why the grocery game challenge was created to not only show you that we are like everyone else but to bring us all together to work as a team to get our budgets on track.
If you have just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2014 get ready to dive deep into your grocery budget and learn just where you are spending, how much you are spending and what you are saving.
Feel free to read all the above posts that I linked to above which I feel are relevant to learning about the grocery budget and grocery shopping in general.
You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!
Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge Canada 2014!
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