Cost of living: Jamie Oliver reveals 30 food cupboard essentials he ‘can’t do without’ that save money

Jamie Oliver reckons you can create meals from as little as 40p per head - and no more than £1 a portion - using these items as a base during the financial squeeze.

Jamie Oliver has revealed his “can’t do without” cupboard essentials that will save you money when cooking during the cost of living crisis. Chickpeas, beans or pulses, tinned tomatoes and flour were rated as key ingredients by the celebrity chef, while chilli sauce, curry paste and pesto were also said to be brilliant for transforming humble staples.

In addition, he also tipped three essentials from the freezer - peas, sweet potato and garlic - as key ingredients for plenty of dishes. Jamie reckons you could create meals from as little as 40p per head - but no more than £1 a portion - using such items as a base for at least a week’s worth of delicious dinners.

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The advice comes after research of 2,000 adults, commissioned by Tesco, revealed 43 per cent are planning to spend less on their essentials this year. Chef Jamie Oliver, who has collaborated with the supermarket to create value-friendly store-cupboard dishes to give shoppers inspiration, said: “Research shows many people are trying to find ways to spend less on their food shop this year and looking for ingredients that will make more meals for less.

“For that, the store cupboard is your best friend. It’s a brilliant library of non-perishable items that have the ability to make lots of delicious, nutritious meals on a budget. To highlight the wonderful ways these hard-working ingredients can help in the kitchen, I’ve teamed up with Tesco to share my store cupboard essentials.

“I’ve also included seven delicious recipes using them, that come in from just 40p per portion when you take advantage of the supermarket’s Low Everyday Prices, Clubcard Prices and Aldi Price Match." In a video, the Essex-born chef explains how items such as flour, lentils and tinned tomatoes can not only save you time, but also money when it comes to preparing meals for the family, as well as how much you could save by revisiting your store cupboard essentials.

The guidance was inspired by the findings of the study, which found increases in energy bills in colder months was the main reason respondents were looking to spend less on their food shop. Of those looking to tighten their spending this year, 63 per cent were planning to do so by using up all the items in their cupboards, and 62 per cent will cook frozen items they already have.

To make their money go further, 37 per cent intend to plan meals and only buy what they need, the same percentage will sign up to loyalty schemes for discounts, and 31 per cent will use reduced sections. It also emerged that bread, eggs, pasta and rice were consumers’ most essential items, alongside baked beans, either vegetable or olive oil and packet seasonings.

Jamie Oliver has revealed his can’t do without cupboard essentials that will save you money when cooking during the current financial squeeze.
Jamie Oliver has revealed his can’t do without cupboard essentials that will save you money when cooking during the current financial squeeze.
Jamie Oliver has revealed his can’t do without cupboard essentials that will save you money when cooking during the current financial squeeze.

And the low-cost dishes respondents default to when trying to save money are beans on toast, a jacket potato and soups. While stews, omelettes and pasta bakes are also popular.

But 22 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, always use ingredients in the same way, because they lack inspiration. As a result, Jamie Oliver has suggested some new dishes to help those looking for inspiration on how to use up their store cupboard ingredients including Sweet Potato and Pepper Tikka Masala, Spicy Store Cupboard Soup and Odds and Ends Arrabbiata Al Forno.

Top 30 items shoppers should keep stocked in their kitchen, according to Jamie Oliver

  • Bread, flatbreads and wraps
  • Eggs
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Baked beans
  • Oil
  • Seasoning
  • Condiments
  • Chopped tomatoes and/ or tomato paste
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Cereal/ granola/ muesli
  • Soup
  • Porridge oats
  • Flour
  • Stock cubes
  • Garlic and other herbs
  • Sugar
  • Tinned fish
  • Biscuits
  • Pasta sauce
  • Frozen fish
  • Chocolate
  • Beans
  • Frozen meat
  • Noodles
  • Vinegar
  • Lentils and other grains (e.g., couscous, quinoa, bulgur wheat, etc.)
  • Jam and/or marmalade
  • Tinned vegetables
  • Honey

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