YELLOW sticker bargains are always the holy grail for those seeking discounted groceries, but one savvy shopper has revealed her trick to getting piles of food completely free of charge.
Laura Gaga, a 40-something civil servant from North West London told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: "I like to eat well for less and avoid food waste where possible, so I am always on the lookout for discounted and free groceries."
Laura, who hosts the podcast Alright Raiders and shares bargains on Instagram as reduction_raider1 and her website, added: "Recently I was able to save money with a decent haul from the food sharing app, Olio.
"The food waste hero was a volunteer who collected the surplus food from Tesco and distributed it on the app.
"They only live a few miles away from me so it was very convenient to pick everything up.
"All of the food I got was marked down with a yellow sticker, but I got it all for free.
"I got plenty of vegetables – butternut squash, a root vegetable medley, a swede and two bags of parsnips. The butternut squash was £1.15 but Tesco had reduced it to 29p and it was free of charge for me.
"The medley was originally £1.15 but it had been reduced to 29p and I paid nothing.
"If I had bought the swede originally it would have been 95p but it was reduced to 24p after yellow sticker discounts and I got it as a freebie.
"The parsnips had cost 80p per bag originally, then they had been reduced to 60p, followed by a final yellow sticker price of 20p and I got them for free.
HOW TO GET FREE FOOD ON OLIO
To get hold of your freebie you'll need to download the Olio app is free to download from Apple Store for iPhones or Google Play Store if you're on android.
You will need to register an account using your email address or Facebook account, and switch on your location settings.
You can then browse the app to find out what's up for grabs in your local area.
When you find something that you like, click on the item and then click the red "Request This Listing" button.
You will then be able to message the volunteer to arrange to collect it.
To list food on the app, you'll need to click on the red + button and add a description.
"I also got three tubs of salsa, caramelised onion houmous and two pots of Free From Soya Greek yogurt. Each salsa tub was £1.20 originally, reduced to 30p each and then free for me.
"As for the hummus, the same reduction was in place. The yogurts had been £1.55 each but yellow stickers made them 39p and I got them without paying thanks to Olio.
"The whole process was easy. I’d been scrolling Olio as usual, and saw the Tesco items listed. I requested everything I wanted, then set off when the food waste hero confirmed it was ready to collect.
"It only took ten minutes to drive there so it was really easy.
"I saved £12.75 overall and, more importantly, I saved good food from being binned. The vegetables will last me a good few days, if not the week.
"The yogurts will also keep now they’re in the fridge, and I will add it to cereal and use it in smoothies.
"The collection was timely as I was meeting friends the next day for a picnic. I roasted a load of vegetables in rosemary from a friends’ garden then put it in a container and took it along with the salsa and hummus, plus some tortillas from the freezer so we could make our own wraps.
"My household food consists of surplus food. If I’m not collecting food using Olio, I’m in the reduced aisle buying yellow, red, orange and green stickers!
"For those who want to start doing the same, I would recommend downloading food waste apps like Olio, Too Good To Go and Karma. Familiarise yourself with your local stores and the times that they reduce their items.
"Shop with an open mind – be prepared to experiment with new foods, try different recipes, and be creative with what you have."
Laura is regularly sharing her bargain finds on Instagram. A recent haul posted with the caption ‘Orange Wednesday’ features reduced items such as 600g of strawberries for 75p, a Parisien baguette for 19p and a bag of baby tomatoes for 30p.
Her zero waste lifestyle leads to posts such as a recipe for Thai flavoured soy chunks in lettuce cups.
She said: "I wanted to use up the lettuce in the fridge, so I made these cups. The soy chunks were given to me by a friend and the Thai curry paste and lettuce came from Olio.
"The coriander was an orange sticker bargain and the cauliflower and broccoli came from my mum as she cooked it then decided she didn’t want to eat it, so she froze it and gave it to me!"
Here's how to get free and cheap food at restaurants by signing up to free subscription trials.
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