Interview with Sonia Fevre
We interviewed Sonia Fevre for the tip on Plan What To Buy, here’s the full interview:
Describe yourself and what you do.
I consult for a non-profit organisation working in Southeast Asia. I meet a lot of farmers so I’m conscious of how different small scale farming is to the type of commercial production that provides food to urban areas like Singapore.
It also means I travel a lot and get to experience different approaches to life. Singapore is lucky to have so many types of products available for consumption, but I miss the massive wet markets with fresh, unpackaged foods found in some parts of Asia.
How do you make your shopping list? On paper or phone?
I always have a shopping list with me when I go shopping – this is a running list of items that I add to during the week. I make my shopping list on old scraps of cut up paper, small enough to keep in a pocket. I like to have paper so that I can add and cross things out as necessary.
My list always contains standard items that I need every week with generic terms like ‘yoghurt’, ‘fruit’, ‘vegetables’, but I also try and plan a sort of menu calendar ahead of time. I might crave lasagne or soba noodle salad, so I’ll look up recipes for these dishes ahead of time and add them to the list. I vary between preparing meals I’m familiar with and trying new recipes or variations when I’ve got a bit more time to bring spice to the total food experience!
Why is it important to have a shopping list before buying food? Is the shopping list effective in helping you avoid buying on impulse?
Having a list keeps me on focus, otherwise I go into the shop without much sense of purpose, waste time and often end up with random things. A great tip is also not to go shopping when I’m hungry because then I know I’ll just buy things on impulse.
I consider where to shop for what type of products. Fruit and vegetables are weekly staples so I buy them in more accessible stores like street markets or Fair Price, and I target other shops if I want a particular ingredient I can’t find elsewhere.
I’m lucky to live near a baking store for example and love going there for dairy and baking goods. Overall food shopping is a fine balance between finding healthy, tasty foods, achieving a balanced diet of all food groups, at affordable cost. It’s all second nature to me now, but who knew there was so much thought behind it!
Is it a challenge to stick to the list while shopping?
Of course it’s sometimes a challenge to stick to the list so I leave mental space for ‘treats’ as part of the shopping experience – this might be a special fruity yoghurt, a funky chunky cereal, rice crackers or even exotic teas! And I go through phases when I really like certain types of food, like bagels for breakfast. In which case I might buy a few and freeze them to keep me stocked up for a while.
Interview and Image credit: Sonia Fevre