Cheap food, is bad food right? Well… not always. And there is a kit of money to be saved here if you know how to tell the difference.

One of the things that I firmly believe is that it’s worth spending the money for good food. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s worth spending excessive amounts on expensive food. Remember, a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily mean superior quality.

To appreciate how to save money here, you need to understand a bit about how the products in the average supermarket are priced. The supermarket pricing model involves offering very narrow margins on staple foods and then recouping this on other products, but this is where the cunning stuff happens. They need to make as much money as possible on the other products, but they don’t want to price them out of their customers price range either. As the money people are able to spend varies from customer to customer, they offer a range of products at a range of prices. Supermarkets also attempt to indicate via labelling and even physical placement on shelves that some of their goods are better than others, usually placing the products they most want people to purchase at easy to reach levels.

The thing is that not all products are actually made alike. With some products it will be very easy for the manufacturer to offer a range of products over the price spectrum, but with others it’s very difficult to actually produce different goods.

For example, it’s seldom sensible to buy cheaper brands of products containing meat, as the cheaper versions will typically contain a lot less of it, from poorer cuts, often with more fat. This applies for a lot of ready meals and complicated mixtures of food. The best place to make savings is on the raw ingredients. There is little difference between the premium and basic brands of staples such as rice, pasta, and flour, and practically no difference between others such as salt and sugar. Remember that even the cheapest products in the store are governed by the same regulations that cover safe preparation and storage as the more expensive goods.

Do be aware, however that some savings are made by ignoring ethical issues, cheap clothes, meat, eggs etc can sometimes come from a more ethical supplier, but if you do choose to pay a premium you might want to ensure that you are comparing the difference in price with the amount that is passed on to the manufacturers. Don’t allow yourself to be emotionally manipulated by the supplier just so that they can pocket most of the mark-up.

Francis Lawson is a freelance writer, specialising in money saving hints and financial tips such as online payday loans and quick cash loans.