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MIDDLESBROUGH Environment City


  • Check your cupboards and fridge first to see what you really need.
  • Plan your shopping, write a meal planner and shopping list. Set a food shopping budget and stick to it.
  • Buy store-own brands -they’re often cheaper and just as nutritious.
  • Be wary of ‘Buy one get one free’ offers. Will you use it?
  • Look out for offers on perishable foods (foods that need to be stored in the fridge) that are near their use-by date. If they can be frozen it may be worth stocking up.
  • Homemade food is cheaper than ready-made or convenience food. A homemade pasta sauce can be made at a fraction of the cost of a shop-bought one.
  • Check the price at local suppliers or markets, as they can sometimes be cheaper than larger supermarkets.
  • Buy cheaper cuts of meat. Try lamb shoulder instead of leg, or chicken thighs and drumsticks instead of breasts and cook them in a slow cooker.
  • Buy vegetables and meat loose and in the exact amounts you need. This is often cheaper and will stop food going off before you have time to use it.
  • Eat seasonal food. Fruit and vegetables are often cheaper when they’re in season than imported food. Try apples, pears and root vegetables in winter and salads, strawberries and other soft fruit in the summer months
  • Shelves at eye level usually contain more expensive items so check out all the shelves.
  • Stock up on store cupboard ingredients – e.g. cans of pulses and tomatoes or packets of pasta, rice or cereals – when they’re on offer. Canned fruit and vegetables count towards your five-a-day and don’t go off quickly, so you can buy them in bulk.
  • If you shop online, use a supermarket comparison website to find the best prices for the products you want to buy
  • Split bulk-buy discounts between you and a friend – All of the saving and none of the waste or storage problems!
  • If you buy bulk packs of meat or fish, separate them into portions and freeze the ones you know you won’t use before the use-by date.
  • Consider using Community food outlets such as Eco Shops, Community Grocery etc.


  • Cook a big batch of soup, stew, curry, pasta etc and freeze any extras.
  • Use less meat and bulk up stews, soups, chilli and curries with canned pulses like kidney beans, butter beans, chickpeas and mixed beans. You could divide your usual portion of meat into two meals and add extra vegetables to make it stretch further.
  • Cook in bulk and freeze in portions once they are completely cold.
  • Share meals with friends and take it in turn to cook.
  • If you have the space, grow your own fruit and vegetables and herbs – lots can be grown in containers and pots.
  • Canned and frozen fruit and vegetables can be cheaper than fresh ones and are just as nutritious.
  • Pulses e.g.chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans are a lot cheaper than meat and are full of protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Try cooking more veggie meals like dahl or vegetable stew.
  • An average UK household throws away a third of the food they buy, but with some careful planning, you can make a meal out of what you would usually throw away.
  • Cooking in a slow cooker uses a fraction of the energy compared to a conventional oven.
  • Microwave cooking is also cheaper.
  • When using the oven, try to cook several items at once to save energy.

‘Use by’ Dates

Apply to high-risk perishable foods e.g.cooked ham- where there is a risk to food safety if eaten after the ‘use-by’ date. It is an offence to sell food beyond this date.

‘Best Before’ Dates

Apply to food with a longer shelf life such as tinned, dried or frozen. It is not an offence to sell foods beyond this date and there is no food safety risk, but the quality may be affected.


4 carrots, cut into chunks
4 small parsnips or 3 large, cut into chunks
3 red onions cut into wedges
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp each ground cumin, paprika, cinnamon and mild chilli powder
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 can of  chick peas
2 small handfuls soft dried apricots
2 tsp honey


  1. Mix the vegetables. oil. spices, tomatoes, apricots and honey and place in cooker
  2. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours until the veg is tender
  3. Serve with couscous or jacket potato


2-3 medium chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces
150g broccoli florets
150g zucchini, chopped
150g bell pepper, chopped (any colours you like)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp EACH garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper
1 tbsp Italian seasoning (or spice blend of choice)


  1. Preheat air fryer to 200 C. Chop the veggies and chicken into small bite-size pieces and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the oil and seasoning to the bowl and toss to combine.
  3. Add the chicken and veggies to the preheated air fryer and cook for 10 minutes, shaking halfway, or until the chicken and veggies are charred and chicken is cooked through. If your air fryer is small, you may have to cook them in 2-3 batches.

Chef’s Tips

Spices: Replace the Italian seasoning with your favourite spice blend. taco, Cajun, lemon pepper or any other blend works great too! Just be sure to reduce the salt if the blend already includes salt.

Veggies: Replace veggies with your favourite quick-cooking veggies. To use potatoes air fryer the potatoes for 10 minutes first.


1 tbsp oil
1 red onion
1 red pepper, sliced
1 yellow pepper sliced
1 green pepper sliced
6 medium mushrooms, sliced
1 small can kidney beans drained
1 tbsp fajita seasoning
Flour tortillas
Salad, sour cream and grated cheese to serve


  1. Preheat the oil in a frying pan and add all the vegetables and fry until softened .
  2. Add the kidney beans and fajita seasoning, fry for 1 to 2 minutes and serve with the tortillas
  3. Warm the tortillas in the microwave for a few seconds.
  4. Wrap the cooked vegetables in the tortillas, together with sour cream and/or grated cheese. Serve with salad.


75g pasta
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1–2 tsp oil
200g/7oz tinned chopped tomatoes
1–2 tbsp tomato purée
½ tsp red chilli flakes, to taste
1 tsp Italian seasoning or dried oregano
1 tbsp grated Parmesan, or vegetarian alternative (optional)
Pinch of salt


  1. Put the pasta and salt in a microwavable bowl, cover with boiling water and microwave for the cooking time stated on the packet, plus an extra 4 minutes. Stir every 2–3 minutes to make sure the pasta doesn’t stick together. Drain and set aside.
  2. Tip the garlic and oil into a microwavable bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, Italian seasoning and red chilli flakes. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring halfway. Set aside to cool for 1 minute to allow the mixture to thicken up.
  3. Stir the pasta into the sauce and sprinkle over the Parmesan, if using.

Recipe Tips

You can add some frozen peas or beans to the pasta water for colour and extra vegetables.


1 onion
2–3 garlic cloves
2 medium carrots or 1 medium carrot and 1 medium sweet potato
1 red pepper
½ vegetable stock cube
1 x 400g can red kidney beans
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin (optional)
1 tsp dried oregano (optional)
Ground black pepper (optional)


  1. Peel the onion and chop into small pieces, then peel and press or finely chop the garlic.
  2. Peel the carrots (and the sweet potato if using) and chop into 1cm chunks.
  3. Wash the pepper, deseed and slice into 1cm pieces.
  4. Place the onion, garlic, carrots and (sweet potatoes if using) in the microwavable bowl and mix well. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook on full power for 3 minutes.
  5. Measure 300ml of boiling water into a measuring jug, crumble in the stock cube and stir to dissolve. Open the can of kidney beans, drain and rinse with cold water through the colander. Set aside.
  6. Add the red pepper, oil and chilli powder to the microwaveable bowl. Add the cumin and oregano, if using. Stir and microwave on full power for one minute.
  7. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, stock and black pepper, to taste (if using). Stir well again, then microwave on full power for 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes.
  8. Remove the soup from the microwave. If you want smooth soup, rather than chunky soup, you can blend it at this stage.
  9. Add the kidney beans to the soup and microwave on full power for three minutes, stirring after two minutes.
  10. Remove the soup from the microwave and allow to stand for one minute before serving.


500g strong wholemeal flour or strong white flour (or a mix of flours), plus extra for dusting
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp fine sea salt


  1. Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Measure 350ml warm water and pour most of it into the well. Mix the flour and water together with your fingers or a wooden spoon until combined into a slightly wet, pillowy, workable dough – add a splash more water if necessary.
  2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 10 mins until smooth and elastic. This can also be done in a tabletop mixer with a dough hook.
  3. Shape the dough into a large, tight ball and sit the ball on a square of baking parchment. Use the parchment to lift the dough into your slow cooker, cover and set the slow cooker to high. Leave for 2 hrs.
  4. Lift the bread out using the parchment. The bottom should be crusty and the top should be springy, not soft. (If you have a digital cooking thermometer, the middle of the loaf should be 90C.) If it isn’t ready, return to the slow cooker for 15 mins and test again – it could take up to 2 hrs 30 mins.
  5. The bread won’t get a significant crust or golden colour in the slow cooker. Once cooked, you can leave it to cool, or put in the oven at 240 C / 220C fan / Gas Mark 9 for 5-10 mins to get some colour.


1 tbsp Vegetable oil
8 sausages
1 onion, Sliced
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
1 large carrot, finely chopped
300g new potatoes, thinly sliced
1 tin baked beans
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 beef stock pot or cube
Crusty bread to serve


1. Put the oil into a pan and brown the sausages.
2. Put the sausages into the slow cooker along with the remainder of the ingredients and carefully mix with a spoon.
3. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Serve with crusty bread.


4 boneless pork chops, about 1″-thick
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
70g finely grated Parmesan
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  1. Pat pork chops dry with paper towels, then coat both sides with oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine Parmesan, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper. Coat both sides of pork chops with Parmesan mixture, pressing to adhere.
  3. In an air-fryer basket, arrange pork chops in a single layer. Cook at 375°, flipping halfway through, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of pork chop registers 145°, about 9 minutes.
  4. Let pork chops rest about 10 minutes before serving.

The Middlesbrough Food Power Alliance is network and partnership of individuals and cross sector organisations that work together to tackle the rising level of food insecurity across Middlesbrough. The Alliance takes an asset-based approach, always starting with the strengths and skills in a community, then supporting people with effective advice, skills and a strong support network.

The Middlesbrough Food Power Alliance takes a holistic and collaborative approach, identifying gaps in provision and working together to provide sustainable solutions and a strong action plan to improve the residents of Middlesbrough’s lives.  The Alliance work across five key themes

  1. Championing healthful affordable food
  2. Surplus food redistribution
  3. Maximising income
  4. Engaging and involving people with lived experience of food insecurity
  5. Affordable Warmth

MEC coordinate the Food Power Alliance, so please get in touch if you would like to be involved and work together to reduce food insecurity in Middlesbrough.

How we can help you

Get in touch with us and we can sign post you to the relevant organisation to provide you with support on food, benefits, fuel & much more.

Growing Middlesbrough is a town wide initiative to improve access to local food – that is food that has been grown or produced within 50 miles of the town. It acts as a network of local food producers, retailers and enthusiasts that work together to satisfy customer demands.

The ability to buy local food is something that is becoming of more concern to everyone right now. We are starting to care about what we eat and where it actually comes from. Whether it has been grown or produced locally, whether vegetables or meat, more people want to go local for food. It doesn’t just support the local economy, but also reduces your carbon footprint significantly.

The following website can provide you with information and more on how to get involved with Growing Middlesbrough. Whether you are a grower and/or producer of good local food, or even a local caterer looking to highlight the tastes of the region, we would be more than happy to welcome you to the family.

View Website

For over 10 years Middlesbrough has been a Fairtrade Town and has ran a full range of events and campaigns. Middlesbrough successfully renewed its Fairtrade status in March 2018.

Fairtrade in Middlesbrough is managed by the Middlesbrough Fairtrade Steering Group who are working hard to make Fairtrade products more accessible to all. Since 2009, we have seen an ever-expanding range of products and outlets throughout Middlesbrough. There are now over 100 places where Fairtrade products can be purchased and enjoyed, all of these are available in our Middlesbrough Fairtrade Directory.

There are many benefits to Fairtrade – not only does the campaign promote social justice for producers in developing countries, it also demonstrates Middlesbrough’s commitment to global issues and helps improve consumer choice.

How can you get involved?

Everyone can help support Middlesbrough’s Fairtrade campaign. We can all make a difference, here are some top tips:

  • Look out for the Fairtrade Foundation mark, and buy products as part of your shopping
  • If a shop doesn’t stock the Fairtrade products you want, ask them! A shop may not be aware of the demand.
  • Get involved with Middlesbrough Fairtrade campaign.
  • Look out for the Middlesbrough A Fairtrade Town window sticker in cafes, workplaces or a community organisation if they don’t have one as them if they want to get involved too.

For more information email: rachael.proud@Menvcity.org.uk

Facebook Page

You can find Middlesbrough Fairtrade on Facebook at:


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If youre looking for a job not quite as intense as our Directors role, then be sure to visit The Community Hub at North Ormesby every Thursday, from 9.30am to 12.30pm, and drop into their Job Search Club which offers exclusive volunteering and training opportunities, interview preparation, CV and cover letter guidance and more!
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