WW2 Rations Shopping List and Weekly Cost

Good morning, I woke up at 6am this morning, grabbed a cuppa tea and created my own week 1 WW2 rations shopping list, thought you might like to see it. I’ve broken down prices to what it would cost per week and I’ve taken the prices from ASDA which is where I normally shop online for my groceries.

I have more cheese on my weekly ration and no meat as I am taking the rations given to a vegetarian during WW2 and because I am vegan I’ll be using a plant-based cheese and not taking my ration of eggs or dairy milk (but will be making my own oat milk). For butter I am using Flora Plant B+tter, and for margarine and cooking fat I am using Flora Vegan Margarine. I could get the margarine cheaper but I like the taste of this one.

You can download these sheets HERE if you would like to print them out or view them offline.

Must rush, I’ve got to jump in the shower and head to work!

C xxx

35 thoughts on “WW2 Rations Shopping List and Weekly Cost

  1. Hi all, obviously for many of these items I’ve bought enough for the month and broken the cost down for a week as thought it would be interesting to see! C xxxx

  2. Looking forward to trying this! The OH is worried about the cheese ration because he normally has half a weeks worth in one sandwich 🫢
    Q: How much do you think you normally spend on a weeks shopping?
    Is there anywhere you think you’ll spend more? And where do you think you’ll save most?
    Thanks for all the work you’ve put in.

    • Hi Julie, just on my tea break so thought I’d quickly answer this. My normal shopping bill on a modern diet is 3 times that amount as I buy things like vegan meat and cheese and obviously eat larger quantities so it works out quite expensive. I also buy avocados, and was buying all my plant based milk until recently. Looking at my shopping list above I can see that I may spend a bit more on fresh produce, I will stick religiously to what I have planned in the first week then reassess. I’m definitely saving most by not eating large quantities of plant based fake foods. After the month I will likely cut back on these and maybe only have them once or twice a week maximum xxxxx

  3. Morning Carolyn and everyone else.

    I am going to cost everything up, to the best of my ability at the end of the month if that’s ok with you. I am keeping track of what I’ve bought, but because I am trying to shop local, I can’t know in advance how much things will cost.

    • I think it will be really interesting to see how much the price of food varies from where you are able to shop and also todays prices could actually be much more reasonable than the prices that people during the war had to pay? It really is very interesting xxxxx

  4. Completely random question here, I apologise in advance!
    Does anyone know of a margarine that’s sold wrapped like butter, not in a plastic tub? I’m not vegan or even vegetarian and am in the UK.

    Thank you!

    • Sainsbury’s do a paper wrapper ‘margarine’ called Flora Plant B&tter. For frying Crisp N Dry still do a block, and for baking there is Trex. If you google Solid Margarine, it’ll give you quite a few options. To get away from plastic, I decant my Flora into a glass container as soon as it gets home; it doesn’t affect its longevity – in fact I think lasts longer.

      • Thank you for that. I have ended up with Willow, I have really struggled to find anything. We’re too downmarket to have a Sainsbury’s!

    • yes I use Flora Plant Butter, you can get it salted and unsalted and its wrapped like traditional butter. I mostly use vegan margarine but sometimes you need a harder fat for baking. xxx

    • It’s never as exciting without other people participating so I am equally excited!!! Can’t wait! Really genuinely interested in hearing how other people get on, struggles and all and also the creativity that I’m sure will be used!!! C xx

  5. I made a homily pie after seeing it listed on your weekly recipes. Is there any mention of cream being on ration? The recipe I followed used 150ml which seemed a similar amount to the fat for the pastry. Would appreciate any thoughts anyone has.

    • I don’t actually know the answer to this, but I can’t imagine that cream would have been available. I would imagine that the cream would have all been used to make butter.

      • On cream availability during WW2 : unless you lived rurally cream was (like so many other things, such as game) very unlikely to be available. Back then you had to make do with a rue or white sauce made with flour, milk powder and water.

      • There are many vintage cream makers around still (I used to have a 1940s bakelite one). A mixture of milk and butter heated together then hand pumped from the receptical through the adjustable nozzle. It does work! However the reality is during the war butter was so precious that I’m sure “Bel Cream Makers” rarely got used. If you kept cattle on a farm, you’d have loads of cream of course but for most the top of the milk was the closest most people got and made all types of mock cream instead c xxxx

    • People would have used the top of the milk in lieu of cream. Not something you can do now, unfortunately, with homogenised milk. There was also home-made ‘mock cream’ which was a combination of butter ( more likely margarine), flour and milk. I’ve got recipe books from the late 50s that still had recipes for mock cream.

      • I’ve used mock cream recently (before I was able to get hold of evaporated milk); it comes in two varieties, one for pouring over fruit, which is basically white sauce, and one for filling cakes as a substitute for whipped cream/icing, which is more like blancmange!
        Doesn’t taste anything like cream, of course (and you really do want to make it with a tablespoon of butter and not with marge), but it’s a decent dessert item in its own right.

    • Here in Australia lettuces are in short supply due to recent floods and are selling at about $12 each! I am so grateful for my victory garden which is full of greens at this time of year (winter). In summer lettuces bolt to seed in the heat so they’re a winter veggie in Adelaide.

    • Hi to Igenlode Wordsmith

      On the subject of makeshift types of desserts such as you mentioned were “more like blancmange” there was the old favourite box of Brown & Polson Assorted Blancmange Powders. They came in a box containing 5 flavour sachets, each sachet was a different flavour. Just cornflour custard really but if it was mixed with frothed up evaporated milk it was quite light, not quite Angel Delight but not bad. As kids we often had ‘cornflour custard’ flavoured with Camp coffee, Ovaltine, cocoa powder or one of the many ‘essences’ available from the Co-op which was a change from ‘Bird’s’ custard powder.

      • We gave up on blancmange powder after my mother worked out that you could get exactly the same result by making a sweet white sauce and letting it set (for vanilla blancmange) or adding cocoa powder (for chocolate flavour blancmange). During lockdown I couldn’t get Bird’s custard powder and realised I could save space in my cupboards by either making egg custard with a teaspoon of cornflour, or else making white sauce using vanilla sugar. It used to be handy to have as a quick sauce, though.
        It never occurred to me to try mixing blancmange with evaporated milk!

    • I’ve always thought the same, when I see the points on a tin of spam I automatically think wow, there would be so much more I could get to feed my family instead!!!

      • Is it because ‘this site uses Akismet to reduce spam’ (tee-hee)? Perhaps the prevalence of email spam has made us all think that tinned spam was more common than it actually was!

  6. I adore vegetables and very very rarely eat meat, so will do a vegetarian diet. I don’t use sugar in drinks, and try to cook low fat for my health. But! The tea ration is going to absolutely devastate me, I’m used to having two cuppas before I leave for work, even when I have 0300h starts. And at work it’s normally a cuppa every flight….ughh. I can see what herbal alternatives came into their own in WW2.

    • The tea is what I am going to struggle with too, I make a pot in a morning with 3 caddy spoonsful of tea, that’s more than the entire daily ration! I have dug out a smaller teapot, but even then that 1 mug of tea is going to be all I can have every day. Luckily I am off work for the first 2 weeks of the experiment, but going back to work without a cup of tea to set me up for the shift is going to be torture.

      • Sending you some tea rationing hugs Su!!!! xxxx I had to come off strong fresh coffee. I was drinking 2 litres a day and a couple of weeks ago got 12 hours of palpitations at 120 bpm non stop, came off it cold turkey and had two days of crushing headaches but all is OK now. I’m glad i did that now as there will be no coffee in my rations, I’ve now found a love for tea again but lost my trusty flask yesterday (somewhere in town) so had to get another. I have to make a litre of tea in my flask every morning to last me the day, that’s my routine!! xxx

  7. Hello, I’ve only recently come across your site. I’m looking forward to joining the challenge. Luckily I have Hens, so that is going to help. I’ve managed to get most of the rations. Would they drink herbal tea like peppermint, and would it be in the points ration system?

    • Hi Sadie, I am sure there were people who made their own herbal teas, people have done so for many hundreds of years from plants from the garden but nope it was only standard tea in the ration if you needed to buy some as far as I can see. xxxx

    • Teas can be very high in caffeine so don’t over do it, Herbal teas were prevalent in WW2, now considered homeopathic, here are a few:
      Raspberry leaf for period cramps
      Peppermint or ginger for indigestion
      Lemon balm or camomile to calm
      Nettle for lowering blood sugar

  8. I’m so excited for this! While I won’t be doing it this time, I have done a week of rationing in the past. Also – wow is food cheaper in the UK! I live in Washington state in the US, and many things cost twice as much (yep, after conversion). (As a vegan too, food bills have been terrible lately!) I hope that you have a wonderful time! Thank you!

  9. Pingback: Living on WW2 Rations Experiment – Video Intro – The 1940's Experiment

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