A guide to food shopping in Leeds

University of Leeds
5 min readAug 12, 2021

Holly Phillips, Law LLB, Year 1

Starting university can be very daunting and I am going to be real with you, adulting is HARD. You have to organise your own life, do your own washing, cleaning, make your own food, do your own shopping, manage your money... This is the real world! But, you are not alone. You will be surrounded by thousands of people in the exact same position as you. Make sure you try to connect with others because it will make your life a little bit easier.

Shopping for your own food is one of the bigger changes to your life. This article is just a little cheat sheet for you, to save you time discovering all the supermarkets nearby, the vegan food shops, the international food shops and the other markets. We hope this helps.

If you are looking for a standard place to do your weekly shop that is close to campus and most accommodations, the Merrion centre is probably a good place to start.

Kirkgate Market

If you are looking for a market to get all your fruit and veg, as well as cheap fresh meats, Kirkgate Market is where it’s at. Kirkgate Market has outdoor and indoor facilities where locals sell fresh foods alongside other small businesses selling things such as plants, flowers, clothes..anything really!

As one of the largest indoor markets in Europe, it has been at the heart of the Leeds market scene since 1857. It is open 8am until 5:30am every Monday- Saturday. As well as nipping there for your weekly shop of fruits, veg or meat, you can dine in. Any cuisine you can think of, you will probably be able to find it at Kirkgate Market.

Based near the Corn Exchange and surrounded by lots of cool vintage shops, Kirkgate Market proves to be a great day out and a popular attraction for local shoppers. You can save your pennies and help out small businesses at the same time. Give it a try.

Merrion Centre

If you are looking for a standard place to do your weekly shop that is close to campus and most accommodations, the Merrion centre is probably a good place to start. About a 5 to 10 minute walk from campus, the Merrion centre hosts a variety of shops that you may need in your daily life at university.

There are a range of places perfect for your weekly food shop; Morrisons, Iceland, Heron and a Co-Op. It also hosts other essential shops, such as Home Bargains, Superdrug and Boots. It also has an NHS Sexual Health Clinic (by appointment only) on the top floor, a good place to visit to make sure you are staying safe.

If you are planning on doing a big shop, it has a car park right next to it so you don’t have to spend your money on an Uber. It is also open everyday early, until late!

Vegan Food Shops

  1. Out of this World

If you are a vegan or want to shop for some vegan food, there are loads of places that will satisfy your needs. Out of This World is a healthy and ethical vegan food store located near Briggate. It has been in Leeds for over 10 years now and proves to be a very good choice for your vegan needs. The staff are super passionate about the products they sell and the stories behind them, which makes the business even more admirable.

Their products are organic, fairtrade, eco friendly, local produce and healthy! Products vary from freshly baked breads, fruit and veg, frozen goods, almond milks and even sports and fitness nutrition. Its prices are very student friendly, making all your healthy meals accessible for your new student lifestyle.

Check out their website to find out more about their products, mission and goals… It’s well worth it.

2. That Old Chestnut

That Old Chestnut is an independent vegan bakery providing delicious vegan treats that are worthy of making you dribble. Most cafes in Leeds will provide at least one vegan option, but in this cafe, all of the options are vegan… from their cakes, to cookies and loafs. They also provide postal treat boxes, which would make for a great inexpensive, but thoughtful, gift for your friends or family.

If you are looking to treat yourself to some vegan goods, why not check out The Old Chestnut!

International Supermarkets

There are quite a few international supermarkets in Leeds, but they may be quite hard to find. Here is a great one for you to check out if you are looking for some great foods…

Taste the Orient

Taste the Orient is an amazing international supermarket super close to the Leeds University Union and also close to most accommodations. It is one of the best priced, if not, THE best priced, international supermarket in town. It is inexpensive, so accommodates the student lifestyle and offers a very wide range of products. They even have their own Bubble Tea section!

It is definitely worth checking out. It is open every Monday to Saturday until 8pm.

Food Waste

Shopping for one person can be difficult at university. It is not easy to find decent portions that you can eat without the food going out of date before you get round to using everything up! My advice is to freeze everything! However, some things aren’t freezable or you may not have enough space. Instead of throwing your food away, you can donate it to somewhere that can make some use out of it. Forge Waste and Recycling are a Yorkshire based company who can collect food from you weekly. They aim to help prevent food waste contributing to landfill and recycle it instead.

On their website, they provide some interesting statistics, such as 32 recycled banana peels can power a home for one hour, 22 recycled tea bags can power a vacuum cleaner for 10 minutes, a kitchen caddy full of food waste could produce enough energy to power a fridge for 18 hours.

If you have a lot of food waste and fancy helping the environment where you can, here is your opportunity. More information can be found on their website, which is linked below.

Website: https://www.forgerecycling.co.uk/services/food-waste/

Takeaways

If you are fancying a takeaway, don’t forget that you can find most of your favourites, as well as some new small business to discover, on Uber Eats or Deliveroo!

We hope this little blog helps you to save time and discover all the best places for your food shops in the great city of Leeds!

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