Now, I had intended to get this posted on Monday, hence the meal planning title. Yes, well.
As no doubt you are aware, a number of bloggers were challenged last weekend to shop at Morrisons, buying the things that we usually do, in order to find out whether the new cheaper prices across the store made a difference to our budget. Now, I’m usually a Lidl shopper these days, so any supermarket has quite a challenge on to beat the usual price of my trolley. And I cook from scratch most of the time – I like to know what we’re eating, plus I can fine tune it across the family, and it’s invariably cheaper.
So, I headed to Morrisons with my list and my £80 vouchers, intrigued to know how this would pan out.
Generally speaking, I am a Morrisons fan – they’re a northern company and I’ve fond memories of them from when we lived near Sheffield, when they were our most easily accessible big supermarket. I like that when you first go in, you’re straight into the fresh zone, where I picked and chose a couple of different apple varieties, and then compared and contrasted bananas, discovered that the loose ones are *much* cheaper than the pre bagged ones.
I did compare apples, and it wasn’t the same story – the only loose braeburns were enormous, so it would have ended up much more expensive to buy the same number loose as were available in the bag. I also grabbed a couple of bargains off the reduced shelves – some strawberries for the kids and some pre chopped veg soup root veg. Off to a good start.
Next stop the bakery. The kids absolutely adore french bread, so I was very happy to see the I’m cheaper sticker dropping the price from 75p (same as Lidl) to 50p. Although you can see bakery shelves, there weren’t any warm ones out for sale – I did pop back later in the shop (which took me over an hour!) and there hadn’t been any more added.
Only a couple of aisles into the shop, and while I was impressed so far, I was beginning to find the yellow stickers everywhere rather overwhelming. I don’t like shopping in new places anyway, not knowing where my usual things are, and not knowing what the bargains really are, and the yellow signs jutting out from shelves all over the place felt like lots of little voices shouting “look at me, look at me”.
I also noticed that in most places, the reductions were against mid range items, so if you were looking for cheapest of the cheap, as I often am, you don’t see much benefit to the majority of the price reductions. Of course, this was a one off shop, but that was very definitely my impression.
Alongside the “I’m cheaper” signs, there were a variety of bargains, double buys and so on. This served to add to my confusion – I began to wish I’d brought a dedicated camera with me. I also got annoyed at the way things were spread around the shop. For example, there were no £1 free range eggs on the shelf, so I picked up the next best pack price wise. A couple of aisles further on, I came across a stand of boxes of 15 Happy eggs, which proved to be cheaper than the box I’d picked up (though not as cheap as the £1 eggs that were sold out). This meant I was faced with either abandoning the eggs I’d picked up in the wrong place (shudder) or having to go back to put them back in the right place (leaving my trolley in the middle of nowhere as there isn’t really anyway sensible to put it).
The cereal aisle was sadly lacking in reduced prices – a box of own brand Shreddies (no Nestle in this house) set me back £1.89. Given the number my children go through in a week, that’s £3 more expensive than my usual shop, just on those things. I also noticed that milk, for example, you only got reduced if you bought 3 4 pint bottles, fine for me with my family of 6, but not so good for smaller units.
In the meat aisle lots of lovely yellow signs, but again, not on the cheaper selections. It took me a while to find the bargain basement mince equivalent to what I buy in Lidl, but I was pleased to see it was on a bulk buy, £1.99 for 500g, or two for £3.50. This makes it slightly cheaper than my usual actually.
As Tim and Big were away, one 500g pack fed the rest of us for two evenings.
First night, home made burgers with reduced salad, cheese slices I already had, and burger buns (2 packs for £1)
(The glass of wine was from a wine club bottle I’m afraid, that I nursed along through the entire weekend, one glass a night.) We ate 1 pack of buns (50p) most of the salad (think it was reduced to 25p!) and half of one pack of mince (so half of £1.75, 83p). Total for meal feeding two adult sized portions and two child sized portions, £1.58. So around 40p each.
Second night was home made bolognese with pasta. Finished off the mince, chucked in an onion I already had, popped in a box of passata, which turned out to be a bit much to be honest!
Looks good though doesn’t it?
83p for rest of mince, 30p? for passata, onion I already had, spaghetti from store cupboard, but Morrisons prices comparable on both of those. So probably around 40p for those bits. Herbs from cupboard, and I didn’t check how much those would have cost me, oops. Again approaching 40p a portion. Not too bad.
My overall impression is that Morrisons have reduced prices for the middle shopper, rather than the bargain hunter, and while you can still do pretty well across the store, they aren’t going to beat Lidl any time particularly soon. My trolley for a week’s shopping (weekend with two family members away) came to £73 – no nappies this week, but I did buy £9 of alcohol I wouldn’t usually). My usual shop at Lidl is comparable to this – but I’d expect there to be more in it. I certainly would be happy to use Morrisons as an occasional alternative, but week in week out, I won’t be changing my shopping habits.
Disclosure: I was sent £80 in vouchers for the purpose of review.