‘I used Asda Smart Price food for a week – there were two items I’d never buy again’

The cost of living has soared over the last few weeks, so it’s only natural that many people are trying to cut down on costs where they can.

From hacks to cut down on energy bills to making swaps at the shop for cheaper food and cleaning products.

If you’ve been tempted to cut the price of your grocery shopping bill, then you might want to try buying Asda Smart Price food for a while.

Parenting Editor, Emma Gill of The Manchester Evening News, has shared how she recently set herself a challenge of feeding her family of four using only Asda’s budget Farm Stores fruit, veg and meat range – for a full week.

And she was pretty surprised by the results.

Emma was impressed with the shop


Manchester Family / MEN)

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Emma explained how she started the week by doing some meal planning as that’s an easy way to help ‘keep costs down’ and ‘avoid any food waste’.

She then headed to Asda, where for less than £50 (£49.99) she was able to buy everything she needed to make a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches and evening meals, as well as snacks and puddings too.

This big shop included ingredients for a hearty breakfast and a Sunday lunch, with sponge cake and custard for afters.

“Impressed? You should be,” writes the mum.

She spent £49.99 on her grocery shop


Manchester Family / MEN)

She goes on to admit that some of the products were “lower quality” than she was used to and that it was difficult to find healthy alternatives for meat, fish and cheese when sticking to a tight budget.

Eggs also provided an issue during the weekly shop, with Emma disheartened at having to ‘sacrifice’ free-range eggs for the caged hen variety.

“When it’s £1.18 for 15 mixed sized eggs compared with £1.68 for 12 medium free-range, it’s a big difference when you’re watching every penny,” she explains.

But despite this, she says there were only two items from the whole shop that she wouldn’t bother buying again.

“With the exception of the weak teabags and the poor quality sausages, there’s nothing we wouldn’t eat again – but I guess you get what you pay for with a pack of 20 bangers for £1.”

The Farm Stores bacon was a big hit


Manchester Family / MEN)

For Emma, ​​items like the Farm Stores bacon were a hit as she liked the “thick” slices, but there was a big flaw with the budget range.

She explained: “There were a few items we had to buy from outside the budget ranges to make the meals work – like gravy granules, stock cubes and red cabbage to go with the corned beef hash – but I bought the cheapest options and these were all still included in the final £49.95 bill.

“I did use garlic and tomato puree from home for the chilli, as well as our own salt and pepper, but these could easily be factored into that weekly shop as there were items, like ketchup, brown sauce and chilli powder, that wouldn’t” t need purchasing every week.”

Buying bread was also something she had to do outside of the Smart Price range, as there wasn’t any available other than garlic bread, so she opted for three of the cheapest medium sliced ​​white loaves costing 58p each.

She made spag bol with 39p sauce


Manchester Family / MEN)

Emma tells that she purchased packet cake and batter mixes to try as many of the Smart Price products as possible and while both were ok, “there’s nothing quite like the homemade versions.”

As well as whipping up packet mix cakes, the mum also made spaghetti bolognese (with 39p sauce), chicken curry, chilli, fish and chips and a roast dinner.

She adds: “The plain packaging does nothing to entice us to pick up these budget products – we’re all suckers for marketing really aren’t we – but if you give some of them a go, you might just be pleasantly surprised.”

With Asda promising to stock its full Smart Price and Farm Stores ranges in all 581 food stores and online from the end of this month, hopefully, there will be even more choice when it comes to making cheaper family meals.

A spokesperson for Asda commented: “We know that the cost of running a household is at the front of our customers’ minds at the moment, which is why we have made our full Smart Price and Farm Stores range available in all of our food stores and online.

“This includes more than 30 staple fresh fruit and vegetable products starting from just 39p to give customers a choice of affordable healthy options.”

The packet mix cakes weren’t as good as homemade


Manchester Family / MEN)

So what exactly did Emma feed her family for the week for just £49.99? Here’s a look:



Choice of either toast, toast and jam, wheat bisks (Asda’s version of Weetabix), or porridge


Saturday – sausage sandwiches, eggs on toast, cereal or fruit

Sunday – big breakfast with choice of eggs, beans, sausages, bacon, plum tomatoes, mushrooms, toast



Sandwich with a choice of fillings – lettuce, ham, cheese, tuna, egg mayonnaise/tuna and mayo pasta or tomato pasta

Sausage rolls

Carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, choice of fruit – apple, pear, or plum.

Ready salted crisps

Fromage Frais


Either a sandwich (as above), toastie, tomato soup, sausage roll, cheese on toast



Sunday dinner with chicken, carrots, peas, mash, roast potatoes, sausages, Yorkshire puddings and gravy

Sponge cake and custard


Chicken curry using jar of sauce and chicken left over from Sunday dinner

ice cream


Minced beef and onion pie with mash and carrots

Peach slices or other fruit


Spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread

ice cream


Fish, chips and peas (mushy or garden)



Chilli con carne with tortilla chips

ice cream


Corned beef hash with red cabbage

rice pudding


Carrot sticks, leftover fruit, caramel wafers x 5, chocolate and nut muesli bars x 6, tortillas if not eaten with chilli

Do you have any money-saving tips? We want to hear from you. Email us at [email protected]

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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