‘My family ate Asda’s impressive budget range for one week and it cost less than £50’


As the cost of living crisis squeezes households, families around the country are considering where they can cut corners with good reason.

Getting food on the table whilst keeping up with work and all of life’s curveballs is already a challenge in itself.

That’s why one writer at Manchester Evening News set out to eat nothing but Asda Smart price products and its budget Farm Stores fruit, veg and meat range for a full week.

The week’s food budget kept costs down to just £50, but there of course was some clever meal planning involved.

Emma Gill bought only the cheapest items at the supermarket available and followed impressive results, so we’ll let her tell you the full story.

Array of Asda Smart Price tins
All the Asda Smart Price tins we bought

Asda Smart Price range dairy range
Some of the dairy products from the Smart Price range

But with less than £50, I was able to buy breakfast, dinner and tea – I’m a Salfordian so I’m not calling it lunch and dinner – with snacks and puddings thrown in too. It was even enough to make a big breakfast and a Sunday dinner, with sponge and custard for afters (sorry, pudding).

Impressed? You should be.

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Admittedly some of the products were lower quality than we’d usually eat and when it comes to buying things like meat, fish and cheese, it’s hard to find healthier alternatives when you’ve got a tight budget to stick to. Not to mention 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.

Despite buying the cheapest of everything available, I have to say that 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.

Dinner plate with sausages, potatoes, carrots, mash.
Our Sunday dinner

I could have instead opted for the eight-pack of Farm Stores sausages for 80p – the Farm Stores bacon was a hit, if you like thick slices that is – but my idea was to have enough for breakfast and to add some to the Sunday dinner (something of a habit in our house).

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 need purchasing every week.

For breakfasts and lunches for the four of us, one thing I did need was a fair bit of bread.

Sandwich, crisps, apple on plate
A typical lunch from the Smart Price and Farm Stores ranges

With no bread other than garlic bread available in the Smart Price range, I bought three of the cheapest medium sliced ​​white loaves for 58p each.

I also chose semi-skimmed milk over the long life skimmed milk, but it didn’t make that much difference to the price.

One thing I could have done differently was to buy flour (45p for 1.5kg of plain or self raising) instead of the packet sponge cake and batter mixes, but I wanted to try as many of the Smart Price products as possible.

While both were OK, and would suit someone not wanting to buy full bags of flour or the other ingredients needed for a cake mix, there’s nothing quite like the homemade versions.

That’s also why I opted for the bolognese pasta sauce, at 39p, as it was slightly cheaper than using tinned tomatoes to make my own. Although I did add in some carrot to bulk it up and make it that bit healthier.

I would have added mushrooms too if the children would eat them!

It was polished off without complaint though, although we did all agree that it was no match for the fresh stuff.

spaghetti bolognese
Spaghetti bolognese was one of the teas

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 said: “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.'”

So here’s how the week’s meal times panned out.

breakfast

Big breakfast with choice of eggs, beans, sausages, bacon, plum tomatoes, mushrooms, toast.
Our big Sunday breakfast

Weekdays

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

weekend

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

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

Dinners (also known as lunch)

Sandwich being prepared
Sandwiches for dinner (also known as lunch)

Weekdays

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

weekends

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

Teas (also known as dinner)

Sponge cake and custard
Sponge cake and custard

sunday

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

Sponge cake and custard

monday

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

ice cream

minced beef and onion pies
chicken curry

tuesday

Minced beef and onion pie with mash and carrots

Peach slices or other fruit

minced beef and onion pies
minced beef and onion pies

wednesday

Spaghetti bolognese with garlic bread

ice cream

thursday

Fish, chips and peas (mushy or garden)

fruits

friday

Chilli con carne with tortilla chips

ice cream

Chilli con carne in slow cooker
chilli with meat

saturday

Corned beef hash with red cabbage

rice pudding

snacks

Asda's caramel wafer bars
Asda’s caramel wafer bars

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

The full shopping list

  • Smart Price Wheat Bisks 24x18g 74p
  • Smart Price Porridge Oats 1kg 75p
  • Smart Price 15 Eggs 15pk £1.18
  • Smart Price Mild White Cheddar 825g £3.65
  • Smart Price Salted Butter 250g £1.45
  • Smart Price 8 Pork Sausage Rolls 480g 85p
  • Smart Price Fruit Fromage Frais 12x55g 80p
  • Farm Stores Unsmoked Back Bacon 300g £1.25
  • Farm Stores Round Lettuce each 42p
  • 1 X Farm Stores Brown Onions 1kg 50p
  • 2 X Farm Stores Carrots 1.5kg 90p
  • 2 x Farm Stores White Potatoes 2.5kg £1.82
  • Farm Stores White Mushrooms 250g 57p
  • Farm Stores Cherry Tomatoes 250g 48p
  • Farm Stores Mixed Peppers 3pk 92p
  • Farm Stores Pears 500g 52p
  • Farm Stores Apples 500g 72p
  • Farm Stores Plums 400g 59p
  • Smart Price Red Kidney Beans in Water 400g 30p
  • 2 x Smart Price Garden Peas in Water 300g 42p
  • 1 X Smart Price Wafer Thin Cooked Ham Slices 400g £1.59
  • Farm Stores Whole Chicken 1.2kg £2.28
  • Smart Price Mild Curry Sauce 440g 28p
  • Smart Price Bolognese Pasta Sauce 440g 39p
  • Smart Price Corned Beef 340g £1.45
  • Smart Price Peeled Plum Tomatoes in Tomato Juice 400g 28p
  • 5 x Smart Price Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice 400g £1.40
  • 2 x Smart Price Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce 410g 44p
  • Smart Price Mushy Peas 300g 15p
  • Smart Price Long Grain Rice 1kg 45p
  • Smart Price Pasta Shapes 500g 29p
  • Smart Price Spaghetti 500g 20p
  • Smart Price Tomato Soup 400g 24p
  • Smart Price Strawberry Jam 454g 28p
  • Smart Price Tuna Chunks in Brine 145g 59p
  • Smart Price Garlic Bread Baguette 170g 32p
  • Smart Price 20 Sausages 907g £1
  • Smart Price Chips 1.5kg 90p
  • Smart Price Beef & Onion Mince 650g £2.65
  • Smart Price 4 Battered Fish Portions 400g £1.25
  • Smart Price 4 Minced Beef and Onion Pies 4x120g £1
  • Smart Price Vanilla Soft Scoop Ice Cream 2l 95p
  • Smart Price 40 Tea Bags 100g 100g 28p
  • Smart Price Tomato Ketchup 530g 42p
  • Smart Price Brown Sauce 460g 45p
  • Smart Price Mayonnaise 500g 41p
  • Smart Price Caramel Wafers 5pk 50p
  • Smart Price Chocolate & Nut Muesli Bars 6x23g 61p
  • Smart Price Sponge Mix 225g 35p
  • Smart Price Batter Mix 125g 31p
  • 2 x Smart Price Rice Pudding 400g 40p
  • Smart Price Ready to Serve Custard 385g 30p
  • Smart Price Peach Slices in Light Syrup 411g 55p
  • Smart Price Lightly Salted Sharing Tortilla Chips 180g 41p
  • Smart Price Ready Salted Multipack Crisps 12x18g 90p
  • Smart Price No Added Sugar Double Strength Orange Squash 750ml 45p
  • Smart Price Orange Juice from Concentrate 1lt 69p

Not from Smart Price or Farm Stores (cheapest options in store):

  • 3 x Soft White Medium Sliced ​​800g £1.74
  • Pickled Red Cabbage 420g 99p
  • Meat Gravy Granules 200g 75p
  • Mild Chilli Powder 44g 73p
  • Semi Skimmed Milk 4 pint £1.15
  • Beef stock cubes 12 x 10g 39p

Whole £49.99




www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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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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