Everyday Meals

We tried Asda and Waitrose budget ranges to see what could be bought with £10

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So what can you get for a tenner these days?  To find out, MyLondon went to their local Asda and Waitrose. They tried Asda’s new Just Essentials range which received a lot of attention when it launched earlier this month. The budget items caused controversy among Brits who claim the packaging is “embarrassing” for struggling shoppers because it’s eye-catching yellow design makes it obvious when people are buying cheaper food.

The supermarket giant hit back and said: “We don’t understand why anyone would feel embarrassed for saving money.”

Asda says its Just Essentials range is the “largest ever budget-friendly range” and hopes it will help shoppers combat rising costs

MyLondon’s Anna Highfield said she found the scope of the Just Essentials range “impressive”.

She said: “I expected most of the products to be store cupboard essentials, but a quick snoop around showed it also included meat, fish, bakery items, and household items including washing up liquid, toilet roll, and shampoo and conditioner.

“There were even some Just Essentials fresh fruit and veg products, such as lettuce, tomatoes, and kiwis.

“I filled my basket with a few everyday essentials, such as soft spread (83p), long grain rice (45p), cheddar (£2.40 for a big bag), and baked beans (25p), as well as some luxuries like hot chocolate (£1.02), granola (£1) and – the most expensive item – a cheese and onion quiche for £1.42.

“I also got fresh tomatoes (50p), six yoghurts (79p), and a tin of tomato soup (30p).

“The entire shop cost £9.81. I will need a few extra ingredients to turn this shop into a set of coherent meals – but I was astounded to get so many ‘essential’ items for this price.

“Admittedly, the shop was rather conspicuous at the checkout, with my basket looking a bit like the supermarket equivalent of the Yellow Pages.

“I was really impressed with the quality of the food, though.

“Asda’s Just Essentials Tomato Soup and Baked Beans were both just as good as Heinz, yet less than a quarter of the price for the same sized tin.

“Likewise, the peanut butter easily contended with Sun-Pat, while the dairy products (yoghurt, soft spread and cheddar) tasted as good as any I’ve tried.

“I’d rate it 10/10 and would definitely buy them again.”

Now it was time for Anna to head to Waitrose.

She said: “I set out to Waitrose to see how far my £10 would get me, buying only products from the supermarket’s budget range ‘Essential Waitrose’.

“The first thing I noticed about Essential Waitrose is that, unlike Asda’s Just Essentials, the budget range at Waitrose is not designed to stand out.

“The second thing I noticed was the quantities. While both ranges included everyday products such as rice and cheese, the Waitrose versions were smaller in comparison.

“While Asda shoppers can get a kilogram bag of long grain rice for 45p, Waitrose shoppers pay £1 for half the quantity, 500g.

“The same was true of grated cheddar, which was £2.40 for a 500g bag at Asda, but £2.65 for a 250g bag at Waitrose.

“You might not consider food products like Tiramisu, Greek Feta, and bake-at-home Petit Pains to be essential store cupboard staples but apparently Waitrose customers do.

“Semolina flour, mini marshmallows, Edam and Brie were also staples of the Waitrose budget range.

“My favourite ‘essential’ product from Waitrose was the supermarket’s ‘sustainably sourced, responsibly fished, Wild Pink Salmon’.

“I, however, just bought genuine everyday essentials which I could compare to those at Asda.

“For £9.95 in Waitrose, I managed to get a small bag of long grain rice (£1), a tin of tomato soup (60p), a tin of baked beans (45), a soft spread (£1.15), fresh tomatoes (£1.50), a small bag of grated cheddar (£2.65) and an oven pizza (£2.60).

“The collection looked a little lacking when set next to the huge haul I managed to get for 14p less at Asda.”

Full list of what Anna purchased from Asda for £9.81

  • Granola – £1
  • Soft Spread – 83p
  • Tomato Soup – 30p
  • Baked Beans – 25p
  • Peanut Butter – 85p
  • Long Grain Rice – 45p
  • 6 Low Fat Fruit Yoghurts – 79p
  • Instant Hot Chocolate – £1.02
  • Cheese & Onion Quiche – £1.42
  • Grated Cheddar – £2.40
  • Tomatoes – 50p

Full list of what Anna got for £9.95 in Waitrose

  • 500g Long Grain Rice – £1
  • Tomato Soup – 60p
  • Baked Beans – 45p
  • Soft Spread – £1.15
  • Tomatoes – £1.50
  • 250g Grated Cheddar – £2.65
  • Oven pizza – £2.60

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