The Meal Deal: A New British Icon

The supermarket meal deal – a main, a drink and a snack. Conveniently packaged, and more to the point, competitively priced, the importance of the meal deal in today’s society cannot be overstated. N.B. Decablogs is not in receipt of monetary endorsement for this post. But, if Tesco would like to pay me to gobble down some pasta pots, I’m ready to talk.

26th June 2021

By Austin

When the urge strikes

It’s a Tuesday afternoon. And you’ve been sitting now for roughly forty minutes in your lounge, avidly tracing the motion of the wall-mounted clock with your eyes. As the second hand races towards the top, and the hour hand plants itself above the “1”, you are thinking of one thing and one thing alone – lunch. 

Your brain kicks into gear and as you pace into the kitchen, visions of mediterranean banquets flicker before your eyes. This imaginary mise-en-scene of Italian hams, tomato based sundries and delicious cheeses is shattered when you prise open the fridge to see some low fat margarine, a single spring onion and the cold blue light blinking back at you. There is only one course of action – meal deal.

Snatching your coat from the hook, scooping up your phone, keys and wallet in a perfectly rehearsed pirouette, you swing back the door and stroll down to your local supermarket.

The Meal Deal – a British Icon

What I have just detailed is a vignette of modern british life that rivals even Turgenev in the romance of its realism. The meal deal is a perennial icon. A symphony of thrift and choice that has come to embody a generation of Brits. As the sun reaches its highest point each day, millions of Brits pour out of houses, offices and brothels, with a burning desire for a delicious lunch that won’t break the bank. So, the appeal of the meal deal is undeniable. 

But, the reason for my post is to lay down a few ground rules. It’s fair to say, I have had quite a few meal deals in my time and so I like to think I have a pretty good grasp of what separates a banging meal deal from an out-and-out stinker. 

Where to get your Meal Deal:

The first decision you are faced with (bad news if you are an indecisive Libra) when on the hunt for a meal deal is where to cop it from. To my mind there is only one viable option – Tesco. No one does meal deals like Tesco. For the humble price of £3, you can pick up a quality meal deal from one of 13 million meal deal combinations

Historically, my second choice meal deal would have been Sainsbury’s. However, recently they have upped the price of their meal deal to £3.50. So it is no longer the case that the low price compensates for the lack of options. 

Many would argue that Co-op offers a good meal deal option. And to those people I would say, are you high? Co-op is overpriced, limited in choice and generally not a nice place to be. And, in many of the stores I have been in, meal deal items are not clearly signposted, leaving hungry shop-goers to traipse all over to track down a – let’s be honest – astonishingly mediocre lunch.

So, these are the big three on the meal deal scene. However, there is a list of shops from which I would actively discourage getting a meal deal.

  1. WHSmiths – Overpriced, wraps that taste like cardboard
  2. M&S – Great food but be prepared to remortgage your house to finance it 
  3. Morrison’s – I’m sure they’re great but my nearest Morrison’s is 32 miles away (no thank you!)
  4. Pret – not actually a meal deal, grow up!
  5. Boots – As far as meal deals go, they were the first and now they’re the worst

The Nitty Gritty of the Meal Deal

Right, so you’ve made the right call and demonstrated to the world that you have a fully-functioning brain by walking into a Tesco. From the entrance you are able to make out the clearly labelled section “Food To Go” and so you walk over and set about making your selection.

As far as I am concerned, there is only one correct choice with the Tesco Meal Deal. 

  1. Main – Roasted Vegetable and Pesto Wrap
  2. Side – Cadbury’s Boost Duo
  3. Drink – Naked Blue Machine Blueberry Smoothie

The undisputed king of meal deals. It marries taste, vegetarianism, flavour and value in a small form-factor meal that is easy to carry in one hand without a bag. While this is the only logical option, there are a few other approaches that can work.

Value Junkie

Many meal dealers opt for the most expensive items in the meals deal to maximise value, often at the expense of taste. The most expensive meal deal item is the smoothie, double sushi combo.

  1. Main – Vegetable Sushi – £2.75
  2. Snack – Vegetable Sushi – £1.00
  3. Drink – Naked Smoothie – £2.36

= £6.11 for the price of £3.00

While value junkies would be the first to admit that this isn’t the best tasting meal deal, they can justify such a purchase given the immense dopamine rush at seeing the £6.11 total on the self-checkout drop to £3.00.

Themed Meal Deals

Some like to unite their purchases with a common theme. These can include a focus on Indian cuisine (Main: Samosa, Snack: Samosa and Drink: Ginger and turmeric smoothie shot) or a pasta heavy meal deal (Main: Cheese and Tomato pasta pot, Snack: Cheese and Tomato pasta snack pot, Drink: Water – to cleanse the palate between the wildly different main and snack flavours). While I can respect the themed meal dealer, its not a way I can live my life.

There are, however, some lines over which one cannot cross. What follows is a list of cardinal sins, the sort of things that if I saw someone swiping throught the checkout would make me put my head in my hands and wail audibly.

Avoid at all costs

Mains:

  • The Spicy Bean Wrap – If you are consistently beaning, you must really hate yourself
  • Prawn Layered Salad – Stomach churning – who are you trying to be?

Snack:

  • Egg Protein Pot – If you’re choosing this, you are the worst type of person
  • Tortilla Chip Pot – These are always stale. Get doritos like a normal person
  • Tyrrells Vegetable Crisps – Just No.

Drink:

  • Coconut Water – This is what happens when you start choosing meal deals for instagram photos rather than taste

That’s a wrap! (I hate myself too). If you think I’ve missed out any sinful meal deal items, let me know via instagram: https://www.instagram.com/decablogs/ or via email decablogs10@gmail.com. Thanks for reading! If you liked this or want to have more of this style of blog, leave a comment, like and share – it costs you nothing and makes writing these blogs worthwhile 🙂

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2 Comments

  1. Noah

    Truly a delightful read but you forget the amazing ness of the Philadelphia cream cheese and bread sticks

  2. Rosie

    Read this during a history lesson. Much more compelling than the impacts of de-kulakisation

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