On Friday I stumbled across a great feature by Peter Knight in The London Paper. If you work in London and read the freebie papers perhaps you saw it too.
In it celebrity chef Aldo Zilli – the cheery chap in the Optivita cereal ads – carried out an experiment to find out which supermarket sells the best quality food and is the most value for money. A useful thing to know as we try to save cash but eat well in the credit crunch!
At his restaurant in Soho, Zilli cooked up six identical cottage pies, using mince, veg, wine, cream etc. purchased from six different stores: Tesco, M&S, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Lidl. He then got a team of six tasters – a tough job but somebody’s got to do it! – to try out the pies and score them.
Oh well, I thought, before I’d finished reading the piece. That’s easy. M&S and Waitrose will win hands down. They might be pricier but the food will taste better. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Here were the scores…
1. Tesco – top with 45 points
2. M&S & Aldi – joint second with 43 points
3. Waitrose – 38 points
4. Lidl – 17 points
5. Sainsbury’s – bottom with 15 points!
What would Jamie Oliver have to say about Sainsbury’s?! And what a shocker Tesco’s came first while M&S and Aldi tied for second place! When I carried out the Aldi shopping experiment some of you said you thought the quality of Lidl’s food was better than Aldi’s. I’m surprised too that Waitrose came so far down the list.
Zilli disagreed with the tasters some of the time, though. He reckoned as they were mostly in their early 20s their palates might be accustomed to the taste of cheaper ingredients. He said Aldi’s ingredients “were the worst”, with Lidl’s "second worst" and thought the quality of Sainsbury’s meat was good.
But – dare I disagree with Zilli – I shopped in Sainsbury’s recently and thought the quality of their mince and casserole steak wasn’t anything as good as stuff I’ve bought from Asda or Waitrose – when I’m feeling flush. It’s a shame they didn’t include Asda and Somerfield in the experiment, but you can’t cover everything.
Where do you shop and which supermarkets you think offer the best value for money for the best quality? Are you seduced by the breathy M&S ads or are you a Tesco’s aficionado? Leave a message and let me know.