Good Food Blog
Going economyPosted at 2:00PM, 12 January 2011 by Sarah Sysum - Assistant editor, Easy Cook magazine
I've seen the light: it's unattractive packaging, cheap prices and oddly shaped fruit. Yes, I'm talking about supermarket 'budget' lines.
Like so many people, I've had to cut back. Having worked out how much I could save on a weekly shop, I decided to test the waters and go economy for a day.
I've always veered towards the top-tier supermarket ranges because they're better quality, right?
Conducting the taste tests for the magazine means that any preconceived ideas I've had about named brands being better were dismissed a long time ago. However, I've always veered towards the top-tier supermarket ranges because they're better quality, right?
With trepidation, I started the day with cereal. 'No fancy packaging, still a great breakfast', said the cornflakes packet. OK they were a little small but tasted of, well, cornflakes. My mid-morning banana was perfectly ripe, Fairtrade and cost me 10p as opposed to my usual 26p. Baked beans on toast for lunch was surprisingly good. I've heard horror stories of three beans per can but the brand I tested had great texture and flavour. A baguette can never replace a lovely artisan sourdough but it does the job and the £2.80 saving makes it taste even better.
By now my fears were diminishing. I baked a sticky chocolate cake, which tasted no different from when I've used top-of-the-range cocoa and golden syrup. And my dinner of Trout with crisp bacon crust was fine.
So was it worth it? In terms of both taste and saving I would say definitely. Since then I've tried other products with varying degrees of success; much budget meat lacks any ethical accreditation so that's a no-no, but plenty of economy coffee, chocolate and fruit lines have the Fairtrade stamp and I wager anyone to be able to tell the difference.
So go on, lower your standards, you might be surprised...