Cheap Christmas veg and the Co-op £10 meal deal

Picture of a Christmas tree and presents to illustrate a post on Christmas meal deals and cheap Christmas veg

 

Fancy Christmas dinner for a tenner or Christmas veg for only 29p a bag? Check out this post!

 

Picture of sign in the Co-op advertising £10 Frozen Christmas Meal Deal

Christmas dinner for £10 at the Co-op

Co-op £10 Christmas meal deal

Today, the Co-op started selling its £10 festive frozen meal deal (official details here)

Turkey with bacon and stuffing, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, parsnips, Brussel sprouts, peas and a mahoosive mint Viennetta – all for just £10.

Show an NUS card (and remember, you don’t have to be a full time student), and get 10% off, down to just £9!

These kind of deals always make me itch to see if it’s really worth the money. Is the Co-op Christmas dinner actually a good deal?

So here’s what you get, plus the prices on the freezer cabinet if you buy the items individually:

Bacon Wrapped Turkey Joint with Sage and Onion Stuffing Balls, 962g (£10)

McCain Roasts, 800g (£2.29)

Aunt Bessie’s 12 Golden Yorkshire Puddings, 220g (£1.85)

Aunt Bessie’s Honey Glazed Parsnips, 500g (£1.69)

Co-op Button Sprouts, 750g (£1)

Co-op British Garden Peas, 400g (£1)

Viennetta Box Mint, 1000ml (£2.49)

Total if bought separately: £20.32.

That makes the £10 meal deal seem amazing value, at less than half the cost. Basically you buy the turkey joint and get everything else thrown in for free.

Now much as I love our local East of England Co-op, it isn’t the only supermarket running Christmas special offers.

McCain Roasts, Aunt Bessie’s yorkies and parsnips, Viennetta, and own-brand frozen peas and frozen brussel sprouts are all pretty widely available.

The turkey is trickier, because there are few joints on sale complete with bacon and stuffing.

So checking the ingredients on the packet, the Co-op 962g joint contains:

74.7% turkey, which is just shy of 720g

5.8% pork belly in the bacon, which is 56g

Assuming the rest is sage & onion stuffing, rather than added water, that comes out as 186g.

So, as a comparison, I’ve looked at 800g frozen turkey joints sold elsewhere, and added an 85g packet of sage & onion stuffing, which will make more than 186g stuffing when mixed.

Picture of Co-op freezer cabinet with £10 Christmas frozen meal deal

Stacking the freezer with frozen food

Comparing the Co-op’s frozen meal deal

After fiddling around with the price comparison website mysupermarket.com and supermarket websites, I’ve compared prices at ASDA, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.

You can feast your eyes on the individual shopping lists down at the end of this post, but basically the Co-op was indeed the winner for the same branded frozen food.

Elsewhere, with bigger bags of frozen peas and sprouts and a smaller Viennetta, it cost more than £10:

ASDA: £11.30 (no McCain Roasties, so substituted less expensive Aunt Bessie’s Homestyle Roast Potatoes instead)

Morrisons: £12.05 (smaller pack of frozen peas than elsewhere)

Tesco: £12.75

Sainsbury’s: £15 (pricier turkey and frozen veg)

Waitrose: £26.85 (blown out of the water because their cheapest turkey joint was so expensive)

So yes the Co-op is cheaper if you’re buying the whole lot, but suddenly the savings aren’t looking so huge.

Watch out for the individual items

What’s really clear is that the big 4 supermarkets don’t sell the individual items for anywhere near the £20.32 when bought separately in the Co-op.

Individually, every item was available cheaper elsewhere, if you look at the cost per kg. The only exceptions were the Waitrose brussel sprouts at a tiny 2p more per kg, and the Waitrose turkey crown.

Turns out that Aunt Bessie’s parsnips and Aunt Bessie’s 12 Golden Yorkshire puddings are available for £1 a packet on special offer pretty much everywhere else, even Waitrose if you shell out for 3 packets, rather than £1.69 and £1.85 individually at the Co-op.

Ready to roast frozen turkey joints come in at £5 to £7 mark, rather than £10 at the Co-op. OK so they don’t include bacon and stuffing – but a small packet of sage and onion stuffing mix only adds 25p to 30p.

Meanwhile if mint Viennetta is your idea of Christmas heaven, you can easily find the smaller 650ml size for just £1. Even the Co-op itself sells the smaller 650ml vanilla Viennetta for £1!

Heck, you could buy two for £2, stuff your family with a total of 1,300ml Viennetta, and it would still cost less than the £2.49 for 1,000ml version at the Co-op.

Alternatively, if you still want the big 1,000ml box, Waitrose will flog you the vanilla Viennetta version for just £1.75.

Pros and cons of a frozen Christmas dinner

One of the big attractions of the Co-op Christmas meal deal is not just the price, but the saving in time and food waste.

The frozen versions mean you aren’t faffing around peeling potatoes, parsnips and sprouts, making stuffing, whipping up Yorkshire puddings and slaving over a fancy pudding. If there are only one or two for Christmas dinner, you can just cook the quantities you want, with no risk of fresh veg rotting at the back of the fridge.

However, if you swap fresh for frozen, you can save money with the cut price Christmas offers. If you are catering for larger numbers, or reckon you’ll use the extra veg anyway, you can definitely get more for your money than the frozen meal deal.

 

Picture of 49p a bag parsnips, brussel sprouts and carrots on offer at the Co-op

Christmas veg wars commence!

Bargains on fresh veg for Christmas

Updated 21 December 2017

When I wrote this post, the Christmas veg wars had kicked off with prices as low as 29p a bag.

Then prices were slashed even lower – to just 19p!

In fact, both Lidl and Aldi are selling Christmas veg like parsnips, carrots and brussel sprouts starting at 19p a bag, with ASDA only a penny more at 20p, Sainsbury’s at 25p and Tesco at 29p. Morrisons is doing an offer with a wider range of 8 veg at 50p, but cut to 33p each on a three for a £1 offer. If you’re buying lots of different veg, the 3 for £1 offer from Morrisons brings the total price right down.

 

Suddenly the frozen veg available in the Co-op meal deal and elsewhere don’t seem such great value. With the frozen versions, it costs £3 to £4 to buy 2.3kg of  frozen roast potatoes, frozen parsnips and frozen brussel sprouts.

Switch to fresh veg instead, and you can get a whopping 3.5kg of parsnips, Brussel sprouts, carrots and mini roasts for 76p from Lidl, 4.5kg for 85p from Aldi!

Even if you aren’t feeding the 5,000 for Christmas, those are great veg prices for many more side dishes, soups and potato-based meals.

Lidl Aldi Morrisons* Tesco ASDA Sainsbury’s Co-op Waitrose
Parsnips 500g £0.19 £0.19** £0.50 £0.29 £0.20 £0.25 £0.49 £0.85
Brussel Sprouts 500g £0.19 £0.19 £0.50 £0.29 £0.20 £0.25 £0.49*** £1.00
Carrots 1kg £0.19 £0.19 £0.50 £0.29 £0.20 £0.25 £0.49 £0.60
Potatoes 2.5kg £0.19^ £0.28 £0.50 £0.29 £1.15 £1.50 £1.55^^ £1.25^^
Broccoli 350g £0.49 £0.19 £0.50 £0.55 £0.20 £0.50 £0.55 £0.56
Swede £0.40 £0.28 £0.50 £0.75 £0.50 £0.80 £0.90
Leeks 500g £0.45 £0.50 £1.00 £1.00 £1.00 £1.15
Savoy cabbage £0.63 £0.50 £0.69 £0.69 £0.70 £0.80
Onions 1kg £0.58 £0.50 £0.75 £0.59 £0.75 £0.75 £0.80
Cauliflower £0.99 £0.68 £0.29 £1.00 £1.00 £1.00
Red Cabbage 600g £0.36 £0.50 £0.69 £0.46 £0.43 £0.69 £0.47
Total £4.66 £1.32 £5.68 £5.88 £6.19 £7.43 £4.96 £9.38

 

*3 for £1 offer at Morrisons on 8 veg in italics, which cuts prices to 33p a bag **600g parsnips at Aldi

***450g brussel sprouts at the Co-op ^1.5kg mini roasts at Lidl ^^2kg white potatoes at the Co-op and Waitrose

Correct as of 21 December 2017

 

Cut costs by making your own

As the cost of prepared frozen vegetables versus fresh versions showed, you pay extra for convenience.

Similarly, if you’re willing to make your own Yorkshire puddings, you can cut costs compared to Aunt Bessie’s best.

Yorkshire puddings made with a couple of eggs, 275ml milk, 80g value range flour and 50g lard only tot up to about 56p. That’s almost half the cost of the frozen ready-made version.

Post on making Yorkshire puddings as mini toad in the hole here

Snap up some cash back

Another way to cut the cost of Christmas food is to look out for cashback offers.

For example, TopCashback’s Snap and Save has a festive feel until 20 December. Offers include:

  • 75p cashback on any 454g Christmas pudding
  • 30p cashback on any pack of 6 mince pies
  • 75p cashback on any Christmas crackers costing more than £1.50
  • 50p cashback on 454g Dr Oetker’s ready to roll marzipan
  • 40p cashback on a 500g carton of Bird’s Brandy or Rum flavour sauce

Click here for the Snap & Save offers, then submit your receipt after shopping, by taking a photo with your smartphone.

Post with more than 80 ways to save money on food shopping here

Now – over to you. Fancy the Co-op Christmas Meal Deal? Or do you prefer getting stuck into the peeling and cooking yourself? What else do you buy for your Christmas dinner? Do say in the comments, I’d love to hear!

Supermarket shopping lists in full

ASDA
ASDA Ready to Roast Turkey Breast Joint, 800g £5.00
Aunt Bessie’s Crispy Homestyle Roast Potatoes, 800g (No McCains) £1.00
Aunt Bessie’s 12 Golden Yorkshires, 220g £1.00
Aunt Bessie’s Honey Glazed Parsnips, 500g £1.00
ASDA Frozen Button Sprouts, 1kg (bigger) £0.95
ASDA Garden Peas, 1kg (bigger) £1.10
Mint Viennetta, 650 ml (smaller) £1.00
ASDA Sage & Onion Stuffing Mix, 85g £0.25
Total for ASDA £11.30
Morrisons
Morrisons Butter Basted Turkey Breast Joint, 800g £5.00
McCain Roasts, 1.4kg (bigger) £2.00
Aunt Bessie’s 12 Golden Yorkshires, 220g £1.00
Aunt Bessie’s Honey Glazed Parsnips, 500g £1.00
Morrisons Frozen Button Sprouts, 1kg (bigger) £1.00
Morrisons Garden Peas, 500g (bit bigger) £0.78
Mint Viennetta, 650 ml (smaller) £1.00
Morrisons Sage & Onion Stuffing Mix, 85g £0.27
Total for Morrisons £12.05
Tesco
Tesco Butter Basted Frozen Turkey Breast Joint, 780g £5.00
McCain Roasts, 800g £2.10
Aunt Bessie’s 12 Golden Yorkshires, 220g £1.00
Aunt Bessie’s Honey Glazed Parsnips, 500g £1.00
Tesco Frozen Button Brussel Sprouts, 1kg (bigger) £1.10
Tesco Garden Peas, 1kg (bigger) £1.30
Mint Viennetta, 650 ml (smaller) £1.00
Tesco Sage & Onion Stuffing Mix, 85g £0.25
Total for Tesco £12.75
Sainsbury’s
Sainsbury’s British Basted Turkey Breast Joint, 800g £7.00
McCain Roasts, 800g £2.15
Aunt Bessie’s 12 Golden Yorkshires, 220g £1.00
Aunt Bessie’s Honey Glazed Parsnips, 500g £1.00
Sainsbury’s Frozen British Brussel Sprouts, 1kg (bigger) £1.30
Sainsbury’s British Garden Peas, 910g (bigger) £1.25
Mint Viennetta, 650 ml (smaller) £1.00
Sainsbury’s Sage & Onion Stuffing Mix, 85g £0.30
Total for Sainsbury’s £15.00
Waitrose
Waitrose turkey crown with prime wing small, 2kg (much bigger) £17.98
McCain Roasts, 800g £1.50
Aunt Bessie’s 12 Golden Yorkshires, 220g £1.55
Aunt Bessie’s Honey Glazed Parsnips, 500g £1.50
Waitrose Essential Frozen Brussel Sprouts, 1kg (bigger) £1.35
Waitrose Essential Garden Peas, 907g (bigger)* £0.62
Vanilla Viennetta, 1000 ml £1.75
Paxo Sage & Onion Stuffing Mix, 85g £0.60
Total for Waitrose £26.85

*Waitrose essential garden peas reduced from £1.25 when buying with the brussel sprouts

 

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15 Comments

  1. December 13, 2017 / 8:38 pm

    What a useful comparison, thanks

    • December 14, 2017 / 6:46 am

      Glad it was useful Lesley! Definitely some savings to be made on Christmas veg, depending on where you shop.

  2. Nessa
    December 13, 2017 / 9:18 pm

    Now I need the results of the taste test!

    • December 14, 2017 / 6:48 am

      I’ve cooked turkey that was previously frozen, rather than fresh, before and don’t think any of us could tell the slightest difference. Not sure I’m up for a taste test of half a ton of mint Viennetta though – think some things are left safely in the 80s…

  3. Eloise thisissixty.blog
    December 13, 2017 / 10:32 pm

    Wow, you’ve really put some work in here!
    Not sure I would want a frozen Christmas dinner in its entirety but it’s certainly useful to have a selection of frozen veg in.
    One thing that I find is pretty awful frozen, is carrots. Just doesn’t work for me.
    Thanks for the comparisons

    • December 14, 2017 / 6:51 am

      Yes do think some frozen veg work better than others – peas, sweetcorn and spinach are winners for me. Wasn’t overly impressed the one time we tried frozen roast potatoes. Otherwise I’d rather save cash with the fresh stuff, despite the peeling and chopping, and stick any leftovers in soup.

  4. December 14, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    Goodness, it must have taken you an age to sort out all that lot! Well done, I had thought about the £10 meal deal, got it last year when we lived so close to a Co-op, but will manage without this year being home alone as I already have the veg in the freezer and the turkey thingy wasn’t my favourite way to eat meat.

    Please can I pinch that comparison to share with pen friends in a penny pincher letter?

    • Faith
      Author
      December 14, 2017 / 2:38 pm

      Hi Sue – I remember you getting the Co-op meal deal last year, and making the great point about the frozen food cutting food waste if people weren’t catering for a crowd.
      More than welcome to share the comparison. If you’re able to mention my blog or include a link I’d be even more delighted!

      • December 14, 2017 / 9:08 pm

        Thank you, yes will give your site a mention. Mean meaning to ask – did you do a feature in a newspaper about a week of eating only local food……..several years ago now…………actually maybe it was before you moved to suffolk so probably wasn’t you!

        • December 19, 2017 / 5:20 am

          Sorry Sue, the local foods article wasn’t me!

    • Faith
      Author
      December 15, 2017 / 7:14 am

      Glad it was useful! If you want those particular frozen foods and brands, the Co-op deal does does work out cheaper. I still have a hankering for the fresh veg and DIY Yorkies though!

  5. Sue
    December 15, 2017 / 12:02 am

    I bought the Coop meal deal today to give it a try. It should last the two of us for a few meals, as I’ll make a vegan option to go alongside the turkey roast

    • Faith
      Author
      December 15, 2017 / 7:15 am

      Oooh would love to hear how you find it. Frozen food can be so much easier to stretch over multiple meals without food waste.

  6. December 15, 2017 / 9:23 am

    Great post must have taken alot of work! Let the veg wars commence! I have cooked a frozen turkey and it was really nice, you could not tell the difference of frozen vrs fresh.

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