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Free school meals: How much food does £30 get you at the UK’s major supermarkets?

Here’s all of the food you can actually buy on a tight budget

Emily Cope
Wednesday 13 January 2021 10:03 GMT
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(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Families have voiced their outrage after being handed “offensively meagre” food boxes by the government.

The boxes were sent to children who are eligible for free school meals in some areas instead of £30 vouchers. They were meant to provide a week's worth of lunches during lockdown school closures.

However parents published pictures of the contents on social media when the boxes arrived containing a measly few pieces of fruit, a tin of beans, two carrots, malt loaf, a block of cheese and a loaf of bread.

Footballer and anti-poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford also criticised the hampers as “not good enough” and issued a challenge to the government to do better for those unable to get their usual free school meals because of lockdown.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman has since been labelled the parcels as “completely unacceptable” and Downing Street says the company responsible is being told that packages of this standard should not be offered to families

"The Department for Education is looking into this urgently and the minister for children, Vicky Ford, is speaking to the company responsible. They will be making clear that boxes like this should not be given to families,” said a statement.

Many families took to Twitter saying they’d rather receive £30 worth of vouchers - the apparent cost of each hamper - so that they could go to the supermarket themselves.

So how much food could you get for £30? We take a look supermarket by supermarket.

Lidl

(Lidl)

Lidl is still stocking its 'Too Good To Waste' fruit and vegetable boxes at some branches nationwide.

They are subject to stock levels, but those able to grab one can get around five kilos of fruit and vegetables which have become slightly damaged, discoloured or deteriorated, but are still perfectly food to eat, for £1.50.

With £28.50 left over, you can still pick up the following:

  • Chicken drumsticks 1kg
  • Yoghurt lollies 100g
  • Soreen sliced malt loaf
  • 4 x veggie burgers
  • 12 x eggs
  • Pasta 1kg
  • Non-branded Corn flakes 500g
  • Pesto jar
  • Loaf of bread
  • 4 x croissants
  • 6 x Heinz bean tins
  • 4 x cod fillets
  • Bag of frozen peas
  • 2 x cartons of orange juice
  • Cheddar cheese 400g
  • Raisin mini snack pack (6 packs)
  • Skimmed milk (4 pints)
  • Multipack of crisps (24 packets)

Morrisons

Contents of the Morrisons food box (Morrisons)

Taking all of the hassle out of planning your weekly shop, Morrisons has created a ‘5 meals for 4’ box for £30

It’s filled with all the ingredients and recipes you need to cook up five dishes, including classics such as Spaghetti & Meatballs, Chilli Con Carne and Veggie Curry and can be ordered on their website.

The box includes recipe cards as well as the below:

  • British minced beef 12% Fat 500g
  • 2 x packets of pork sausages 400g
  • Mature cheddar 350g
  • Puff pastry 375g
  • Trimmed leeks 500g
  • Chestnut mushrooms 250g
  • Loose garlic
  • Tomatoes 250g
  • Potatoes 2.5kg
  • Onions 1kg
  • Wonky carrots 1kg
  • Peppers
  • Basil
  • Kidney beans 390g
  • Parsley 11g
  • Thyme 16g
  • Courgettes 240g
  • Spaghetti 500g
  • Rice 500g
  • Butter beans 400g
  • 4 x tins chopped tomatoes
  • 12 x vegetable stock cube
  • Canned reduced fat coconut milk 400ml
  • Medium curry powder 90g
  • Bunched coriander 100g

Aldi

(Getty Images)

Aldi recently discontinued their £24.99 food box, but you can still take home all of these products for just £30:

  • UHT Green Semi Skimmed Milk
  • 4 x rice pudding
  • Salted peanuts 1 kg
  • Biscuit barrel assortment
  • Gold Label Tea
  • 4 x Baked beans
  • 4 x Tins of tomatoes
  • Bolognese pasta sauce
  • Tuna Chunks In Brine (4 pack)
  • Tomato Soup
  • Minestrone Soup
  • Basmati Rice 1kg
  • Pasta 1kg
  • 4 x Brown rolls
  • Sliced Carrots
  • Bag of potatoes
  • 4 x Apples
  • 6 x Bananas
  • Non-brand choco puffs cereal
  • 6 x Sausages
  • 4 x Sweetcorn tins

Tesco

(Getty Images)

Tesco currently does not offer a food box, but you can get the below items for less than £30 - and even more if you are a clubcard holder:

  • 2 x Margherita Pizza
  • Frubes (9 pack)
  • 10 x apples
  • Blueberries 150g
  • Imperfect carrots 1.5kg
  • Tesco bran flakes
  • Skimmed milk (4 pints)
  • Loaf of bread
  • 2 x Salad bags
  • 2 x Packets of ham
  • 6 x Heinz baked beans
  • 4 x bean burgers
  • Carton of apple juice
  • Cashew nuts 250g
  • Pasta 1kg
  • Tesco pasta sauce 500g

Sainsbury’s

(Getty Images)

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s don’t offer a food box service, but they do offer discounts and freebies to Nectar card holders.

Here is what you can take home for £30:

  • Own-brand corn flakes
  • 8  x Tangerines
  • Skimmed milk (4 pints)
  • Loaf of bread
  • Cheddar cheese 450g
  • Punnet of tomatoes
  • 6 x tins of vegetables soup
  • Chicken nuggets 1kg
  • Raisin (12 packets)
  • Frozen peas 1kg
  • Crisp multipack
  • Chicken breasts 1kg
  • Vegetarian sausages
  • Mushrooms 250g
  • Ketchup

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