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The Best and Worst Meal Deal Sandwiches

Meal Deals are a British institution. Never has a sandwich, drink and snack meant so much to so many.

However, there’s no correct answer when it comes to what the best meal deal is. There’s some inconsistency in pricing, a massive difference in the variety of snacks and drinks you can get, and lest we not forget a huge difference in the quality, consistency and variety of sandwiches.

Each and every meal deal advocate out there will have felt the sheer horror of biting into a sandwich to find nothing but bread and emptiness. But which major meal deal brand is most likely to leave you feeling peckish after lunch?

We looked at Sainsbury's, Boots, Morrisons, Co-op, M&S and Tesco.

And we weighed some god damn sandwiches.


Methodology - Tackling the Sandwich Meal Deals

We chose three of the most popular sandwich varieties available at each sandwich provider, and tried to include ones with consistent branding and pricing (so ignoring the ‘Shapers’ range where possible, etc).

We settled on Egg Mayo, Chicken Salad and BLT.

We bought three of each variety of sandwich from each store - 54 sandwiches in total - and weighed the full sandwich and the filling of each sandwich separately to see which ones come out on top - and which ones leave you feeling a little hard done by.

This also allowed us to highlight which stores are more likely to give you a bread sandwich - that uniquely soul crushing box of bread featuring far less filling than you deserve.


The Results - Which Lunchtime Meal Deal has the Most Filling?

How did we get here, Boots? How did we fall from such lofty heights, nestled in the heart of British sandwich lovers, and end up here?

Morrisons officially represent with the weakest sandwiches, followed by Boots - and these two are in a league of their own when it comes to scant sandwich filling.

Controversially, given the utterly horribly received revamp to the ‘meal deal’ recently, Sainsbury’s came out on top with the heftiest - and most consistently weighted - sandwiches, followed by M&S and Co-op.

The following chart looks at the total filling weight in each pack of sandwiches - so the total amount of filling in two sandwiches.

Biggest Meal Deal Sandwiches Chart

(Full version available here)

Marks and Spencer sandwiches did tend to fluctuate a little bit more; meaning that although the average weight of the filling was lower than Sainsbury’s, there was more opportunity to hunt through the shelves for a rogue heavy-filled BLT.

We calculated our average minimums and maximums using a combination of every sandwich to make things a little more balanced. In other words, Morrisons’ minimum was an average of the smallest BLT, Chicken Salad and Egg Mayo sandwich we discovered, and the maximum was the average of the biggest BLT, Chicken Salad and Egg Mayo sandwich.

Supermarket

Min Weight

Max Weight

Average Filling Weight

Filling Percentage

Sainsburys

69g

99g

84.89g

44.15%

M&S

67g

101g

81.11g

43.55%

Co-Op

66g

95g

78.78g

43.98%

Tesco

62g

93g

78.44g

42.37%

Boots

47g

73g

59.00g

34.53%

Morrisons

43g

69g

58.78g

36.05%


The Results - Which Lunchtime Meal Deal will give you a Bread Sandwich?

The second-least filling by weight AND the lowest percentage of filling?

Boots. Boots? You okay hun? </3.

Sainsbury’s officially offers the sandwiches with the most filling AND the sandwiches with the best bread to filling ratio, with Co-op claiming second place this time around.

But, I repeat - Boots has the second-least amount of filling by weight AND the lowest percentage of filling compared to bread of any of the major meal deal sandwich providers.

Bread Sandwich Chart

(Full version available here)

This also highlights that each sandwich, bread included, can vary significantly in weight. 192g, the average weight of a Sainsbury’s sandwich, dwarfs a Boots option that comes in at 163g on average. That’s 29g - or almost 18% more sandwich.

Supermarket

Average Filling Percentage

Boots

34.53%

Morrisons

36.05%

Tesco

42.37%

M&S

43.55%

Co-Op

43.98%

Sainsbury's

44.15%


The Results - Sandwich by Sandwich Ratings

Which supermarket has the best BLT sandwich?

Despite kicking it at the top of the tables outright, Sainsbury’s actually has a bit of a split sandwich personality.

When it comes to the classic BLT, Sainsbury’s is actually offering the worst bread to filling ratio.

Supermarket

Sandwich

Average Weight

Average Filling Weight

Filling Percentage

Co-Op

BLT

186g

75g

40.39%

Tesco

BLT

167g

67g

40.12%

M&S

BLT

171g

68g

39.57%

Morrisons

BLT

159g

57g

35.98%

Boots

BLT

158g

53g

33.75%

Sainsbury’s

BLT

172g

57g

33.20%

However, as the update to the Sainsbury’s meal deal shockingly revealed last year, the BLT is no longer part of the meal deal anyway. How curious.

Maybe they were doing us a favour.

Co-Op, however, offer the biggest outright BLT sandwich and the best filling to bread ratio, which is frankly a stellar performance. Top tier stuff.

Which supermarket has the best chicken salad sandwich?

Sainsbury’s absolutely buries the competition with their generously filled chicken salad, with 20g more filling per pack of sandwiches than its nearest competitor, M&S.

At 122g of filling, you get over 50% more chickeny goodness than Morrison, which comes in last for both amount of filling and filling to bread ratio.

Supermarket

Sandwich

Average Weight

Average Filling Weight

Filling Percentage

Sainsbury’s

Chicken Salad

235g

122g

51.85%

Co-Op

Chicken Salad

201g

98g

48.84%

Tesco

Chicken Salad

203g

94g

46.23%

Boots

Chicken Salad

202g

92g

45.46%

M&S

Chicken Salad

230g

104g

45.36%

Morrisons

Chicken Salad

184g

81g

44.02%

The chicken salad sandwich is in the Sainsbury’s meal deal, but is always the first one to go because, y’know, it’s the one that’s actually good.

This is Boot’s best performance, by the way - a mid-table finish in among consistent bottom of the table showings.

Which supermarket has the best egg mayo sandwich?

Another top of the table showing for Sainsbury’s here, but the discrepancy between the best and worst filling providers here is enormous.

Boots - admittedly partially because the egg mayo and cress sandwich is a Shapers option - has well less than half the amount of filling of a Sainsbury’s sandwich, and half the filling to bread ratio.

If your idea of being healthy and getting a ‘healthy’ sandwich is simply getting a whole heap less filling between some bread, then there you go.

Supermarket

Sandwich

Average Weight

Average Filling Weight

Filling Percentage

Sainsbury’s

Egg Mayo & Cress

160g

76g

47.40%

M&S

Egg Mayo & Cress

156g

71g

45.72%

Co-Op

Egg Mayo & Cress

148g

63g

42.70%

Tesco

Egg Mayo & Cress

182g

74g

40.77%

Morrisons

Egg Mayo & Cress

135g

38g

28.15%

Boots

Egg Mayo & Cress

131g

32g

24.37%

Morrisons isn’t far behind, still offering half the filling of the Sainsbury’s equivalent and a far feebler filling to bread ratio.

M&S and Co-Op continue their rotation of the premium spots - the upper sandwich echelons.


Supermarket by Supermarket Meal Deal Prices

It’s worth remembering that the meal deals do vary in price...

Supermarket

Meal Deal Price

M&S Meal Deal

£3.50

Co-Op Meal Deal

£3.50

Boots Meal Deal

£3.39*

Sainsbury’s Meal Deal

£3.00

Tesco Meal Deal

£3.00

Morrisons Meal Deal

£3.00

… and in the offering among snacks, drinks and other sandwiches.

Most notably, Boots obviously offers a range of triple sandwiches in its meal deal, meaning you can get a whole lot of extra sandwich for your money (but a whole lot of extra bread too).

Sainsbury’s, despite having better sandwiches overall, has now controversially excluded BLT from the meal deal and sells out ridiculously quickly of the chicken salad, leaving you at risk of poor options. The sides on offer from some of the supermarket options are also often on the poor side.

Naturally, this is all something to take into account when purchasing your meal deal, as it ain’t all about the sandwich.


Packaging Weight vs Actual Weight

As is often the case with pre-packed supermarket and store produce, the weights on the packaging differ quite dramatically from the actual weights of the products.

Interesting, almost every sandwich variety we weighed came in underweight compared to the packaging - only the Tesco Egg & Cress sandwich averaged heavier than the packaging disclosed.

However, certain stores are far worse at offering an accurate insight into just how much sandwich you’re getting for your money:

Supermarket

Sandwich

Packaging Weight

Average Weight

Weight vs Packaging

Tesco

Egg Mayo & Cress

178g

182g

102.43%

Co-Op

BLT

189g

186g

98.24%

Sainsbury’s

Chicken Salad

241g

235g

97.37%

Co-Op

Chicken Salad

215g

201g

93.33%

M&S

Chicken Salad

253g

230g

90.91%

Tesco

BLT

185g

167g

90.27%

Sainsbury’s

BLT

192g

172g

89.41%

Tesco

Chicken Salad

231g

203g

88.02%

Sainsbury’s

Egg Mayo & Cress

183g

160g

87.61%

Co-Op

Egg Mayo & Cress

170g

148g

87.25%

M&S

Egg Mayo & Cress

180g

156g

86.67%

Boots

Chicken Salad

233g

202g

86.55%

Boots

BLT

184g

158g

85.87%

Morrisons

Chicken Salad

215g

184g

85.58%

Morrisons

BLT

189g

159g

84.30%

M&S

BLT

204g

171g

83.82%

Morrisons

Egg Mayo & Cress

165g

135g

81.82%

Boots

Egg Mayo & Cress

162g

131g

81.07%

Morrisons, Boots and interestingly M&S are towards the bottom of the tables here, showing some consistent over-estimations.

Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Co-Op tend to be closest to the mark with their disclosure of sandwich weight, being a little less disappointing.

Is there something to be said for the average sandwich coming in 11% lighter than the packaging discloses, though?


The Full Chart - The Best and Worst Meal Deal Sandwiches

Meal Deal Sandwiches Chart Full

 

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