Battle of the meal deals - which offers the best value?

M&S, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s are offering posh meal deals: which is best?

Dine in for two

The battle of the meal deals is raging in earnest, M&S's dominance of the swanky £10 meal deal has been challenged by the emergence of one from Tesco - so M&S upped the ante. So how do they compare - and are they the best value of the supermarket meal deals?

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M&S

The first M&S deal hit the shops last week offering a main course, side dish, and dessert for two - plus a bottle of wine - for £10. It looked much the same as the special meal deals have looked for years. However, now it has run its course, M&S has upped the ante, with a new and improved deal.

It offers a big range of main courses - including improved veggie options. Popular choices are likely to include the pork rib rack, lamb leg steaks and lemon and thyme whole chicken. The twist is that instead of getting a side dish and a dessert, you get two side dishes, so you have your carbs and veggies covered. It means, for example, you can splash out on sweetcorn cobs and potato wedges, or couscous with aubergine and a sweet and crunchy salad. There's no news of the drinks on offer, but you can expect to be able to pick up a bottle of wine to share.

The price of the dishes varies, but assuming a ball park of £7 for the mains, £2.50 for the side dishes and £7 for the wine, you'll be getting around £19 worth of food for £10.

Tesco

Tesco, meanwhile, has launched a competitor deal from its Finest range - which will be available until 26 July. It's offering staples of the kind of deal like steak, lasagna, and herby chicken. There are plenty of vegetable side dishes to pick from, and desserts include raspberry heritage eclairs. You can also choose between a bottle of wine, two large bottles of beer, or six small bottles of coke.

Compared to the price of buying it all separately, it's a huge saving. Most of the main courses come in at £6, the side dishes at £2.60, and the desserts at £3. The drinks, meanwhile would cost up to £7 to buy on their own. It means you're getting £18.60 worth of food for £10.

The others

Morrisons is matching the deal, with a dine in deal featuring its 'The Best' range. You can chose from a variety of classics from shepherds pie to lasagna and fish pie, with a side dish and a dessert - plus a bottle of white wine. The food on offer seems cheaper, with main dishes at around £5, side dishes at up to £2.50, desserts worth up to £2.50, and wine costing £6.75. It means you get £16.75 worth of food for £10 - which is an impressive saving but isn't quite so generous.

Sainsbury's meanwhile, has taken a different tack with its weekend meal deal. It's offering 2 Pizza Express classic pizzas, 4 beers and two large cokes for £12. It's about £16 worth of food if you were to buy it separately.

The best value

The addition of the alcohol makes it incredibly difficult to match these deals with items from outside the meal deal. Even if you were to cook from scratch, unless you were prepared to make your own wine, you'd struggle to beat the price. So if you want a fancy meal with wine, the deals offer a great opportunity to indulge without restaurant prices.

Sainsbury's clearly falls a long way short of the savings available from the other three.

Morrison also offers a bit less for the money. Arguably only having one wine on offer, and a number of pies as main courses, it's a bit less special too.

The M&S and Tesco Meals, meanwhile, have gone head-to-head, and it's difficult to get much between them. The M&S deal seems to offer marginally more for the money - but there's very little in it.

The decision, therefore, is less about price, and more about choice, so we have listed out the options for you to pick from below.

If you're after a vegetarian main course, M&S has two options - whereas Tesco just has one. If you want something more modern, then again M&S has more choice - with options like pork ribs with pomegranate and chilli glaze and sticky salmon skewers - against herby chicken, beef in red wine, and lasagna at Tesco.

Much will also depend on whether would rather have two side dishes with your main course, and forego dessert - or you're willing to give up any greens (or any carbs) in favour of pudding.

For some shoppers, the choice will come down to something as simple as whether they feel their dinner will be more special from M&S, or whether it's easier to pop to Tesco at the end of a long day.

But what do you think? Which offers the best value for you? Let us know in the comments.

Tesco's £10 meal deal
Mains
Tesco Finest ranch steaks with a garlic and herb butter
Tesco Finest beef Chianti
Tesco Finest traditional lasagne
Tesco Finest carbonara chicken
Tesco Finest chicken risotto
Tesco Finest lemon and herb chicken
Tesco Finest chicken, leek and white wine
Tesco Finest chicken Cabernet Sauvignon
Tesco Finest chicken and chorizo paella
Tesco Finest aubergine parmiagana

Sides
Tesco Finest petit pois, leeks and pancetta
Tesco Finest lemon and thyme roast potatoes
Tesco Finest root vegetables gratin
Tesco Finest potato dauphinoise
Tesco Finest chunky chips
Tesco Finest green vegetable selection

Desserts
Tesco Finest two raspberry heritage eclairs
Tesco Finest Belgian chocolate dessert
Tesco Finest two millionaires desserts
Tesco Finest Belgian dark and white chocolate cheesecake
Tesco Finest two Sicilian lemon cheesecake
Tesco Finest two raspberry and lemon tarts
Tesco Finest strawberry and Prosecco trifle

Drinks
Peroni Nastro Azzurro (2 x 500ml)
Shiraz wine from Spain
Tempranillo wine from Spain
Cardonnay wine
Tesco Finest freshly squeezed lemonade juice (2 x 1 litre)
Bottle Green twin pack (2 x 750ml)
Coca Cola Regular (6 x 330ml glass bottles)
Diet Coke (6 x 330ml glass bottles)
Sparkling white wine from South Africa
Sparkling Rose wine from Spain

Marks and Spencer's
Mains
Pork rib rack with sweet and sticky pomegranate and chilli glaze
Lamb leg steaks
Smokehouse beef rib with a rich BBQ sauce
Lemon & thyme whole chicken
Sweet & sticky spatchies
Sticky salmon skewers with a soy, tamarind, lime and chilli glaze
Edgy veggie burgers
Chicken shawarma
Smokehouse pork shoulder
Arrabbiata flatties with a chilli & herb rub and roasted red pepper sauce

Sides
Poppy seed and lemon potato salad
Sweet and crunchy salad
Deli-style coleslaw
Frites
Crispy potato wedges
Ultimate Garlic Baguette
Bulgur wheat, tomatoes, feta cheese in a sweet dressing
Grains, couscous, roasted aubergine and mint with a yoghurt dressing
Tender sweetcorn cobs with a lime and chilli butter

Drinks will vary between stores

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