Supermarket meal deals - which one is best value for money?

Tesco v Sainsbury’s v Asda v Morrisons... where can you bag the best meal deal? Plus, which one throws in a Krispy Kreme?

Pre-packaged sandwiches on display in a supermarket
(Image credit: Bloomberg)

Supermarket meal deals are the go-to for a quick and easy lunch at work, so which offers the meal deal that makes your money go further? 

With food inflation at a record high, you might already be conscious about where you do your weekly shopping and whether it’s time to switch supermarkets.  

We compare the cost of a meal deal at each supermarket and tell you what you’re getting for your money.

Tesco meal deal vs Sainsbury’s meal deal 

How much is the cheapest meal deal?

Here’s a basic breakdown of how much a meal deal costs at each supermarket. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
SupermarketCost per meal deal
Tesco£3.40 with a Clubcard. £3.90 without a Clubcard.
Asda£3 to £5. You get a 3 for 2 offer, so cheapest item is free.
Co-op £3.50 with Co-op membership or £4 without.

It’s a tough call between Asda and Tesco (if you’re a Clubcard holder) as they offer cheaper deals compared to the other supermarkets. 

But before you opt for the cheapest meal deal, it really comes down to what is included in the meal deal price, which makes your money go further and of course the biggest factor, which supermarket offers a range of food that matches your tastebuds. 

Here’s a more in-depth look at what each meal deal offers and how to get more for your money.


Cost: £3 to £5 (3 for 2 offer with the cheapest item free). 

What do you get? The meal deal includes a main (from a choice of sandwiches, pasta and salads), a snack and a drink. But with the three for two offer, you could really opt for any three items included in the offer. For example, you can opt for a main, snack and drink, or you can opt for a main and two snacks- it doesn’t matter as you get the cheapest item free. 

A great perk with Asda’s meal deal is you can now opt for a Krispy Kreme doughnut as part of your snack, which is not on offer in any other supermarket. This is subject to which Asda locations sell Krispy Kremes in-store. 

Do prices vary depending on the branch you shop at? No 

How to make your money go further. As you’re not tied into a traditional meal deal and you get the cheapest item free out of the three you pick, you can max out by getting three mains. That way you get three mains for the price of two. 

Let’s say a pasta salad cost £2.50 each and you bought two. With the offer, you pay £5 for three pasta salads, saving you £2.50. Whereas if you were to get one pasta salad with a side and drink, you would get the cheapest item free which is most likely going to cost less than the main (probably a drink around £1.50). 

When you buy any ‘food to go’ items three times until 19 August, through Asda Rewards you can also get £2 in your reward cashpot.


Cost: £3.40 with a Clubcard. £3.90 without a Clubcard.

What do you get? A Tesco meal deal includes a main (sandwich, wrap or pasta salad), a side and a drink with a fixed price of £3.90 or £3.40 if you have a Clubcard. 

Do prices vary depending on the branch you shop at? No

How to make your money go further. Use your Tesco Clubcard to bring the price of the meal deal down to £3.40. If you don’t have a Tesco Clubcard, you can register for one online for free. 


Cost: £3.50

What do you get? A Sainsbury’s meal deal includes a main (sandwich, wrap or pasta salad), snack and drink for £3.50.

Do prices vary depending on the branch you shop at? No, but the selection of food can vary from store to store, for example some Sainsbury’s branches include hot food and items from the bakery section in their meal deal. 

How to make your money go further. If you have a Nectar Card, don’t forget to scan it to earn points. You get one point for every pound you spend, so you would only need four points to pay off your £3.50 meal deal. 

Similar to a Tesco Clubcard, Sainsbury’s now offers discounted prices for those who scan their Nectar Card at the till, called “Nectar prices”. Lower prices will be offered on 300 items for Nectar Card users and will be available all year round (meal deals are not currently included). 


Cost: £3.50

What do you get? A Morrisons meal deal includes a main, snack and drink for £3.50.

Do prices vary depending on the branch you shop at? No.

How to make your money go further. Scan your My Morrisons app at the till and bag rewards or freebies from time to time. There is no guarantee you will get something every time you buy a meal deal, but it’s always worth checking. You can get anything from 10% to £5 off. 


Cost: £4 or £3.50 with a Co-op membership. 

What do you get? The Co-op meal offers a main meal, snack and drink for £4 or £3.50 if you’re a Co-op member. 

Do prices vary depending on the branch you shop at? They could vary at Co-op petrol stations. 

How to make your money go further. You can sign up to become a Co-op member for £1, and your meal deals will cost you £3.50 rather than £4, saving you 50p each time. Students also get 10% off with a Totum card (which has replaced an NUS extra card). 

The Verdict

Overall, if you’re not fussed about getting a traditional meal deal with a main, snack and drink, the Asda deal works out well, especially if you get a meal deal two to three times a week.

Plus, with the Asda meal deal you could opt for three mains and get one free (only pay for two of them). With your snack and drink, it will probably work out cheaper to bulk buy, let’s say a pack of six Walkers crisps (£1.50 in Asda) which you can use over two weeks and bottled drinks. 

If you want a variety when it comes to snacks you could even opt for the six Walkers Variety pack which gives an option of three flavours for 15p more (£1.75 at Asda). It still works out better than getting a snack within your meal deal. 

The next best option is to get your meal deal from Tesco, but with a Clubcard.

It’s also down to what’s near you, so if you don’t have the choice of Tesco or Asda, here are other ways to cut the cost of your lunchtime meal deal.

More ways to cut the cost of your lunchtime meal deal

There are a few other things you can do to bag a cheaper meal deal or cut the cost over time. 

Loyalty cards. Sign up for the best supermarket loyalty cards and you can get a meal deal at a discounted cost. This won’t be the case for all of them but Tesco and Co-op let you take advantage of cheaper-priced meal deals. 

Use cashback apps or cards. Some of the best cashback apps like Cheddar, Quidco and TopCashback might give a percentage of your shop back. Check if your bank provider has a cashback offer too, for example Nationwide is offering 5% cashback on your supermarket shop. 

You don’t have to opt for a meal deal. Budget supermarkets Aldi and Lidl don’t offer meal deals, but they do offer food to go. If you only want a main and drink or even just a main, it might work out cheaper to opt out of a meal deal and shop at one of the budget supermarkets. For example, Aldi’s cheese and onion sandwich cost £1.15 whereas the same sandwich at Tesco is £1.40, saving you 25p. 

Create a budget plan for the week. Meal deals are an easy solution to a quick lunch when at work, so you can factor your lunchtime meal deals into your budget depending on how many times you go into the office per week. And if you have one go-to supermarket, it goes back to making use of their loyalty app and building up your points. Eventually, you can use your points to pay off your meal deal, for example with Sainsbury's Nectar Card. 

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Vaishali Varu
Staff Writer

Vaishali graduated in journalism from Leeds University. She has gained experience writing local stories around Leeds and Leicester, which includes writing for a university publication and Leicester Mercury. 

She has also done some marketing and copywriting for businesses.

When she is not writing about personal finance, Vaishali likes to travel and she's a foodie.