We tried Iceland’s value range to see if we could save costs on meals

With food costs continuing to rise, many foot retailers are starting to change the way they sell, creating up updating their value ranges to help keep the prices down. But, you may look at the ranges and wonder if they have lost anything in order to keep the costs down.

Iceland, first founded in 1970, has stores scattered across the United Kingdom. Last month, it joined other supermarkets in launching its own value range, reports North Wales Live.

The Value Essential range covers a variety of staple goods. Prices vary from 69p to £2, with the majority costing £1.

Reporter Christopher Davies picked up some of the Value Essential range to see how it stacks up against other brands. This is what he found.

Breakfast – Bacon and Eggs

Dodging the trend of many of the value offerings, Iceland stick with a smaller pack of bacon where other value stores are opting to squeeze as much into a pack as they can, usually at the cost of quality. I was thankful for the smaller pack as it meant the quality of the bacon was better.

Five evenly cut slices with minimal fat were certainly more preferable to me than more poorer quality slices, though I can understand people opting for the other stores’ better value packs.

The eggs were a little on the small side, but that may be me nit-picking. Ultimately, they did the job and a pack of six for a pound is nothing to shake a stick at, plus there was plenty left over for future use. Alone, these two would make two or three days’ breakfast, but together it’s the ideal breakfast for two with eggs to spare.

A haul from Iceland's essentials range.
A haul from Iceland’s essentials range.
(Image: Christopher Davies/North Wales Live)

Lunch – White Bread Loaf, Salami slices, Coleslaw, Non-dairy spread and Oranges

Going from a bare fridge to having everything you need to make a day’s worth of food for two, it’s easy to forget about all the little extras you need. I’d planned to keep lunch as simple as possible, but you need a few bits even just to make a couple of sandwiches, which made lunch the most expensive meal of the day, though many of these ingredients will do for a few days at least.

The white bread was the cheapest item in the value offerings, coming in at 69p for an 800g loaf. The loaf was fresh and decently thick – ideal for sandwiches.

Likewise the 70g of Milano salami, which was a nice option to have away from the more typical ham and chicken options, which are still included in the discount range. One of the more unusual items to find included was the coleslaw, with 375g for a pound, which is a generous portion for the price. Taste-wise, it was a little on the sharper, more vinegary end, but it was still ideal for a lunchtime sandwich.

One of the things I most struggled to get from their value range though was fruit, with only a pack of eight easy peeler oranges available during my visit. Though small, they were full of flavour and really good quality oranges, and I encountered no pips in the few I had.

Tea – BBQ Chicken Pizza and Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chocolate Brownies

The Iceland garlic bread and pizza.
The Iceland garlic bread and pizza.
(Image: Christopher Davies/North Wales Live)

Not the healthiest option I could have opted for, but certainly the ideal one for the end of a busy week, with both cooking quickly from frozen in around 10 minutes. I was especially impressed with the pizza once it was ready.

Usually, these cheaper pizzas have a grand total of three toppings, leaving you wanting for more. But this was not the case here, as there was a good amount of chicken along with peppers and onions dolloped over the pizza covering in its entirety.

It could have done with a little more BBQ sauce to live up to its name, but for a pound I welcome a pizza with plenty of toppings. The garlic bread didn’t impress me as much as the pizza, and was certainly more cheese and less garlic, creating a pool of liquid cheese after it was done cooking. I was left wishing I’d gone for their garlic bread baguettes instead.

The Brompton House chocolate brownies were a welcome treat after the pizzas, offering small bitesize brownies with plenty of chocolate pieces within. These could be easily used as a lunchbox snack for kids, but only if you can resist having more than one – I couldn’t.

Overall, I was surprised by Iceland’s reliance on non-own brand products in its value range, compared to the value ranges of other supermarkets. You might wind up getting less overall, but generally speaking the quality was better, so perhaps the trade is worth it.

Still, Iceland’s new value range keeps its simple with the majority of the pricing sticking to its £1 rule, allowing me to pick up a full day’s worth of food for two – with a bit left over – for less than £10. It’s not Iceland’s only plan to assist with the cost of living crisis, as the store announced it would offer a free £30 voucher to pensioners earlier this year.

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