That’s right. You read correctly. One Week Without is back! This week I was asked to go One Week Without branded food, but I went one step further and included a necessity – toilet roll (more on that later…). My chosen supermarket – ASDA, my chosen brand – Smart Price (SP).
However, before I continue, let’s get some small print out of the way: not all products were available in Smart Price, so where this happened I bought ASDA’s Chosen By You range, their own brand products.
Lovely stuff…let the week commence…
Friday 3rd February, 6:00pm – The Shop:
Okay, feeling somewhat self-conscious and embarrassed when I put the SP Curry Sauce in my trolley, next to several items that I’ve already picked up. I dragged my flatmate along with me, and I think even she feels embarrassed. Again, I feel a strong urge to tell everyone about my experiment, as the sea of white and green packaging seems to be a magnet to people’s stares. It depresses me as I walk around the aisles, but I say to myself this is in the interest of journalism and partly me being a cheapskate…let’s hope this gets better. On the plus side, the total price comes to £19.94, excellent news.
Saturday 4th February, 8:00pm:
Day One, and that wasn’t bad at all! Fajitas were on the menu for dinner tonight, and if any of you readers aren’t too keen on the spicier Old El Paso brand, own brand is the way forward. I would definitely buy that again.
The same cannot be said, unfortunately, for ASDA’s ‘Diet Cola’…vile. Just vile.
Sunday 5th February, 10:30am:
I have stumbled across my first horrific part of this experiment. My branded loo roll has run out, which means – yes, that’s right – SP loo roll…
Imagine you’re in a desert. You need the loo. The only thing you have to wipe yourself is sand or SP toilet paper. Go for the sand ladies and gentlemen…go for the sand.
However, dinner this evening was a lovely SP roast chicken. 5 points for own brand food.
Monday 6th February, 8:45am:
My first experience of SP ‘coco rice cereal’ was actually quite pleasant. I did find myself snacking on SP digestives at around 10 o’clock though, so stick to the branded stuff if you want to last till lunch.
Tuesday 7th February, 1:30pm:
Both the steak pie last night and my sausage sandwich today tasted like there was no moisture left in the world to put in these meals, but they were still edible with a bit of sauce. SP food is just about hanging in there in the ‘pleasantly edible’ section.
Wednesday 8th February, 7:05pm:
I may have to withdraw that previous comment. Now, I don’t claim to be a Sweet and Sour Sauce connoisseur, but I know my Sweet and Sour Sauce. And what I have just forced down was NOT Sweet and Sour Sauce. Big fail, SP.
Thursday 9th February, 7:30pm:
I’m delighted to say that my Chosen By You ravioli with carbonara sauce was lovely, possibly the best meal of the week. Could SP be clawing its way back?
Friday 9th February, 9:45pm:
It’s the last day, hooray! My arse is definitely celebrating no more SP loo roll (sorry to be so blunt, but you didn’t have to experience it…). And was ended by a lovely meal of SP curry with SP naan bread, for a bargain of only 55p. If your preference is a spicy curry, I would definitely recommend the branded stuff, but if you’re like me then SP is the way forward in the curry world.
This leaves me to conclude my little experiment, and to be honest, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The only catastrophes were the toilet roll (never again…ever), and the ‘Diet Cola’, if you can even call it cola. Oh, and the Sweet and Sour Sauce of course, which I have to continue using for the next week as well…why do they come in such big jars?!
What amazes me, though, is that altogether I saved around £20 by shopping Smart Price, and for the most part the stuff was actually borderline nice. However, I am definitely feeling bloated and lethargic, which leads me to assume there is all sorts of rubbish in this cheap stuff that enables it to be the bargain price that it is.
One thing is for certain. If you are strapped for cash, as most of us students are from time to time, and you are desperate to spend £4 on a Jesticle rather than a fajita kit, own brand food isn’t actually that bad, and is definitely worth it…just don’t sacrifice your loo roll, for your own safety.