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NOW CLOSED M&S Simply Fuller Longer range - tester review thread

(289 Posts)
TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 25-May-12 14:26:16

This thread is for the Mumsnet M&S panellists who've been trying out the Simply Fuller Longer range with their families. M&S would like to know what you thought of the dish(es) you tried. We've included a few feedback questions below to get you started, but please feel free to add any other comments you have too.

Everyone who adds their feedback to this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 M&S giftcard.

Please note that your comments may appear (anonymously) on the M&S pages on Mumsnet and possibly elsewhere.

Please remember to state which dish(es) you tried in your response.

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw
MNHQ

EG101 Sat 26-May-12 10:58:37

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?

Good range available to choose from in my local store with well-stocked shelves. I was immediately drawn to the Thai-inspired dishes - recognisable favourites.

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?

I microwaved the dishes - I always choose microwaveable convenience dishes. Very quick and easy to prepare.

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?

My husband and I both felt that the portion sizes were small and we were finished very quickly. Felt hungry afterwards. Husband would have liked more meat. I would have liked more veg.

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

I enjoyed the crunchiness of the vegetables. We ate the Red Thai Chicken Curry and felt that there was too much fish sauce which masked any other flavour. The rice was very soggy but the chicken was lovely and tender.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?

The dishes are attractively priced but the portion size was too small for a main meal.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?

No - taste needs to be improved and portion size was disappointing.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw
MNHQ

1 I checked the range out online first and asked dh what he wanted to try. I was really surprised that there was only one veggie option. Instore, there were no puddings in view and the veggie option was missing. It was good that although a diet range, it wasn't all chicken and fish. By half two at hempstead, no wraps or lunch options or veggie food left - week day.

Q2. Dh rarely uses ready meals, and cooks from scratch. If I buy a ready meal it tends too be a veggie one that I wouldn't bother to make at home, like quorn lasagne. If it takes longer than 40 minutes in an oven I don't buy it, altho I prefer oven cooked ready meals to microwave ones. I don't really care too much about the method tbh.
Dh microwaved one dish and oven cooked the other - no discernible difference.
Q3. No veggie option so dh tried mid eastern spiced chicken and roast pork loin. He liked the first one more and found it filling. He liked both in an okay fashion and would eat them if I bought them, but wasn't blown away by them. They didn't taste like diet food. Portion size was slightly smaller than he would have liked but he was full afterwards.

Q4. He found them okay. I am always suspicious of the nutritional value of ready meals. However these seemed quite good. I wasn't that excited as I don't eat meat or fish.

Q5. Ingredients were good quality but with 4 kids and a recession - wouldn't buy two ready meals for one personn for a tenner.

Q6. Yes if they were dieting and fed up of cottage cheese.

OracleInACoracleocus Sat 26-May-12 11:38:07

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?

the range was ok, but didnt seem to be much stock out (9.30 on a friday morning) The meals were also scattered around the shop. I was tron between the Salmon with watercress sauce, or seafood linguine, went for the linguine for myself and chicken carbonnara for DH

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?

I used the microwave, that was a factor. DH had a funeral to go to last night so needed something to eat quickly to soak up the beer from the wake while I had been working. we dont normally eat ready meals, it was nice to sit down to eat 5 minutes after putting it in.

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?

it was just right for me, I felt full afterward, DH was still a bit hungry and supplemented his with bread. he was hungry 2 hours later. however, the portion size was good for him.

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

I loved mine (seafood linguine) would have liked a bit of a kick to kit, but I like my pasta spicy. DH enjoyed his, the pasta was delicious (Chicken carbonnara) and it was surprisingly creamy. bit too garlicky, but enjoyed it. I dont know if its a healthy alternative, but it was certainly a nice treat.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?

I do think it was a bit pricey, and its not something I would buy everyday. BUT it was far tastier than supermarket alternatives, and considering the fact that we dont eat readymeals very often, its worth splurging on.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?

yes, not as a diet food (I'm not a fan of diets) but as a delicious meal that may have an added advantage.

Bonkerz Sat 26-May-12 15:23:36

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?

I was actually quite shocked at the HUGE range of ready meals available in M&S. I have only really ever looked at the sandwiches when i have been in before and locating the SFL range between all the other ranges was quite difficult.
Once located i was impressed with the SFL range.... a large selection and lots of dishes i would have loved to try. The simple dishes were the ones that grabbed my attention more and also the ones with reduced stickers on wink

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?

I wanted to use the meals for quick lunches so i deliberately bought microwave meals. I also chose the ones that were reduced to £3 so i could try three meals. I chose Cod Mornay, Chiken/noodles and mushroom sauce and meatballs and spaghetti.
Each meal was between 3:30m and 4:30 minutes in the microwave which was great.

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?

Portion size for a lunch was about right. I cleared the 'bowl'. DH tried the meatballs and needed to add some bread and butter to help him feel fuller.
We ate lunch about 12:30 and didnt really need to eat again till about 4:30 ish but then we dont normally snack mid afternoon anyway as are too busy.
I dont think these meals would be suitable for an evening meal unless you added veg side dishes to the range.

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

We were both very surprised with the flavour. Dh said the meatballs were very spicy and left a mean aftertaste once he had finished. the cod mornay was delicious and i loved the fact it included veg. the chicken and noodles was ok, little bit bland but lots of meat.
the calorie content was good and i liked that they were low salt also so definately a healthier option than other ready meals.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?

I paid £3 for each of mine as they were reduced. £3,99 is good for the quality, i think as a treat i would purchase again or as a lunch on the run type of meal instead of a sandwich i would definately consider it.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?

I think the price is a big deal when recommending these meals but i will definately mention them as a healthy filling lunch option. when compared to the price of a prepped salad or sandwich they offer a better alternative for sure.

asuwere Sat 26-May-12 17:59:32

Q1. I was quite surprised at the large selection of ready meals in general in store. The SFL range was quite good - pretty varied and lots that I would choose. DH had a bit of an issue as most of the meals came with veg which put him off (he's worse than the children!) We both choose nice meals though - I took Chicken and Mushroom Tagliatelle, DH took Roasted Meatballs with Spagetti.

Q2. I never checked the cooking instructions before I bought the meals but found them very easy and surprisingly quick to cook - DH's was only 4mins in micro and mine was only 3mins.

Q3. Portion size seemed quite generous - I didn't finish mine completely as was full. DH finished his but he also had a slice of toast with his (if he hadn't picked out all the visible bits of pepper, he wouldn't have had the toast, I don't think!) We both commented on how filling the meals were as we were eating.

Q4. Both meals were very tasty - I really enjoyed mine; great flavour and the chicken tasted quite good compared to some re-heated meat that I've tried before. It looked quite fresh as well which was a nice surprise for a microwave meal. DH did comment that he makes a better spagetti and meatballs himself, and I would agree that it would be nicer if home made but for convenience food, it was very high standard.

Q5. I think the price is quite expensive. We were discussing what circumstances we would think to pay that price for a convenience meal. If we wanted a quick meal, we would maybe end up at some fast food place rather than get this, if it was a meal for taking to work, then I think I would rather make a batch of something myself and take small portions to heat at work. If it was just a basic microwave meal that we wanted, we would definitely choose a cheaper, basic option rather than this price tag.

Q6. I would suggest trying the meals if someone asked but I would think the price would have to be taken into consideration.

I posted further up the thread, now dh and ds1 will post

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?

Bromley store, see above

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?

DS1, I had the Roasted beef meatballs & spaghetti which I microwaved. The preparation method didn't factor in my choice of purchase. I do not usually buy convenience meals but I was impressed with the preparation.

DH, I chose the Beef & chianti ragu which was microwaved. The preparation method was not a factor in my choice of purchase, but I do prefer to be able to use the microwave. Compared to other microwavable convenience meals I have tried this was if anything easier to prepare because there was only one microwave period required.

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?

DS1, The portion was a decent size but failed to completely fill me up.

DH, The portion was a decent size; I felt I wanted more, but if I am honest I tend to overeat and if I was on a diet this would have been enough.

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

DS1, The dish tasted very good and had lots of flavour. But the dish was a bit too spicy and hot. I haven't had other ready meals.

DH, I enjoyed the meal taste-wise, and would not want it improved, although my taste-buds are nowhere near as sensitive as they used to be, so I have a preference for spicier and well seasoned foods. My gripe was the thick starchy film that was left on my fork from the first mouthful and remained throughout the meal, something I have never encountered before. Was that what you meant by "balanced carbs"?
Was it a healthy alternative? I am not a nutritionist and am not in a position to judge. Like anything else I only have your word for it that a particular product contains healthier and less harmful ingredients.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?

DS1, I believe the dish is a reasonable price but I wouldn't think it's amazing value for money.

DH, I appreciated the extra quality, but I would not say that it was twice the value of something costing £2 in Tesco or four times the value of a £1 item in Iceland.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?

DS1, I would recommend this dish to both family and friends. This is because of it's good flavouring. The only reason I wouldn't want to recommend this product would be because of it's massive serving of salt, which is 2.20g.

DH, I didn't think my dish was anything special as an alternative to other cheaper "healthy" convenience foods, but I would recommend it to someone for whom price wasn't an issue because M&S products are generally of a reliable high quality.

Back to megrin I thought there was a good selection but they would not be suitable for us as a family.
I would like to add though that there are a couple off things that put me off my local M&S. Queues being the first one, nothing you sell justifies the queue. Secondly the food section of local M&S is so dark, you are M&S not Hollister! The deli area is too large.
Thank you for the voucher

Jubelizalee Sat 26-May-12 18:41:17

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately? Easy to find, though I do know the store and they're constantly moving things around. I thought there was more choice than I had anticipated, I kept noticing more selection. I noticed the steak and mushroom pie and the chicken and tomatoe risotto first.

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not? I microwaved my chicken in smoky tomato sauce and ovened DH's steak and mushroom pie as I think things with potato are better done in the oven. Easy to prepare - similar to other convenience meals.

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size? Portion sizes were fine, filled both of us. ANd I did actually realise when in bed later that night that I hadn't snacked in the evening which I often do. Whether this was chance or because of the SFL meal I couldn't tell you.

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not? Dh eats less convenience meals than me and he was clearly pleasantly surprised by the taste, said it was lovely. I do eat more ready meals as I take them too work. I often have low fat ones and thought my SFL meal was really tasty and came across as better quality than many convenience meals. (This was of course reflected in the price, which is high for a serves-one ready meal).

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why? See previous answer. Yes, expensive compared to other convenience meals available however they were good value for money in the sense that the quality rose in line with the price.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not? Yes I would, if they were relatively well off and on the occasion unable or unwilling to cook. They are not (on my budget anyway) an everyday option. However I did think the meals were lovely and I really liked the range of meals available, they were different to the usual ready-meal choices.

Chicksy Sat 26-May-12 22:14:39

Q1. Easy to find, on the end of an aisle.I thought there was more to choose choice than I had expected. I noticed the thai curries and cod mornay first.

Q2. I microwaved my meals. Quick and easy to prepare - similar to other convenience meals I suppose.

Q3. Portion sizes were fine for both of us. I did nibble on tortilla chips but thats probably more my Saturday night with glass of wine habit.

Q4. We dont normally eat convenience meals but thought they were very appealing and tasted good. We both really enjoyed the Thai curry. They did seem to be a healthy meal. DH would have liked a bit more sauce in his.

Q5. Yes, expensive compared to other convenience meals and very expensive compared to the meal for 2 for £10 deal on this weekend.

Q6. Yes I would for occassional convenience. The meals were lovely, I really liked the range of meals available, and they were more varied to the average ready meals.

I have received my voucher and visited our local store but I could not find any vegetarian option. What do I do now?

Q2. Spaghetti with beef meatballs, cooked in the oven. I did like that I could cook it both ways (My husband and I both prefer oven cooked, but microwave back-up if the oven is full of other stuff is very useful).
I do semi-regularly by ready-meals - my husband and I both have disabilities that make cooking, particularly standing, and found these really simple to do.

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?
Portion side was very good. My DH commented that we didn't give them a fair test as neither of us had eaten much that day (lack of appetite as a medical problem), but they both left us full enough to get through the evening with just crackers and dip for a tv snack.

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?
Very tasty, particularly the meatballs (love that they are beef). We both really liked the quality and both said after the meal that it was much better in quality than most ready meals we've had. Wouldn't really think of it as a 'healthier' alternative, just a better quality option than most.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
Bit on the pricier side, but it was very good quality. Bit unsure on this.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes, probably, as it was easy and nice tasting, though I think the price and pricer image of M&S would put them off.

Sorry - part of my message didn't copy: Q1. The range wasn't very good at the store I used (Westfield Derby), partially as several were labeled and not in stock at the time I went in (midday on a Saturday). The spaghetti with beef meatballs grabbed my attention as did the mexican with potato wedges, though the former was on the shelves and the latter was not (but had a clearly labelled gap). It was also squeezed at the end of an aisle mixed in with the count on us range that was spread out and intermixed with the Simply Filler range and the Simply Kids range on the opposite side. I found the count on us range, and even the kids ranges, to be a lot more diverse and interesting, but they also had a lot more readily on the shelves. To be fair on the store, they were restocking while I was there, but they were mostly restocking the count on us range.

shineypenny Sun 27-May-12 17:08:46

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?

The range was not easy to find. I do not usually visit the m&s food hall, and I was surprised at the number of convenience meals in general - a lot more than I expected. The £10 meal deal was being heavily promoted, and the SFL range was tucked in on an end shelf at the back of the hall. There were a lot of thai and curry dishes in the cabinet, so my heart sank because we are not curry eaters. I chose the chicken, ham, chunky vegetable and angel hair pie and the chicken and vegetable hotpot

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?

We do not own a microwave, so both were heated in the oven. Similar times and temperature required, so not a problem. They were very easy to prepare and cook.

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?

The portion sizes did not look very big, but they were surprisingly filling although we did both snack later in the evening.

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

The flavours were very tasty. dh was surprised by the quality of the hotpot. The angel hair pastry was divine, so light and not at all stodgy - I wish all pastry was like this.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?

£3.99 seemed a bit steep for a single dish, particularly as the £10 meal deal was being offered as an alternative. I felt a bit of a lemon in the queue with my two SFL dishes, when others had three dishes and wine as well for £10 but, if I was dieting, it would definitely feel like a welcome treat to still be able to have the luxury of a quality convenience meal.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?

If someone started a conversation about dieting, I would probably mention them, but I would not start a conversation myself, mainly because I am lucky to be a healthy weight without dieting so I wouldn't want to start a conversation with a dieter as they would probably think I was being rude.

lumbago Sun 27-May-12 17:11:56

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?
no - was hard to find. the curry

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?
i dont buy convenience food - i got my H the curry and i had some sandwiches

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?
there was NO difference of being fuller longer - portion sizes were standard

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

were ok - feel pretty Meh about them . The felafel thing was VILE though

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
not really - dont buy that stuff normally

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?

no - cant see thepoint of them

amt111 Sun 27-May-12 17:36:55

Here is my feedback on the meals we tried....

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?

The range was quite good – it was a big M&S store, but I wasn’t particularly tempted by the choices. I settled on a chicken casserole for myself and the children (they shared one) and the pork meatballs for hubbie.

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?

I followed the M&S recommendation and cooked the chicken in the oven and the pork in the microwave. To be honest I didn’t look at the cooking process in store – didn’t cross my mind! But it all seemed very straightforward. I don’t usually buy ready meals so don’t have much to compare them to.

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?

The portion sizes were good. We all felt full afterwards.

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

Hubbie really enjoyed his pork. My casserole was ok, but there were rather a lot of lentils and this dominated the flavour. As lentils are not my favourite I can’t say I really enjoyed it. But it did feel healthy. One of my sons (age 7) was not keen at all and picked most of the lentils out. The other (aged 20mths) wolfed the whole lot down.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?

I felt they were rather expensive but perhaps that is because I’m not used to buying ready meals. As it really was the whole meal, (ie didn’t have to cook veg as well) then it probably was quite reasonable value. To feed the whole family was 3 meals (£12) which is more than I would usually spend.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?

I would recommend them if asked – the concept is good and if you like the flavours then I thought the quality was good too. Thank you for the opportunity to try the food.

naturalbaby Sun 27-May-12 19:57:04

Q1. I was expecting more choice but maybe didn't find all of it? There was a small section with about 6 main meals, Beef in red wine looked good but I chose paella and Katsu Curry for him - if I choose a convenience food I like to have something that I can't prepare easily myself from scratch.

Q2. I used the oven because I've found that better in the past but I think they would have been fine in the microwave - I just didn't want to be disappointed by not preparing it properly! We rarely buy convenience meals because of price but these dishes were very good quality compared to ones we have had in the past. They tasted very fresh so I was very impressed considering it had come out of a plastic dish.

Q3. Perfect portion size for the Paella but DH wanted more rice in the curry - I usually dish up a huge portion of carbs to really fill us up.

Q4. Dh was very impressed with the curry. They both looked and tasted very fresh and healthy compared to other options which can be soggy, watery or very rich and fatty.

Q5. I thought the paella was excellent value for money considering the chicken and King Prawns. Dh thought the curry was a bit overpriced for what it was. I thought they were both very good value for money when I compared what I got to what I usually get with the 2 for £10 offer.

Q6. Yes, because I found them good value for money and didn't need anything else. With other convenience food you need something like salad/chips/vegetables to make it more of a meal.

I was hoping there would be more opportunity to try more than one dish - DH didn't share! I wouldn't have chosen them before as I normally avoid diet/healthy options but I would have this again for a good value convenience meal.

soppymoo Sun 27-May-12 21:09:35

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?

Only took me a couple of minutes to locate them in my smallish store; there were probably around ten choices, grouped together; I considered the curries but in the end plumped for beef stroganoff and beef in red wine.

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?

Microwave; to be honest I didn't check cooking method as I just assumed they would be microwaveable. I would rarely buy a ready meal if it had to be cooked in the oven, on the basis that in that time you could knock up something fresh yourself. Happy with the length of cooking time (3-4 mins or each).

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?

DH, who had the beef stroganoff, definitely thought the portion was small, and snacked on bread and hummous afterwards. The beef in red wine was a good size portion for me - generally seemed a heartier meal with potatoes and carrots to fill you up.

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

Beef stroganoff was a bit bland; beef in red wine was tasty, the beef was extremely lean and tender, carrots not overcooked - not sure why the potatoes needed to be roasted, as they were coated in gravy, so you couldn't tell. In terms of healthiness, I'd say they were on a par with some other ready meals, better than others - depends on what you choose, of course.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?

Hmmm - a bit pricey I think. When I was working and child-free, this is exactly the sort of thing I might have picked up after a busy day; but would only purchase these fairly rarely I think.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?

I'd say they were of good quality but portions a little small for the price.

adoremyfamily Sun 27-May-12 22:39:42

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately? I tried Mexican chunky beef with pepper and potato wedges, DH Steak and mushroom pie with luxury mash, DD Chicken Tikka with Saffron on Pilau Rice.
I struggled to find them at first, didn't know what packaing was like so had to look through many ready meals to find them. I bought 3 meals that had been reduced the choice was ok not as many as I expected.

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?
I used the microwave, I occassionally buy ready meals and they compared favourably. I do expect ready meals to be cooked in microwave, the whole point of convenience food is that they are quick and easy to prepare.

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?
I thought the porion sizes were ok for a lunch but not for a main meal. I served them for lunch but if serving as evening meal would have added more veg/salad. DH felt full but again said would not have been enough if was for main evening meal.Ate at 12 and was peckish about 5 so had snack as we don't eat until 6.30 - 7 so the meals did not fill us from one meal to next.

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?
I enjoyed meals had plenty of flavour did not taste like health food. Dh was reluctant to try as he thought it would be tasteless diet food but was suprised he enjoyed and would eat again.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
The meals were good value but they had been reduced in price not sure I would have paid full price especially knowing I would have to add extras if served as evening meal to make them more filling.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?
Yes I probably would recommend all the dishes we tried. They were tasty and easy to prepare what you expect from convenience food.

mylittlepeanutface Mon 28-May-12 09:16:30

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?

There was a large variety of dishes, however I struggled to pick something that I actually fancied. In the end I picked a salmon dish for myself and a curry for DP. I also got a jerk chicken wrap to eat for my lunch.

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?

I used the microwave for both as that's what it suggested on the dishes. Preparation method doesn't affect my choice of purchase. Usually I prefer to cook things in the oven but I will go with whatever is suggested for best results!

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?

I think the portion sizes didn't look that big for the price of the dishes, however we were both full afterwards and didn't eat anything for the rest of the night which I was quite surprised about!

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

My DP enjoyed his chicken tikka curry, it was much better than your average microwave curry in terms of taste and amount of chicken. I did enjoy the salmon but found the broccoli was still a bit hard which put me off a bit. I still ate it though as the flavours were good! I felt as though it was definitely healthier than most other ready meals-it was basically salmon and veg.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?

I thought that the price of the meals was too high, I think £3 would be much better value. For £3.99 I would have expected a bigger portion. If I was using my own money I think the price would put me off slightly. Even the wrap I had for lunch was £3.50 I think and it was only 1 small wrap. It was delicious but not competitive price wise.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?

Yes, I think the meals are good for people who are trying to eat healthier and do not have a lot of time and can afford it! I probably would repurchase one or two of the dishes but I would like to see a bigger range of dishes available.

peggyblackett Mon 28-May-12 09:18:21

Marking my place for feeding back later.

EggsOvaryZee Mon 28-May-12 10:16:01

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?

I visited a store at Castlepoint, Bournemouth. It has a large M&S and the choice there was amazing. There were over 15 different dishes to chose from. I never normally buy 'ready meals' as mentally they seem a bit 'wrong' somehow, but all the fish/seafood options grabbed my attention immediately since I know fish is healthy and I don't cook it as much as I'd like to at home.

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?

We chose one each, I would have liked a bigger voucher so that we could have tried to both eat more of the meals to see how we would feel/fare over the course of a week, but there you go. I chose the paella and OH choce the seafood linguine. We both coked them in the microwave. I was quite impressed with the speed and ease to cook them.

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?

Portion size was fine for both of us, the paella in particualr seemed very generous. We just had a bit of salad with them.

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

OH gave the seafood 7/10 and I'd say the paella was an 8/10 in terms of taste. OH did say he'd rather a bit more pasta in his one. Both of us were a little surprised by high they were in salt though. We were quite impressed with the textures of the meals, they were enjoyable.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?

These were £4 each. For seafood I 'd say they were good value for money with prawns etc...

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not

Yes, I would recomend them. M&S do lovely food generally and these were tasty and filling. I would have liked to have tried more to get a better idea of the range overall, but would possibly buy them again regardless. I wanted to try athe green and red Thai curries but Oh thought they looked too bulked out with rice and he makes a great curry anyway.

get0rfm0iland Mon 28-May-12 10:37:52

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?

I went to M&S in Gloucester, which is quite small. The SFL foods were next to the other diet foods (Count on Us). There wasn't a huge amount of selection as it was at the end of the day and not all the shelves were full, but there were about half a dozen choices. I liked the look of the Keralan curry with the crispy bit on top, and also the ham hock dish. Most of the options were pasta - which I wouldn't have thought would have been a popular choice for the SFL range as pasta has a high glycaemic index.

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?

I cooked them in the oven as I do not have a microwave (I checked that both could be cooked in the oven before buying). They were very easy to prepare - just take the lid off!

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?

I thought the portion size was fine (I had the Kerala curry) however DP (who had the ham hock) was a little disappointed at the size of the portion. That could be down to his being greedy, however. I think the size was perfectly fine and was filling.

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

I enjoyed the Kerala curry, I liked the idea of the crisp as opposed to the normal rice accompaniment. It also tasted very fresh, however it wasn't as spicy as i would have hoped. DP liked the ham hock, said that the vegetables which came with it were lovely and didn't have a strange texture like they normally would have in ready meals. The ham hock itself he really rated. Both of us thought that the meals were distinctly under-seasoned however.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?

I think £4 is probably the upper limit of what I would pay for a ready meal. I don't eat them very often, and I would accept paying a premium for M&S stuff. However I have a family of 3 - I sometimes use the Sainsbury's Just Cook range (which are very easy pre-prepped meals) which are 3 for £10, and I think the fact that the Sainsbury's range is £2 cheaper would tip the balance. I do however like the idea behind SFL (reduced carbohydrate count, higher in protein) as that is my preferred way of eating.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?

Yes I would recommend them.

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?

I really struggled as there were no vegetarian options in our local store. I did not buy any but will go back and buy for dh and do the questionnaire again.

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?

I was shocked at the price of the meals tbh. I normally cook for a family of four, from scratch and wouldn't expect to spend that much, although we obviously don't eat meat.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?

So far I wouldn't recommend them as they didn't offer a wide enough range to include vegetarian option. This surprised me if the range is aiming to be viewed as a healthier eating option.

I will report again once dh has had a few meals.

margia Mon 28-May-12 11:46:11

Q1.
I visited our closest store which is a service station Simply Food. There were about 10-12 meals in the SFL range which was easily located. The dishes that immediately appealed were the chicken and mushroom pasta, beef ragu(?) and spaghetti and meatballs, in the end I could only get the spaghetti from these three as we are strictly no alcohol for religious regions. The only other dish I could select from the range was thai green curry.
Q2.
I heated both dishes in the microwave as recommended. It didn’t affect my choice (see above). We don’t get convenience food but found the dishes both very simple to prepare. This makes them a viable alternative to a takeaway.
Q3.
I found both dishes sufficiently filling and was surprised by the amount of carbs that I found filling, particularly with the thai green curry which didn’t have much more chicken than I would typically serve. I can’t comment on the fuller longer as I ate it in the evening and don’t typically snack in the evening. The meatballs were double or more the size of a portion I would have served and really kept the munchies away very well.
Q4.
I enjoyed both dishes, despite not being a fan of lemon grass. I was impressed to see fresh (not dried) herbs in the dishes. I would consider them to be healthier than other ready meals due to the very reasonable fat levels and despite the amber salt flash. As an alternative to take-aways I would say they are a really healthy option.
Q5.
For a ready meal they certainly aren’t cheap (£4.19 at the service station per meal) so they don’t stack up for a whole family either against say a macdonalds at the service station or ready meals at tescos. But having said that I think they do make good value for money compared to a takeaway with similar levels of convenience.
Q6.
I would certainly mention the dishes to friends and family favourably both as a product and as a concept.

ouryve Mon 28-May-12 12:28:54

Q1. How did you find the SFL range in the store you visited in terms of availability? Was there enough to choose from or not? Which dishes grabbed your attention immediately?

I visited the big store at the metrocentre, so there was a huge choice! It's the more exotic dishes that I wouldn't necessarily make a version of for the whole family that grabbed my attention.
I ended up choosing
Salmon with soy & ginger
Hoisin duck & noodles
Seafood linguine

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven? Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase? If you regularly buy 'convenience' meals, how did the SFL dishes compare to others in terms of how quick and easy they are to prepare? If you don't usually buy 'convenience' meals, were you impressed with the speed/ease of preparing the dishes or not?

I happened to microwave all the dishes because the oven was full, last night and I just had the linguine for my lunch, so wasn't going to turn it on just for me. They couldn't have been easier to prepare. I've had the keralan curry with samosa crust a few times in the past when it's been on offer because it really is delicious and that always goes in the oven because of the crust (though it doesn't crisp up all that well, even with top and bottom heat)

Q3. How did you find the portion sizes of the dishes you tried? Did you feel full afterwards? And how about your DH/DP - was he/she sufficiently full afterwards? What were his/her thoughts on the portion size?

The portions are just right for both of us, though we had a pudding last night, since I normally make a fruity pudding on a Sunday, anyway. The portion size actually meant we could enjoy the pudding without feeling over full afterwards.

Q4. What did you and your DH/DP think of the dishes you tried in terms of taste and flavour - did you enjoy them or not? Is there anything that you think could be improved on this front? Would you consider the dishes you tried to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meal options or not?

They're all very tasty. My salmon was very succulent. The black rice made everything look a bit murky and unappetising and the overall dish was a teeny bit salty and I couldn't detect the ginger. It was still very light and enjoyable, though and is the type of food I often make for myself from scratch. DH's duck was a bit chewy, but I always find this to be the case with meat re-heated in the microwave, even though I cut down the heating time so I don't overdo it in my 900W cooker. The noodles cooked better in the microwave than they would have in the oven, though, so it's swings and roundabouts. My linguine was a perfect texture, just now and was pleasant and summery but, as with the ginger, I would have liked the aromatics to come through a bit more in the sauce. There was a hint of red pepper which would have been nice if it was a tiny bit stronger. The spicy hint was just nice and not overpowering, though.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?

I think that, at full price, they are a little on the expensive side, even for the quality of the ingredients, since I could make 2 full portions of similar food for the £4 they cost. They're great for convenience, though and we often pick up stuff like this at the M&S moto services for a quick and tasty meal after visiting family, some distance away. The full price puts me off buying them regularly, though.

Q6. If it came up in conversation, do you think you'd recommend any of the dishes you tried to your friends/family? If so, why? If not, why not?

I would probably encourage someone who could afford it to try them over traditional "diet" food, which is usually bland and not very filling.

sis Mon 28-May-12 12:34:48

I went to the M&S in Whitelys in London and did not find a single vegetarian item in the range so came away very disappointed. The main reason I wanted to be reviewer was to find filling and healthy vegetarian ready meals.

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