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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

R2PeePoo Fri 25-May-12 16:44:55

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 were about 10 different dishes. I grabbed the Keralan curry for DH immediately but I struggled to find something I fancied. I'm not a big fan of stews/hotpots or tomatoes which left me with the salmon and brocolli asian thing. It was difficult to work out which were the SFL and which were Count on us as they were quite mixed up and spread out over three shelves.

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 did DH's curry in the oven and the salmon thing in the microwave. I prefer to buy two dishes that go in the oven for around the same time. Or one meal in the oven or one in the microwave as two in the microwave means one is getting cold whilst the other is being cooked. The curry took slightly longer than the usual convenience oven meals but the salmon thing was about right.

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 immediately toasted a pitta bread when he saw the size of his curry but he did feel full afterwards and for some time later. I was not impressed when I saw mine either, the salmon piece was obviously quite small and thin. After eating it I did feel full but not as full as DH as I snacked later on 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?

DH said he was very impressed with the amount of chicken in his meal, nice chicken too. He mentioned that the samosa crust went soggy too quickly after coming out of the oven nice and crisp. He said it was well spiced in general but the cauliflower and potato could have done with being curried separately and then added in as they were quite floury and tasteless. But the cauli was nice and crisp rather than being soggy which meant he actually ate it. He said he would eat one again and it was nice to have a different type of curry.

I quite enjoyed mine,it wasn't completely to my taste but I liked the flavours. The broccoli came out of the microwave quite brown which was a little off-putting. It was very dark and small compared to the bright fresh brocolli florets I cooked at the same time for my children. It was quite chewy too. Mine felt more like a 'health food' than his did and I was quite envious of his meal.

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

I think if I was buying again I would try the Count on Us range instead as they were significantly cheaper and on offer at the time I was shopping. Four pounds is quite a lot and I guess I have been trained to think in terms of stretching my money as far as it could go (this would be why I am fat then). The Count on Us range also range had more interesting dishes as well. I think Dh's meal was worth it but I am not convinced mine was, the salmon was obviously tiny and thats the bit I think of as expensive.

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 suggest that they had a look and would tell them about the curry.

get0rfm0iland Fri 25-May-12 16:50:55

Just bought my two dishes - so marking place for when I have eaten them.

get0rfm0iland Fri 25-May-12 16:50:57

Just bought my two dishes - so marking place for when I have eaten them.

So, we started the test last night with dh saying, 'that was quite filling actually' in a kind of surprised manner half an hour after finishing it. I shall up date properly once he has eaten the pork and mash thing.

Nursee007 Fri 25-May-12 17:19:57

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 shopped in the Kew retail park M&S about lunchtime on a thursday and there was plenty of choice, and all the SFL range was together.....opposite the count on us range. Plenty to choose from (about 15 I think) and i wanted to get something we hadn't had before as both myself and DH have eaten from the range before. I got the spicy potato wedges with mexican beef for me and the steak and mushroom pie with luxury mash 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?
Put them both in the oven....could have put mine in the micro....very easy for both.

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?
His pie was very generous.....mine seemed to be more potato than beef....
we were both full enough to be satified.

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 mexican beef was really delicious....no problems with taste and flavour at all....DH enjoyed the pie and said the beef was very tender and the mushrooms very chunky which he liked, and the mash v creamy. He said the gravy lacked some flavour, but supposed thats what happens with lower fat option!
In the past DH has eaten the cod mornay and seafood linguine many times and always enjoys them....I've eaten both red and green thai chicken currys before, though this was prior to them being under the brand of SFL....I REALLY liked them before....since they've been in SFL, they've both become REALLY salty and I no longer like them.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I have always considered M&S food at the higher end of the market, so if compared to asda/co-op/lidl/icelands ready meals, then no, its pricey....however you get what you pay for....much more tasty and far superior. Always looks and tastes fresh.

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 definitly recommend the mexican beef and the steak and mushroom pie....its tasty, easy and something a bit different from your run of the mill convenience meals.

aftereight Fri 25-May-12 17:22:56

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?
I had to ask to find the range, but was shown straight to it. There was lots of choice (but no chilled ready to eat salad type meals, not sure why, as am sure I have had a giant cous cous one in the past?). The salmon mornay looked good, but I was very drawn to the spicy dishes, as they had much lower calorie count than regular curries etc, and were a bit unusual.

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? the middle eastern chicken was microwaveable, so very fast and convenient, but the keralan curry with spicy topping had to be cooked in the oven, which I didn't realise until I got it home. This may have put me off buying it had I noticed.

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 of both were good, and filling for both DH and I, although we don't usually eat huge portions anyway. I don't think it filled me up for longer than any other similar meal though.

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 middle eastern spiced chicken was very tasty and tasted much healthier than a normal ready meal. Portion size ok for lunch but maybe could be larger or a range of side dishes for dinner.
Keralan chicken curry was really well spiced and the filo topping was an interesting touch. It tasted really healthy and I really enjoyed it.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
Yes, definitely, healthy and balanced without any effort, and unusually for healthy ready meals, very very tasty!

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, as healthy and interesting ready meal option. Really good to have a variety of options, not just the usual ready meal staples.

PicChick Fri 25-May-12 18:10:58

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?
Had to ask where it was, quite a small section, 3 or 4 shelves with both SFL and another range mixed on them. There were about 6 choices on the shelves, not sure how many are in the range. The Chicken and Vegetable Hot Pot was on the eye level shelf so this caught my eye first. Once I had looked at the range the Keralan Chicken Curry and Smoky Mexican open Chicken Fajita looked good. I actually bought 4 dishes as they were reduced (out of date that day and it was late afternoon).

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 heated them all in the oven, all needed 25-35 mins at the same temperature, so that was a plus. Don't usually buy conveience meals but was impressed with the tasteof these and how they looked. Very easy to prepare, peel off film and 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? These were fine for me. Was interested to see what DH thought of the portion size, a farming background means he likes his plate FULL. However, he claimed he was full after eating and didn't eat anything extra on both nights we ate the SFL meals.

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?
Chicken and Veg Hot Pot - didn't like but don't usually like store bought hhot pots so not surprised. Potato topping was good which was a suprise,
Keralan Chicken Currywith Spicy Samosa Crust - lovely flavour, the samosa crust was good too. My favourite.
Creamy Chicken, Ham and veg angel hair pastry pie - good flavour in the filling, the angel hair pastry gave you a tase of pastrty without all the calories, a good idea.
Smokey Mexican open Chicken Fajita - DH liked this, good flavour, the tortilla wrap got very crusty around the top, I didn't like this bit.
The calorie count for each dish was in the high 300's, good for a meal where you feel full after eating.
Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I got them reduced so a bit better value, I do think it would be hard to justify £4 a meal in these times of recession as I have 7 mouths to feed (5 HUNGRY children). Ok for a treat every now and then.
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, if they needed a decent, healthy and slightly different ready meal, but not the Hot Pot, sorry.

I'm going to be posting three times as I bought three meals. One for DH, one for ds1 19 and one for ds2,16.
DS2 is the first to eat his meal.

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 Bromley store and there was a choice of over twenty meals. The meals that I thought looked the most filling grabbed my attention.
I bought ds2 Chicken in red wine sauce.

Answers below from ds2

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 heated this meal using the microwave, as this was the recommended heating method. Although I do no regularly eat convenience meals, I found that this was quite similar in terms of quality to ones that I have had before, so they did not seem to me to be anything too special.

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 personally found the portion size a bit too small, especially disappointing was the amound of meat. I do not feel full.

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 meal tasted good, howeveer was not anything too special. It tasted slightly too salty however,which is no surprising due to the salt content. Besides from the higher salt content that I expected, the other nutritional values are quite impressive and would be great for anyone who wants a light meal or anyone who is dieting.

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

At £3.99, I would consider the meal quite good value, and the amount is reasonable for the price. Also, in comparison to other convinience meals I've seen in shops this one was better for price and did look much more satisfying.

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?

Probably not, I think it would be more suitable for a single person; not the kind of meal where the family could each have one.

NornIrishNut Fri 25-May-12 19:34:06

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?

As I am not sure what the complete range is like, in our local store there was about 10-12 dishes to choose from, catering for a variety of tastes. The dishes I get attracted to are the ones that are visibly attractive in terms of splitting out veg, meat and carbon such as that red curry. Not so keen on the hotpot type ones that look quite blad and 'brown'. I chose that red curry for DH and beef stroganoff for myself.

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 the that red curry and oven for the stroganoff. The only prep/storage I was disappointed with was the fact that a large proportion of the dishes couldn't be frozen. Microwaving the that red curry was in 3mins, really quick and therefore convenient. The ovenmethod took much longer and didn't really add to the taste - I would microwave in future unless buying the one with the crispy top. Compared to other quick meals, I noticed and was impressed that you didn't have to stir halfway or leave to stand!

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 size was okay for me, but not for DH. It was more like a healthy lunch portion 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?

We both tried the dishes and thought they were both tasty, but the that red curry could do with a bit more flavour and spice - too much taste of fish sauce, but much better than other brands of that red curry. The stroganoff we couldn't fault, it was really tasty for us. They are for us much better than other brands of the same dish, especially with the side portion of veg.

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

I am not sure £4 per dish is good value.....would probably only spend that once in a while. It isn't an everyday item for me, more luxury.

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 if they were looking for something quick, tasty and healthy.but not for everyday food.

Bonkerz Fri 25-May-12 19:38:43

Bought three meals this week so will be back to feedback when I've eaten the last one !

AceOfBase Fri 25-May-12 19:53:21

Q:1 there was about 15 dishes which all in principle sounded tasty but most had mushrooms in which dh are allergic to. Dh had red curry and I had seafood linguine
Q2: we microwaved them and they were fairly quick.
Q 3: the portions were small. Dh ate half a loaf with his and even I (who usually eat about as much as my 4 yr old) was still hungry.
Q 4: they were very tasty though dh thought the red curry could do with more sauce and we did think they were quite healthy.
Q 5: no. If we had been fuller for longer then I would have but we weren't actually full at all.
Q 6: no. I just don't think they were good enough value or big enough for me to recommend them.

cleanandclothed Fri 25-May-12 19:59:12

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?

Plenty to choose from although I don't think I saw any vegetarian ones. Enough for me to find a couple of things I would like (veggie or fish) and plenty for DH, but might run out of choices after 4 or so I think. The curries grbbed my attention 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?

Oven for both (steak and mushroom pie and seafood linguine). Would probably normally choose microwave things (the linguine could be heated in the microwave) but not a major factor in the choice. No comment on ease of preparation - it is a ready meal - none of them are difficult!

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 me was fine (am size 8/10, pregnant and starving) DH could have eaten more (he is v tall, medium build) -have just eaten so may have to comment later on the full feeling.

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 liked mine very much. In terms of a healthy option - I tend to like and choose healthy food anyway so it wasn't radically different from what I may normally have when I have a ready meal (which is v rarely). DH liked his but didn't think it was anything particularly special.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why? I think they are on the expensive side. Maybe I might treat myself if it was a meal that DH wasn't eating with me, but I would very rarely buy two at that price. If it was 2 for £6-7 I might.

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 probably would mine, not sure DH would, as he didn't think it stood out from other ready meals (perhaps I should have bought him a curry - more chance to make a difference there).

Q1.

There was plenty to choose from - I like curries for conveniance and esp in summer I didn't fancy the stodgier looking meat/veg but the thai curries I was interested in until picking them up and they looked a little dull in terms of veg content. I went for the paella and the salmon with edamame beans.

Q2.

Microwaved - easy and quick - prefer this method - just as easy as others and very quick.

Q3.

My paella was fine in terms of portion - didn't feel over full or find the portion was filled with unnecessary carbs. DH felt salmon was very satisfactory and did feel full afterwards.

Q4.

DH's salmon dish felt very healthy and very flavoursome "very impressed" - it also felt genuinely authentic japanese which is hard to obtain so would definitely have again. My paella was lovely - good range of flavours and textures and not stingy on chicken/ v.yummy chorizo/ prawns. Again complex flavours and very satisfying.

I liked them as they were fairly different to what I'd normally have bought as a ready meal, normally go for curries. They were healthy from reading the label but didn't feel punitive!

Q5.

They were both in the 4 pound range - reasonable I think for good quality food.

Q6.

Definitely both would

Thank you for the opportunity as they say in the apprentice wink

unhingedbeck Fri 25-May-12 21:02:24

Q1.

In my local store - Harpenden, there were about 10 options, which from reading other replies, seems to be quite a limited amount of the range. I felt this too, as most of them were Asian inspired, the only more typical English dish was cod mornay. No sign of the pie mentioned above which I would have definitely gone for. As choice was limited the Red Thai Curry grabbed my attention as DH really likes that and I also chose Asian style hot and sour chicken noodles as I like noodle dishes.

Q2.

I microwaved both as the noodles could only be microwaved and the curry said "for best results microwave". They were very quick and easy to do, although we did cook them a bit longer than stated as they did not seem quite hot enough after the suggested 3 minutes. We don't buy many convenience meals but they were as quick and easy to prepare as any others I have bought.

Q3.

I thought the portion size was a bit on the small size, DH thought it was just a snack and started looking around for bread to go with it! I was full enough after eating though, but DH said he wasn't.

Q4.

We were disappointed with the taste and flavour of both dishes. The Asian chicken noodles had much more sauce than it looked from the picture on the packaging and it was not a great flavour, but overpowered all the other food in the meal. In contrast the Thai Red Curry had too little sauce and lacked in spice and flavour. Both DH and I felt they were quite bland over all. They could definitely be improved.

Q5.

No I don't think they are good value for money. If they tasted better then maybe, but for small portions of bland food, £3.99 seems expensive. I don't think they compare to Taste the Difference ready meals or Waitrose and are probably similarly priced.

Q6.

No, I think there are better convenience ready meals.

AshieFan Fri 25-May-12 21:03:13

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 bought the SFL dishes from the Birmingham store ( I usually buy from the harborne store which doesn't have a lot of choice). There was a lot of variety. The ones that grabbed my attention were the spicy meals. I've had the SFL range before so I thought I would try the Chicken Tikka Masala with Rice and I went for the tried before (by me) Red Curry for DH. Upthread I have read about the Smokey Mexican open Chicken Fajita which I have not seen before and which sounds delicious - I wish it had been at the Birmingham store!

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?

They were very easy to heat up in the microwave. If I am buying a ready meal I tend to go for something that can be heated up by microwave - not always but mostly.

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 quite big for me and I did not eat all of it. I felt full afterwards. Portion size for DH was good - he ate all of it (apart from the baby sweetcorn which he does not like!) and felt full and didn't need to snack as quickly as he normally does with other ready meals.

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 red curry got thumbs up for taste and looks. I did not enjoy the taste of the Chicken Tikka Masala - there was a bitterness to it that was quite unpleasant. I don't think it was the chicken part that had the bitterness - it was the rice part. Also, the rice felt a bit wet. It was such a shame because other products within the SFL have been delicious.

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

I think the range is a little on the pricey side, even within M & S, so I buy it infrequently even though I like to eat from the range.

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 definitely recommend the Red Curry because it is always consistently delicious and filling. I would not recommend the Tikka Masala because of the unpleasant bitterness and the wetness of the rice.

aristocat Fri 25-May-12 21:09:34

Will report back when have eaten the dishes

lorisparkle Fri 25-May-12 21:20:59

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 in a rush on the way home from work and found the range quickly. Did not have time to really look at range but the Thai curries looked nice.

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?

Bought both the red and green Thai curry and heated them up in the microwave. Presumed they would be able to microwaved as we needed tea in a hurry! Very easy to prepare and heat. Rarely buy convenience meals but these seemed easier than usual.

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 had not had much to eat all day and found my portion (Thai red curry) a little small and ate some of DSs tea! DH found his was fine but still snacked later (could be a naughty habit though!)

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 really enjoyed mine and thought that out of the veg the mange tout were lovely. DH thought that his sauce was a bit watery but we both enjoyed the meals

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

We only buy convenience meal as a special deal so in comparison thought that the meal was very expensive but they were good quality in comparison to other convenience meals we have had.

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?

Although I would say they tasted lovely I would say that they are expensive

jackandbethsmum Fri 25-May-12 22:07:05

Q1. Plenty of availability (DH got them in Uxbridge) - 15 or so to choose from. He said the Paella, Chicken in Red Wine Sauce and Middle Eastern Spiced Chicken grabbed his attention.

Q2. Microwaved them - nice and easy with no stirring half way through. As others have said, the dishes could have been a little hotter - needed another 30 secs. We chose Paella (reduced )to £3, Middle Eastern Spiced Chicken and Thai Green Chicken Curry.

Q3. We both found the portion sizes to be quite good (not as small as many you can buy). To be honest, we ate quite late so not sure if we felt fuller for longer.

Q4. I loved the Middle Eastern Spiced Chicken - lots of distinct and different flavours - mint, coriander etc. I personally tend to go for lower calorie ready meals with under 5 grams of fat. DH thought the Paella was very tasty and filling, ingredients seemed fresh and tasty. He also had (the next night) the Green chicken curry which he thought was tasty, but didn't think it was as good as the other 2 and could have done with more sauce.

Q5. We both thought whilst very nice, they were too expensive - £8 for a couple to eat is too much. We are more likely to spend more if it is like a takeaway with a few dishes to share.

Q6. We think we would recommend them - maybe to wealthy or single friends!!grin

Mainly marking place but... went into Worcester store to purchase and left empty handed. Had problems locating the range. I think I found it all in one place. Very limited selection so decided to cut my losses and go to Birmingham store when I am in work next week.

Received my vouchers earlier this week but am unable to get to a M&S until tomorrow so will post my responses next week when we have eaten our meals.

caramac4 Fri 25-May-12 22:23:00

Only received my vouchers yesterday (24th May) will be purchasing my meals during next couple of days. Will feedback soon.

MsGee Fri 25-May-12 22:31:34

I haven't received my vouchers. Got the email saying they were posted last week but nothing has arrived.

duchesse Fri 25-May-12 22:50:46

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?
I visited the store in Exe Bridges at lunchtime. It took me about 5mn to locate the range. It was housed in a section of shelf about 1m long x5 shelves high. The salmon and beans/ black rice grabbed my attention most- it looked freshest and healthiest, but I had a look at all the other available ones as well.

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 microwave. The salmon is not cooked so it's a question of actually cooking it from raw rather than heating up. They were all microwaveable afaik so the cooking method made no impact on my decision about which to buy. Don't buy convenience meals usually so nothing to compare with. I can see that they are 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?

I found mine fine, in fact I struggled to finish it, not because I didn't like but because I did feel quite full quite quickly. DH on the other hand said "the chicken was nice and tender, but the meal could have done with more sauce. And more rice, and more lentils" ie more food.

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 thought the meal tasted good- not too salty, nice balance of flavours, but not sure about the fact that you are microwaving broccoli- it didn't look too good after 4mn in the microwave, and the beans looked a little dried out. I suspect you are going to struggle with making sure that fresh vegetables end up still looking and tasting good after being conditioned and microwaved. My impression of ready meals was that they have a lot of flavour enhancers and little substance, so these would be an improvement, yes.

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

Frankly, I would not pay 3.99 for a small piece of salmon and a sprinkling of vegetables. But that is because I'm a total skinflint. I guess that what people are actually paying for is the convenience. Convenience has a different price for every person. I might buy these and feel they are good value every once in a while but I wouldn't routinely buy them as that would be a very expensive 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?

If it ever came up in conversation I might suggest them as a quick way of grabbing an evening meal.

Am I the only person to have seen this in active convos and thought it was a range of clothes for the overweight or tall population...

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.

Jodunne Mon 28-May-12 13:02:48

Q1 - There were about 10-12 dishes and I bought 3. The Chinese type dishes grabbed my attention as I suppose they were at my eye level - I bought Chicken in a smoky tomato sauce, Scottish Lochmuir salmon with soy and ginger and Chicken and oriental vegetables.

Q2 - Used the oven to heat all 3 dishes which were all easy to prepare with clear instructions, cooking times were 20 minutes for 2 and 25 minutes for the last one. Don't usually buy a lot of convenience food.

Q3 - Pleased with portion sizes and husband and kids felt full afterwards

Q4 - flavour and taste was fine. Liked the Chinese dish the best. Would have liked a bigger portion of salmon in the salmon dish and there was plenty of chicken in the chicken dish. Not sure if they were as healthy as M&S liked to make as salt content was 38% in one dish. I would try them again though.

Q5 - found them average value for money as you didn't need to add to the dishes so £3.99 was the price for an entire main course meal.

Q6 - not sure if I would recommend as I was a little concerned with the high salt content in all 3 of the dishes.

I wasn't part of the MN trail, but I eat the M&S Fuller Longer meals regularly. I think they are the best read meals ever made!! Really I do.

I often eat them for lunch at work. I'm watching my weight (lost 8 kilos in as many weeks) and I love the fact that they provide me with a hot tasty alternative to salads etc, for around 400 calories. They are substantial and get me through to dinner (I might have a fruit snack). They certainly don't feel in any way like 'diet food'.

My favs are the Katsu Curry, the Ragu, the Meatballs, the Mexican chilli & wedges and the Wholefoods one. I've tried the FL flatbread sandwich too which was also yummy.

Keep it up M&S - I'm off to buy one now.

£3 would be a perfect price for me. When they ran a special offer on them a few months ago (2 for £6), lots of people in our office were buying them.

Right, here goes...

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 lots of choice in the (very large out of town) M&S store I visited. The Cod dish grabbed my attention immediately due to the fact it was on the eye-level shelf. But it did not appeal to me. However, dh and I soon found it difficult to make a selection so we chose the Chunky Chilli and rice, the Pasta and Meatballs and the Keralan Chicken Curry with a samosa crust. (We also ended up buying clothes for dd so we are a promoter's dream)

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 decided to eat the Chunky Chilli and the Keralan Curry last night. We ovenbaked them as we do not have a microwave (by choice).
Both meals baked well and in the recommended amount of time but both plastic dishes suffered from some melting and became mis-shapen.
This worried me slightly and I would probably decant them into oven-dishes next time.

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 am on a diet and watching portion size and found it fine. I did get the slight 'munchies' 4 hours later but was not hungry. It was probably more a habitual hunger...
Dh wanted some pitta bread with his meal to bulk it out as the portion size looked small to him and he was hungry again 3 hours later, rooting around the kitchen for a 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?

The taste of both dishes was wonderful. It did not feel / taste like a 'diet' meal at all. In fact dh and both said that the dishes were 'repeatable' which is what we say when we like something and would consider having it again.
We don't normally eat ready meals although I have been eating Young's fish pies as the calorie content of those fits within my diet. I much prefer the taste / selection / portion size of the Simply Fuller range.

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

I think with the dishes in the £4 price range they are slightly on the expensive side. I would not buy them often but whilst I am on my diet I may indulgew every now and then.

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 any of my friends were interested in a ready meal whilst watching their calorie intake I would definately recommend the dishes we have tried. We thoroughly enjoyed them and in my case did certainly keep me fuller for longer.

I am having the final dish (pasta and meatballs) tonight. Will report on that one tomorrow.

Thank you for letting me take part in the trial.

BonfireBaby Mon 28-May-12 13:40:30

I tried the Harissa chicken & couscous salad for lunch today. There was a reasonable choice in the salad section although they were mixed up with Count on Us salads and the superfoods ones too.
No prep was required which I suppose did impact my decision as I wanted something that I could eat as soon as I got back to work and also something cold and healthy in this weather.
The portion size was just right. It didn't look that big on the pack but I felt full afterwards. It could have done with more of the yoghurt dressing as it was just a tiny amount in the corner of the tub.
The taste was very nice though I would have preferred the chicken to have tasted more like the M&S chargrilled chicken in some of the other salads as that is lovely. The dressing was really nice, just required more of it! I liked the couscous and mixed pulses salad, nice taste and texture. Felt healthy eating it!
I am still craving something sweet after eating this salad, though, so it hasn't made me completely full.
I'd say ok value for money. £3 felt a bit expensive as there wasn't a massive amount of chicken in there but on the other hand, if I do feel full all afternoon then it'll save me money spent on snacks later.
Yes, I would recommend but I do think £2.50 would be a more reasonable price.

JParkson Mon 28-May-12 13:51:51

We used our voucher on Friday night, and this is what DH and I thought of the meals:

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 our local M&S but I confess for such a large store, I had difficulty finding the range to begin with - it was buried at the back of the chilled section, on the end of a gondola. Once I found them, it was easy to ponder, as they had all the same range together. There was a good selection to choose from, (almost too large!) and I dithered a lot before picking Beef Meatballs with Spaghetti for DH and Chicken and Three Mushroom Tagliatelle for me. I fancied some of the Asian meals particularly but a lot of them had prawns in, which I can't stand, so I opted for the chicken.

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 heated up both the meals in the microwave, one at a time. I think mine could have done with 30 secs to a minute longer, but otherwise they were well heated. I don't normally eat convenience food, but when I do, I prefer to oven bake them. However the packaging recommended microwaving, so I stuck with that. (Plus I was hungry!) I don't know if 'impressed' is the right term to use; they didn't seem to take longer than other convenience meals to prepare, if anything they seemed to need less time, which isn't a bad thing.

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 was worried about the portion size as I have a very good appetite... I eat with my eyes as much with my stomach! DH was very happy with the portion size. As for "feeling fuller for longer", that definitely worked! I usually graze in the evenings, but after the meal, DH and I enjoyed an M&S Walnut Whip each, and that was both of us settled for 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?

Both DH and I really enjoyed our meals, and DH has suggested that we consider having them again, maybe on a monthly basis as a treat. I am happy with this, as I don't eat a lot of pre-prepared food due to the diet I follow. But these meals have a good rating on the plan I use! (A well known diet that uses syns rather than points...) On this basis, yes, I consider this range of meals to be healthier alternatives to other convenience options.

Flavour-wise, both DH and I were happy with the meals. The only niggle I found was with the chicken: I am usually quite fussy with my chicken, and I did get a gristley/chewy bit in my meal, but I've come to expect that with convenience meals, so I wasn't too surprised.

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

Yes, I was very impressed with the cost of the meals. I was expecting them to be more, but I was pleasantly surprised to have change left over from the voucher (I bought a few meals for the children, which normally I wouldn't be able to afford to do)

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, as much for the way they fit with my diet as for the fact they are nice! When I attend my diet group, we always discuss handy hints and tips to get the most out of our plans for the week, and these meals would be really good, as much for the 'fuller for longer' thing as well as the low impact on the syn values.

TFIT Mon 28-May-12 13:59:01

My tuppence worth
Q1. I could only see 6 dishes but then I found a salady one with the cold stuff.
There wasn't anything massively appealing to me though at least there were a bit different from the lasagne/moussaka type choices. I didn't feel the packaging distinguished them from the other convenience stuff that clearly.

Q2.I chose thai chicken curry and chicken tikka masala and me and DH shared them. I did them by micro as suggested. Was quick and easy but no insrtuctions for doing multiple packs at once other than increase time.

Q3. We were both full after what didn't look like a massive portion so yes the protein & fibre obviously played a part.

Q4. Neither of us was very impressed on taste. I thought both had a slight bitter aftertaste. i think that on the odd ocassion we have food like this we would probaly choose creamier options. I don't think I would buy them again despite the filling nature as the curries were neither spicy or tasty enough, sorry!

Q5. £3.99 each about average I suppose but not very good value when you consider how much of the meal is made up of rice/lentils/peas all v low cost foods. I get the dine in for £10 sometimes and I think that represents far better value as quite often you can get 4 portions out of it!

Q6. I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend as the taste was disappointing but I might discuss them in terms of the balance of food in the meal if someone was watching their weight.

Thanks for the opportunity to take part.

Cammelia Mon 28-May-12 14:01:16

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 good availability in my local M&S with enough to choose from. The dishes that grabbed my attention immediately were the ones that were reduced in price! Because of the price reduction I was able to buy 3 with my voucher.

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 have so far eaten the Cod mornay, heated up in the microwave. Preparation method did not influence my choice. In terms of easiness to prepare, very similar to other convenience foods.

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: good (ie enough). I did feel full afterwards. My Dh did not have any - this was a one-person portion.

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 taste of the Cod mornay was a little "school dinners" but possibly because of the mashed potato? The fish was good quality and tasted nice. In terms of health, this was a fairly balanced meal with peas and beans (maybe a little too much mashed potato). Compares averagely with other ready meal options.

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

I don't think the meal represented good value for money at full price (£4.99). The reduced price was probably nearer the mark (£3)

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 wouldn't recommend Cod mornay to friends or family as the dish could be made easily at home.

Ingles2 Mon 28-May-12 14:33:24

Just wanted to say I only got my voucher on Friday, and I haven't had a chance to get to M&S yet, but will do asap..

littlemonkeymum Mon 28-May-12 14:51:25

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?
Was surprised at the range of meals on display this time, there were loads I fancied trying though not so keen on trying the hotpot/pie meals due to personal taste. I ended up getting the katsu curry and Thai red 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?
Used microwave for both for convenience as sometimes work particularly late and need to eat soon after I get in. Very easy and quick to prepare, nothing complicated.
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 for lunchtime meal would be ideal; as main evening meals after a long day I still felt a bit hungry later on really.
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?
Thai red curry was great, the vegetables microwaved surprisingly well and it was really tasty. The chicken katsu curry was nice but less memorable, though loved the inclusion of edamame beans
Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
These meals seem good value when they are on offer (2 for £6 I think?) but less so at £4 for one evening meal which alone may not entirely fill me up. As a lunchtime meal they are ideal when on offer
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 if on offer as they are good quality, tasty convenience meals and I haven't yet been disappointed by any of the range. They are good if keeping an eye on calorie consumption

nowherenearasposhasisound Mon 28-May-12 14:51:37

I went to the store in the centre of Preston, Lancashire (there is another M&S outside of the town centre but it has a smaller food selection). I chose three dishes. The Keralan chicken curry with spiced samosa crust, the seafood linguine and the chicken and three mushroom tagliatelle.

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 found the dishes quite quickly, they were grouped together on the second aisle I walked down. They were between two other ranges, one of which was the Count on Us range and although I don’t think the Simply Fuller Longer range is a ‘diet’ range it made sense to be in the same sort of area as calorie controlled meals. There were about 15 meals to choose from and I was immediately attracted to the linguine as I love seafood. There were quite a few dishes I was overly excited about but that’s really a personal preference thing as I don’t tend to eat much red meat. I was also trying to think about what my partner would like to try and that was part of the reason for picking up the curry dish. I think there were enough to choose from for a first outing but if I was a regular buyer and wanted something different I think I’d get bored pretty quickly with the range on offer.

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?

The Keralan chicken curry with spiced samosa crust was cooked in the oven (there was no other choice on the packaging). That was fine as I often cook something in the oven as I prepare veg/cook something else in the microwave. The seafood linguine and the chicken and three mushroom tagliatelle were both cooked in the microwave (both could be cooked in the oven). The instructions were simple, easy to follow and all the meals were very simple to cook. I’d say there were as easy as any other convenience meal I’ve had. I wasn’t particularly concerned when I was choosing the dishes about the preparation method or time to cook – for me eating convenience meals isn’t about speed but about cutting out prep time when I’m tired or can’t be bothered.

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 was surprised about the amount of food contained in the dishes – especially the pasta ones – there was a lot of food. The curry was a smaller portion and DH said he’d want rice with it (as it was he had some of the pasta). We both tend to snack after an evening meal and we were both genuinely surprised that after eating these meals we didn’t want to. I ate the mushroom pasta one on my own for lunch and struggled to finish the portion (not normally a problem for me!).

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 Keralan chicken curry with spiced samosa crust – lovely subtle spicy taste, samosa crust was soggy and very odd with the curry, kind of like soggy pasta on a pie! The chicken was plentiful but a bit on the dry side. The potato and cauliflower were welcome additions but certain chunks were undercooked and others mushy. It was fairly low calorie (320) but it didn’t taste like some horrible low fat/dieting meal.

The seafood linguine – very tasty with lovely tomato taste and evidence of plenty of fresh tomatoes. The seafood part was (as with all ready meals) sadly lacking – the odd prawn, a laughable teeny scallop or two and a fair amount of salmon. What I could taste was ok, bit chewy but the nice silky pasta made up for it.

The chicken and three mushroom tagliatelle – when I got this home and more closely read the label I was a bit worried as it said it had marsala in and that can often overwhelm the other flavours in a dish. I needn’t have worried, the flavours of mushroom, spinach and the sauce were well balanced, the chicken was in large chunks and fairly moist but didn’t taste of much. This was probably my favourite dish because it was simple and filling, very easy eating.

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

I got one of the dishes on special offer (£3) and was very pleased with that. In general I didn’t object paying £3.99 for the other dishes but I thought the seafood dish was a bit mean for that price. I thought the pricing was comparable to other M&S and nice supermarket ready meals.

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 might recommend the chicken pasta but nothing blew me away so I’m not likely to go shouting from the rooftops about the range.

reluctantironer Mon 28-May-12 15:24:46

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?

I found them easily in my local store and yes, there was a choice of ten or so meals. I liked the look of the salmon with soy/ginger and black rice for me (as it looked healthy) and thai green curry for DH (as he's partial to a 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 heated both meals up in the microwave
I don't usually buy 'convenience' meals but they were 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?

The salmon dish was about the right size for me and I did feel full afterwards.
My DH thought his thai curry looked small but did feel 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?

I enjoyed the salmon dish - the flavours were good - DH had some too and liked it.
My DH didn't enjoy his green thai curry as much - the chicken was too soft, the rice was 'waterlogged' and it was all a bit bland - I tried a bit too and did agree with him

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

I think they are on the expensive side - for the price, I would have expected them to 'wow' me -

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 don't think I would recommend them - although they are nutrionally well-balanced and the salmon dish was ok - they seemed expensive for what they were - despite their convenience, I'd prefer to cook similar from scratch. However, I will continue to buy your excellent 'Dine in for £10' deals - excellent value!

Squigglywiggly Mon 28-May-12 15:26:10

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 lots of choice of the SFL range at our West Bridgford store. My husband and I were initially drawn to the curries, Mexican and noodle type dishes as were a little different to what we regularly have at home. We were less keen on the more traditional English meals e.g. chicken and vegetable hot pot, as perhaps unfairly we perceive them as being soggy when heated.

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?

Normally when we rarely choose to buy a ready meal we would go for a microwave meal as lack of time is probably the main reason behind it being bought. Therefore the meals that we chose, the red Thai chicken curry and chicken katsu curry, were microwavable. Saying that when we moved into our present property we did not have a microwave for a while – so the option of both is a good plan.

The meals were simple and easy to prepare and took hardly any time – which I believe is important for convenience food. There was however, as with all ready meals, quite a lot of plastic packaging, which is one reason we don’t have ready meals regularly.



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? 


For myself, the portion size was ideal and I felt full afterwards. My husband unfortunately had to have a toast snack as he felt it was too small and didn’t quite feel full 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? 



With regards to taste, the meals were very tasty and we both felt that the ingredients were fresh and well balanced with respect to vegetable content. They definitely appeared to be a healthier alternative to other ready meal options.

The red thai chicken curry was good, but probably could do with more sauce. We were most impressed with the Katsu curry, which was really tasty and would be the one I would get in future.

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



I felt the meals were good value as there were lots of quality ingredients present.

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 family or friends were buying convenience food I would consider recommending the SFL range, especially the Katsu curry! This is because it is tasty and enjoyable.

notapizzaeater Mon 28-May-12 16:50:19

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?

Hard to spot what wa sin the range as on an end with the count on us range, so really had to look. Also count on us was on offer so more eye catching. Beef Bourguignon grabbed my eye.

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?

Beef bourguignon and the pork loin, cabbage and mash. Oven cooked both as if I'd microwaved them one would have been cold by the time I'd served. I took them out of the dishes to plate up and they looked much smaller. I added some potatoes and I was quite glad I did as we would have still been hungry. Occasionally but convenience foods and probably would again.


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 not enough, needed padding out. DH had munchies later, I was OK.

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 pork loin and cabbage tasted lovely, the beef was salty (this from DH who adds salt to everything - grr) I probably wouldnt tip them out of the dishes onto a plate as they didnt look like enough, perhaps if we had had them in the bowls we might have been "fuller"

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

No £4 each is actually quite expensive, for the 2 of us I could feed us very
well for £8 ....

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 if they ate conv food

yummumummy Mon 28-May-12 16:50:51

I went SFL shopping over the weekend and my commenst are as below:

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 shopped in the Kew retail park M&S on Saturday morning and there was plenty of choice, and all the SFL range was together.....opposite the count on us range. There was enough to choose from (about 20 dishes I think) and I wanted to get something we hadn't had before as we have eaten from the range before. I got the thai curries (both red and green) as we both love thai food.

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?

Put both the curries in the microwave - very simple and easy when you've just put the kids to bed and want to get on with the dinner quite quickly.

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 were just right for me but it was a bit smalll for DH. He was looking for things to snack on after an hour of the meal. He thought he could eat atleast another half a portion of the same.

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?

Both me and DH really liked the curries. We love Thai food and thai curries are often loaded with calories. This, however, didnt feel unhealthy at all that was the best thing about the meal. The taste and flavour were very authentic; the veggies were very fresh and beautifully cooked and I certainly think the curries were healthy alternative to a thai take away / ready meals elsewhere.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I have always considered M&S food at the higher end of the market, so if compared to asda / tescos and evern sainsburys ready meals, then no, its pricey....however you get what you pay for....much more tasty and far superior. Always looks and tastes fresh.

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 definitly recommend the thai curries - its tasty and very easy to put together and enjoy at the end of a long day.

PutOnAHappyFace Mon 28-May-12 17:16:42

We had Ham hock and paella

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?

It was quite hard to find and there was 7-8 different meals but do think most of the meals where appealing.

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 done the ham in microwave and paella in the oven.

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 are exactly right, i felt full afterwards. DP said he felt full afterwards but would only have one for lunch.

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 thought both the meals were really nice and tasty and seemed fresher then any other ready meal. we was very impressed.

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

£4 did seem a bit much as they DP would only have it for lunch as he didnt think it filled him for long enough.

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 because they were much nicer then any other ready meal.

Dh has just read the message I typed and reminded me that the keralan curry did not come in a plastic dish but in a tinfoil one. (he did the cooking last night, I saw 'my' dish (the chilli) and assumed both had been in plastic)

Dh wants to ask why not all dishes can be done in tinfoil? Is it because they would not be microwavable?
Shame because the plastic dishes don't seem to be ovenbakable...

FullBeam Mon 28-May-12 18:39:39

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?

Even though it wasn't a massive M&S, there was still a good range of meals including pasta, curries, fish dishes and stews.

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?

The Keralan chicken was cooked in the oven (in tinfoil), it was easy and quick to heart.

The Chicken Tikka was microwaved in a very speedy 4 minutes. Very easy.

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 was impressed by the portion size, they were quite large and I did feel full afterwards. DH thought the portion size was good too.

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 thought both dishes were tasty and I would try them again.

The Keralan chicken was just spicy enough with a fresh taste. I liked the samoza topping which was unusual.

The chicken tikka has a good amount of sauce and I enjoyed the lentils which gave it more 'bite'.

I did think that they felt like healthy meals.

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

Compared to other ready meals, they were pretty good value, but not cheap.

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?

Possibly yes, I enjoyed both meals and they were filling and tasty.

aramo Mon 28-May-12 18:41:53

Q1. At the back corner of the store, I knew where to look as I have bought from them before. Good range but not much 'exciting' food but home comfort food.
Q2. Where possible I always use the oven, but if i particularly want to try something micro well i will give it a shot. Food was very simple to prepare. Pop in oven and eat!
Q3. With the SFL range, when you first look at it they do seem small, but once prepared on the plate, they are an ideal size and if eaten correctly and not just gulped down they really do satisfy you for longer.
Q4 The meals had a general theme of homely food, fine in the winter months but I would have prepared more exotic, spicy dishes a little bit different and how about some cold dishes too then we could take them on the go, picnics, parks etc.
Q5 Yes and no, if I was just buying for me and a partner fine, but as we are a family of 6 and I like to cook us all the same (if something is good enough for me it is good enough for my children - why should they eat junk) over £20.00 for an evening meal I would sooner pay a take-out (no cooking or cleaning involved for me) The dishes are much better than the Count on Us range - which do taste as though they are severely lacking in - taste!!!
Q6 Yes to a couple but certainly not to a family

Thanks for the trial

picc Mon 28-May-12 19:45:14

only got voucher on Friday, and won't get a chance to get to M&S til later in the week, but will feecback then :-)

Cammelia Mon 28-May-12 19:47:09

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 good availability in my local M&S with enough to choose from. The dishes that grabbed my attention immediately were the ones that were reduced in price! Because of the price reduction I was able to buy 3 with my voucher.

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 have now eaten the Thai green chicken curry, heated up in the microwave. Preparation method did not influence my choice. In terms of easiness to prepare, very similar to other convenience foods.

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: good (ie enough). I did feel full afterwards. My Dh did not have any - this was a one-person portion.

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 taste of the Thai green chicken curry was very bland, even given that Thai curry is not as spicy as Indian curry. However, the chicken and rice were better quality than most ready-prepared curry dishes. More flavour, please. Fairly healthy option as it contained some fresh red pepper and just the right amount of rice.

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

I don't think the meal represented good value for money at full price (£4.99). The reduced price was probably nearer the mark (£3)

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 wouldn't recommend Thai green chicken curry to friends or family as there are other brands which have more flavour than this M&S version.

lostinpants Mon 28-May-12 20:03:10

1. Not easy to find, difficult to distinguish different ranges in chiller.
Interesting selection offered though when I found them.

2. Oven cooked the Keralan chicken and microwaved the Hoisin duck noodles. Pretty much the same as other ready meal ranges.

3. I was borderline full, had a yogurt afterwards. DP was not full he was disappointed in the size and could eat more.

4. Both dishes were interesting but too bland and the "samosa crust' looked revolting coming out of the oven, was soggy and a bit weird with the curry - which needed more sauce. Lots of duck in the noodle one but somehow overall disappointing, needed a kick of something. I feel they are trying to be authentic and different but don't go far enough - too safe. Didn't feel particularly healthy - had lots of salt and the curry more fat, you can choose relatively healthy options from lots of other ranges.

5. Value for money - no. I can cook a great healthy, filling meal for 4 for the £8 it cost for the 2, the Dine in for £10 is a much better deal. Other supermarkets do comparable dishes. For a family dinner for 4 it would cost £16 - way too expensive. This is better marketed at time poor singles or couples.

6. Might recommend but not to families. Not sure who the range is aimed at.

maxmissie Mon 28-May-12 20:58:05

We had beef stroganoff and red thai chicken curry from the Nottingham store.

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?

Took me a while to find the range as I don't normally buy ready meals or shop for food in M&S and they do so many 'ready meal' ranges I had to go along a few aisles to find them. There were about 8-10 different dishes to choose from which I thought was a pretty good choice, considering the number of different 'ready meal' ranges M&S appear to do. There was several left of each dish. Pretty much the types of food I like, home cooked type food rather than things you wouldn't normally try at home. The ones i bought were the ones that grabbed my attention when I first looked at what dishes were available.

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?

Microwaved both dishes as the pack said this was the best way to cook them and we wanted to eat quickly. Don't regularly buy 'ready meals' but there were pretty quick and easy to cook compared to ones I've bought in the past. They weren't too messy nor was there any danger of the food slopping out of the containers.

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 a bit smaller than DH or I would normally eat, especially for DH but on the other hand I felt full afterwards so I probably eat meals that are too large for me! DH didn't complain of being hungry still and has gone off rock climbing so will see when he gets back if they lasted him or not.

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 curry more than the stroganoff, it wasn't too spicy and was very flavoursome and had plenty of chicken in it. The stroganoff just didn't taste as good as other ones I've had in the past, whereas the curry was as nice as other red curries I've had before. The veg was lovely in both meals, tasted close to being fresh and was crunchy and not soggy. Both meals appeared as 'healthy alternatives' to alot of other 'ready meal' options that I've tried or looked at in the past. They didn't appear to be full of fatty ingredients nor did they taste to fatty or salty.

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

Just about good value, especially as they looked nice and healthy in the packaging and you can see how much is in each dish, compared with some others where the box and/or tray are quite large and the meal is disappointingly small and looks nothing like the picture on the box when opened. As I don't normally buy 'ready meals' I don't think these meals will convert me to buying more but I know where to look if I want something that looks and tastes healthy.

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 probably would, as a decent alternative to a lot of the other 'ready meals' I have looked at or tried before.

MyLifeIsStillChaotic Mon 28-May-12 21:07:47

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 thought there were a lot of dishes to choose from. In all honesty, none of them grabbed my attention immediately and I stood for ages trying to decide what to get.

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 tried the open chicken fajita dish and cooked it in the oven. I wanted to get dh and I a dish each but he is on a low carb diet and nothing was suitable for him at all. WRT cooking times, I wasn't particularly impressed with the speed of cooking - it was nothing short of what I expected/have experienced before.

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 fairly good. I felt full afterwards although I did cook vegetables to go with it too

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 thought the dish was ok. I didn't like the black beans in it - have never had beans in a fajita before and it felt like an unnecessary carby 'filler' to me.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
Not really, it would be a very expensive way to feed the two of us - almost £8 for two meals - I could feed us for two full days on that!

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 wouldn't recommend it over any other M&S food - I love M&S food quality and therefore would generally recommend anything in there, but not this range over any other. Actually I prefer the 'cook' range so I think I would recommend that over the fuller for longer.

herethereeverywhere Mon 28-May-12 21:19:46

I tried the chicken & veg hotspot and the Mexican chilli with wedges.
Our local store only had about 6 or 7 choices but liked the variety. I am not a fan of fish ready meals so chose the two meat options available.
The meals were cooked in the oven for the exact time specified and didn't need any longer. I don't usually buy ready meals as they never look that appetising but these looked nice. DH was a bit sceptical about the portion sizes at first but we both felt full after eating and neither of us required a snack later on.
The chicken in the hotpot was slightly chewy and stringy and the potatoes were quite hard. I think it's difficult to get a hotpot correct in a ready meal so overall I was happy with it. I didn't really like the Mexican chilli and wedges - the wedges were nice but the chilli seemed to be more mush than actual chilli. While the texture wasn't great the flavour and spice were nice.
I thought the price a bit high for the portion size but I did feel full after so I think it would have put me off if I was buying it for the first time but having tried the meals I would be ok paying that price but not on a regular basis.
I would recommend the range to a friend. Overall i think it is a better ready meal than others available.
I also tried the pesto chicken flatbread and that was lovely and definitely filled me up at lunch. I will be buying that again and would recommend to a friend.
The only other point I would make was that I found the range quite hard to find in the shop. It was mixed in with the count on us range and when you are just scanning the shelves the packaging for both ranges seems to blend together if that makes sense.

MaisyMoo123 Mon 28-May-12 22:04:37

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?

I found the SFL range fairly easily in the Chichester store. There were about 6 dishes to choose from, which was a bit disappointing given how many options there are in the range. I wasn't immediately drawn to any particular dish and it took me a while to pick something that I liked the look of - I think this was partly down to the fact that most of the dishes on offer were hot pots or what I think of as wintery options which just didn't appeal in the summery weather. The dishes weren't very well laid out and were mixed amongst the count on us range and spread over a few shelves (some above eye level) which was also a bit confusing.

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 eventually picked the paella with chicken and king prawns for both DH and I. I cooked them in the oven as don't really like microwaving food like this. I very rarely buy 'convenience' meals like this but it was quite a treat to be able to just pop it in the oven and it smelt really nice as it was cooking too - it smelt fresh rather than processed which I thought was a good sign!

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 a touch smaller than what we would normally dish up for our main evening meal - neither of us eat much during the day so tend to have a hearty dinner! We both felt we needed something on the side so served it with a green salad. I felt the meal filled me up quite nicely - DH wasn't so convinced and popped a garlic bread in the oven, which he ate some of but not all. Neither of us snacked 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?

We both enjoyed the paella. It looked just the job and was really tasty with a pleasantly fresh flavour. It also didn't taste too salty which is something that usually puts me off ready meals like this. It could've benefited from more generous amounts of chicken - I only had about 3 bits in mine which seemed a bit measley and I would've liked more chorizo too. There were s decent amount of prawns but they were tasteless and had a very weird texture - not unpleasant but just disappointing, bland and not very prawn like! I guess as ready meals go it was a good healthy alternative but I would still prefer something freshly prepared if I'm honest.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I wouldn't spend this much on a ready meal regularly - £8 for the two of us is quite pricey for an every day thing but as an occasional convenience food they are relatively good value given the different flavours and healthier options.

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 probably would recommend them but I wouldn't rave about the range. If people were after a different kind of ready meal that offer a healthier option then I would suggest they give the range a try. I'm not sure I'd sell it to them on the keeping you fuller bit though as I'm not sure it fills you up any more than similar meals.

petal72 Mon 28-May-12 22:06:27

Q1.

I visited the Harpenden Simply Food store early on Saturday afternoon. There was a selection of dishes available, however I had trouble choosing any suitable ones. I am veggie and there were no vegetarian dishes in the Fuller Longer range available at all. In fact I couldn't spot any labels on the shelves for out of stock veggie dishes, although I am sure you do some.

My dh is a carnivore - so I chose a meat one for him - plenty of availability, but it was hard to find a dish that he would eat that didn't contain mushrooms (he can't stand the things bizarrely).

Ended up getting a Roasted Butternut Squash & Chargrilled Halloumi meal for me (on the shelf above the Fuller Longer range) and the Mexican Chunky Beef & Spicy Potato Wedges for dh.

Q2.

Butternut squash dish - heated in microwave which was v easy and influenced my decision as I was having something different to the children (dh out at cricket on saturday). I like the steaming effect of the special container but it is all a bit fiddly and I couldn't be arsed putting it into a separate bowl after mixing in the dressing, as it was really difficult to scrape the lentils out of the plastic container - so I ended up eating it out of the plastic container.

Mexican beef - dh heated it up in the oven (recommended for best results, although I would have microwaved it if I had been cooking as it was the only thing he needed the oven on for).

Q3.

Me - butternut squash - yes I did feel full afterwards, although I have to confess to stealing some of the children's chips too. The portion size for this is good and you're not stingy with the halloumi.

DH - mexican beef - the portion size looked small when he decanted it into his pasta bowl - and he commented on this. However after eating it he said he felt full but not bloated - a good thing. He commented on whether or not he'd change his mind later in the evening when he may need a bowl of cereal - so far (10pm) he hasn't had one, but is muttering that he is getting peckish!

Q4.

Me - butternut squash - very tasty, good flavours, the dressing helps and I love halloumi. A nice balance and a good way to get protein. I think this is a good option for a veggie like me - but it isn't actually part of the fuller longer range.

dh - Mexican beef - he liked the taste and commented that the beef was very tender. I think this is a healthier alternative to ready meals that he would choose himself - not that we eat them v often.

Q5.

Me - butternut squash - ok value - I tend to think that it would be cheap and easy to make myself, but I can't be phaffed. So for convenience factor its good, but I wouldn't buy it every week. It's good for an occasional treat when I need something different for myself if dh and boys are having fish, which I don't eat.

dh - ok value, but again wouldn't buy all the time at £3.99 - its a lot for a small portion, even if it does fill you up. OK for an occasional treat.

Q6.
Yes - I would - think they are good if you are on a diet, and I would recommend to my mum who is diabetic - as convenient way of controlling carbs if in need of a quick easy meal. But definitely more of a treat / easy meal option than a regular buy.

louiespence Mon 28-May-12 22:39:44

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 good range of SFL dishes, but I couldn't find any that didn't include meat or fish, although i fancied something vegetabley!!! The cod mornay grabbed my attention as it looked like the sort of meal I might normally eat and so that is what I went for. The curries and Mexican dishes were a little bit typical of what you might expect from a 'ready meal' at any supermarket.

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 heated both of the dishes in the microwave. They only took 4 minutes each and no stirring half way through, which was nice as other meals often ask you to do this. I didn't check the preparation method before I purchased them, so I guess it didn't factor into my decision to purchase.

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?
yes I found the portion size adequate and so did my DP. We were nicely full but not stuffed 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?
We both enjoyed the meals, I think they were fantastic for a 'ready meal'. If someone had served me that at their home, I would not have thought it was something they had microwaved up for 4 minutes!! The vegetables were perfectly cooked aswell, not soggy at all! Well done!
Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
To be honest, I wouldn't have normally spent £3.99 each for a microwave dinner, but now I have tasted it, I might well buy them again. They are a little more expensive, but the quality is superior to other brands I have tried, so that is what you have to balance up!

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 definitely recommend the cod mornay if it came up! I am now a big fan!! Why? Because it was so much better than other ready meals I have tried! I don't buy ready meals that often, maybe once a month, but they always taste like ready meals. This one tasted like real food!

I tried the salmon with soy and ginger (for myself), and DH had the chilli beef and potato wedges.

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 SFL range was sharing shelf space with the Count On Us Range. It took me a few moments to figure out which range was which. DH immediately saw and chose the wedges with chilli beef. The salmon and soy looked nice and caught my eye first, but I checked the other dishes and there seemed to be a reasonably good number of choices.

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?

The wedges seemed like they would be better cooked on the oven, so I cooked both meals in the oven. I was pleased to discover that both meals cooked for the same time at the same temperature. I was in a rush when I was shopping, and so didn't check the cooking methods before purchasing (something that I would quite often forget to do!). I do buy a fair amount of convenience foods - often at least one part of a main meal is pre-prepared. The 2 SFL meals I bought compared well with other convenience foods I've bought.

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 wedges didn't look especially large, but in reality they were a good size, portion-wise. DH felt full afterwards.

My salmon dish looked large on the plate, and seemed very filling. There was more veg than I would normally get in an individual convenience meal, which I appreciated. I found it filing.

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 thought the chilli wedges had a nice, fresh taste, but commented on the "crumbly" texture. Overall, he enjoyed it.

I liked the soy and ginger sauce a lot, but would have prefered it to be very slightly thicker so that it would cling to the salmon and veg a bit more. In hindsight, although it was more convenient to cook it in the oven with the wedges, I think it would have tasted better had it been cooked in the microwave as the broccoli suffered a little from oven cooking.

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

Although tasty, the SFL range was a bit higher in price than I would be prepared to pay normally. I would buy it if it were on a 3 for 2 offer.

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 mention them, and that DH and I enjoyed them, but I would probably also mention the price. It would be interesting to compare the taste and portion size to the Count on Us range, which was on offer at the time.

peggyblackett Mon 28-May-12 23:06:28

Q1. The range wasn't great tbh. There were probably 15 dishes available in total, but only about 7 or 8 actually in stock.
I immediately grabbed the Keralan curry, and then chose the meatballs and the pork with cider gravy and mash.

Q2. I cooked the Keralan curry in the oven, and the pork and meatballs in the microwave. I do prefer oven cooked ready meals, however I am particularly partial to Innocents veg pots at the moment and they only take 4 mins in the microwave, so for convenience I'm happy to use the microwave. Cooking method didn't influence my choice, I just chose what I liked.

Q3. I felt full at the end of the meal, but I was hungry again within 4 hours. DH would have liked a bigger portion. However, we're both absolute gluttony so our feedback probably isn't in line with the norm.

Q4. I loved the Keralan curry. I thought the meatballs were surprisingly hot, which I imagine would put quite a few people off. The pork in cider was just OK really - perfectly edible but not very exciting.

peggyblackett Mon 28-May-12 23:10:09

Q4 continued (blinking phone!). I think the taste and quality of the meals would favourably compare with other high end ready meals on the market.

Q5. Yes, although as I do a lot of cooking from scratch I'd be unlikely to buy them frequently.

Q6. Yes, I'd recommend them, especially if someone was dieting. As low calorie food goes, they're very good!

theodora Tue 29-May-12 08:02:22

Only just got the voucher and won't be able to get to M and S until the end of the week. When is the latest that you need our feedback by?

Thanks for picking me.

PorkyandBess Tue 29-May-12 10:10:49

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 good range in my local store but it wasn't that easy to find. I thought there were a fair few to choose from. I was drawn to things that looked like they were full of flavour rather than dishes such as ham hock or pork loin.

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 don't buy ready meals very often and I am not that keen on microwaving meals, so really quick preparation would not necessarily influence me.

I bought 3 dishes. One was not microwaveable, but 2 were. We only heated one of them in the microwave but it came out pretty perfect.

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?

We ate one dish each for dinner and shared another for lunch. The portion sizes were the same as we would normally have and we were definitely 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?

Spicy mexican chicken fajita - good flavours, quite basic ingredients. The tortilla didn't fare too well after being cooked in the oven (according to instructions) - it was a bit overdone.

Thai green chicken curry - heated in microwave. Very tasty, lovely sauce and the vegetables retained a good texture.

Lochmuir salmon with edamame beans, black rice and a soy, honey & ginger dressing - my favourite. Salmon was perfect and the dish tasted fresh and healthy. I would view this one as a healthy choice.

I would like to see some truly low carb or carb free options available in this range. I often buy the SFL lunches when at work and I am always on the lookout for the lowest carb option.

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

I think the dishes are a good, fair price. They might be slightly more than other stores, but I think the quality is better.

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 have already recommended the salmon dish. A family member is trying to lose weight and I have suggested she follows the SFL meal planner.

iwantavuvezela Tue 29-May-12 11:48:22

If you find two of these from me, its because I seemed to have lost my first response!

So here goes (again) ....

Firstly, thank you M&S for allowing me the opportunity to be part of this. It felt like a real treat to be chosen and sent a shiney voucher in the 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?

To make sure my M&S (Greenwich) i was going to use had the SFL dishes, I went there two days before receiving the voucher, and had a look at the range. Then with the voucher i went back to the store at lunchtime, and the range had moved (why do supermarkets keep moving food, its frustrating esepcially when you are shopping on limited time!). Anyway found it next to the count on us range. There was a limited range, around 6 options - but I liked most of the choices and found it hard to choose! The linguine; hot pot; beef stroganoff etc all looked good, but the Kerala chicken with the samosa topping won the day!

I also decided to get one of the lunch dishes. I bought a chicken salad (italian) with red peppers.

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?

The salad/lunch dish i opened and ate. lovely. Psychologically it was over £3 and I found this expensive, although when looking at the sandwiches realised it was the same price. It was a hot day and I enjoyed eating something different - i usually just grab a sandwich. i found it filling and apart from some of the deli dishes (but thats another thread) i had bought from you I waited until dinner to eat again. I would consider looking at this range again when looking for take away lunches.

I had got my husband and i both the kerala chicekn curry.

I popped it in the oven, 30 minutes later served on a plate.

Very convenient, in line with most of what is offered. I dont use a microwave at all. It had spinach, cauliflower, chicken and a topping so added nothin else. (except plates!)

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 filled up my plate and both my husband and I ate it all, enjoyed it, and felt full. My husband thought the portion side was spot on, and in terms of other convenience food, i feel it had a better proprotion of meat; and felt substantial.

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 really liekd the taste and flavour. My husband said he would like to eat it again.
I would definately use one of these ranges if my husband is away and i want something for myself and dont feel like cooking. As it is calorie controlled I knew it had to be fairly healthy, and it did feel like a healthy alternative. I dont really enjoy cooking just for myself, so i would keep this in mind for times when i only have myself to consider.

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

I guess paying £8 for two people to eat is what you pay, if you are buying some sort of take out food. So yes it is value for money.

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. I would say we enjoyed it, and it was a fair portion size.

SalAbility Tue 29-May-12 12:26:06

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 an express M&S at the garage, as realistically, that will be the kind of place I'd normally look for a ready meal (last-minute, quick park, quick grab kind of thing). For such a small one, I thought range was fine - about 5 different dishes. The shelves were easy enough to find, but had to look closely for the SFL range as a little mixed up with others, and as Count on Us was under promotion, I'd probably have gone for that if I wasn't specifically doing this trial.

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 bought 3 and microwaved all of them. Ds likes his food colder, so the separate warming up periods didn't make too much of a difference. It was extremely easy to 'prepare' as didn't have to stop and stir half way through. Except for that, probably similar to other microwavable ready meals wrt speed/ease.

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 good, but I'd normally add a salad to brighten up the plate and to fill up if required. Didn't do it here, so dh had about half of ds's dish too. More because it was there and looked nice than necessary though, and he did say he should probably have stopped at just his meal. I felt full after my meal. So, in summary, I think portion sizes probably spot on. (Ds a toddler, so only ate half of his)

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 meatballs with pasta - my dish. Loved the pasta and the tomato and pepper sauce. Meatballs lightly spiced, and had good texture for a ready meal. I especially liked the sauce - nice and chunky and tasted fresh. Ds also had a bite of my pasta, and liked it (the too spicy bit is often an issue with him). Dh tasted and again commented on the salt, but I think he is wrong there (see below). I hate saltless cooking and that has put me off many other ranges in the past.

Cod Mornay - dh a big fan of Cod Mornay, and liked this dish a lot. He said that he'd prefer the sauce a bit more cheesy, but taking into account that this is supposed to be healthier, it's fine. He felt salt content good, but definitely couldn't add any more. Texture of the cooked cod and vegetables perfect - fish not too dry, beans and peas not soft and soggy.

Beef and chianti ragu - this was the choice for 4yo ds, and of which dh ate half too. Ds liked it - perfect combination of tasty without being too spicy. I had a bite, but really hate the fine saucy texture of ready meal mince (this applies to all brands I've tasted, so no criticism against SFL). Tasted quite salty, which I like, but too much for a toddler really, so unlikely to buy from the range for him. For adults, who this is geared to, it's good. Dh commented on it being very salty, but he doesn't eat much salt normally.

I was surprised at the low calorie content of the dishes when you take into account they do fill you up and feel like "proper" food, and liked the addition of vegetables. If you add salad, the meals above would be good dinners, so I can see how this could be incorporated as treats / rush meals into a healthy eating / weight loss plan.

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

I think they are all right value for what they are. More expensive than most brands, but I feel better quality. I think it would be good for an office lunch, but I'd only buy it for home use if there was a special offer on. E.g. 2 for £6 makes a lot more sense when you've got more than one meal to serve. Having never bought these before I might be completely wrong, but I would have thought that you're missing out on an out-of-work-hours market when it's priced at £4+ per dish.

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, for lunch for one person I think it's a good and healthier, filling choice. I'd also seriously consider for lunch at home it if trying to lose weight - feels like a proper lunch without having to think too much about calories, being tempted by things in the fridge etc. I am fully aware that it's just as easy to prepare a quick, healthy meal at home for a lot less, but for the days when you feel like doing a sweets raid, it would be good. Expensive, so not every day though.

Thanks for the trial.

GrasshopperNchipmunk Tue 29-May-12 12:34:44

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 M&S store in the Trafford Centre, and the range was easy to find, and quite big (15/20 dishes?). I took the Stroganoff for myself (yum yum), and the red Thai Chicken Curry for my 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 heated the Strogg up in the microwave and the curry in the oven. I was starved, but DH, being a chef, thinks that food is better in the oven! I don't, and didn't think it added to the meal being done in the oven however. I guess that the hot pot type meals might benefit from the oven, but not the rice dishes so much. We don't normally buy ready meals as I mostly cook everything from scratch, but these (from this range) are the only ones we ever buy (about once every 2/3 months... its more of a convieniance and a treat to buy Marks food for us!).

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 were just right. Whenever we eat these meals im normally starved as wev've been out all day or something. I always think it wont be enough (seeing the size of it), but when ive finished im always full. DH was the same. We're not exactly skinny minis (or massive!) either.

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 love the Beef Strogg and so loved being part of this product test. I have had strogg from other places in the past (rarely), but other brands do not match up to M&S. DH said the same. I love that the veg looks nice and fresh too.

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

I think it's good value for a nice meal, and what it is. I hate buying ready meals normally (I get the odd one for DH when he's on late shifts), and don't normally think they are worth the cost. But SFL seem to be better quality produce, and the taste is nice. We've bought them in the past when meals have been on the 2 for £6 offer and thought it was a bargin!

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 defo recommend!

DurhamDurham Tue 29-May-12 13:34:38

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 were several to choose from but there were a few out of stock so the gaps were filled with the same choices repeated. I thought the whole range looked tasty, there were none that I wouldn't kie to try. I love spicy food so the curry grabbed my attention straight away, I especially liked the idea of the crispy toppong as soon as I saw it.

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 could have cooked my husband's in the microwave but nas I needed to cook mine in the oven I stuck them both in together. The dishes were very easy to prpare and cook, I only buy ready meals occassionally and these ones seemed very good quality compared to others I have bought in the past. The portion size was v good too.

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 size was great, I served the meals with salad and the plates looked full and colourful, like a 'proper' meal. Msot ready meals look like snakcs so this made a pleasant change.

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 meals were tasty, they were not 'sludgy' or bland at all. The meals had a good choice of vegetables and they looked healthy and tasty. I liked the choices available and will look out for new dishes as they are added.

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

The meals were £3.99 each and although they were good value for money I could not afford to buy them more than once a week. I would have to buy four meals (I couldn't leave out my two teen girls!) and this would be quite a pricey meal. I will buy them as a treat or when we are pushed for time, working late 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?

I would recommend them to a friends and family, not as something to buy often but as a tasty treat when they are busy and don't have time to cook.

Many Thanks!

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? - Quite a lot to choose from, which surprised me as our store is quite small. The Keralan curry was my first choice along with the beef stroganoff.

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 did both in the oven, all the microwave meals I've had have been soggy. I don't usually buy ready meals but these were as quick and easy as any other ready meal I've had.

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 found the portion sizes fine and I did feel quite full afterwards. DH is away with work so didn't get to try one, not sure how happy he'd be with the size of the dish, but then he's a bottomless pit. Was very impressed with the amount of meat in the dishes.

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 thought they were both lovely, I find convenience food can be quite bland and lacking in meat, but these were flavoursome and filling. I would consider these to be a healthier alternative to other brands of ready meal, they looked much fresher and had a decent amount of veg in.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why? I was happy with the value, the meals looked very fresh and I'd rather pay more for something that looks appetising!

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, in fact I have, to my Mother. I found them quick, easy and tasty and I'm usually not a fan of 'microwave meals'.

Thanks for the opportunity to test them.

aristocat Tue 29-May-12 13:39:45

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 SFL range was squeezed into narrow shelves and there were 8 or 10 different dishes to choose from. I was hoping for a larger choice TBH but they all looked and sounded very appealing. The Beef Stroganoff was at eye-level and I was drawn to this one 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?

I heated my dishes in the microwave, I chose Beef Stroganoff (for me) and Roast Pork Loin with Apple & Cider sauce for DH. The cooking method would not affect my purchase if I am honest and I dont usually buy convenience meals - however these were very good smile

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?

Yes the portion sizes were good and we felt full afterwards. If I used them again I would also buy a vegetable side dish to accompany the meal. There were not enough veggies in it for me!
DH was satisfied too, however the Pork meal was £4.19 and the most expensive available.

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?

Taste and flavour were excellent, definitely a premium convenience meal which is reflected in the price. As I said earlier I would have a vegetable side dish as well next time, if I purchased another one.

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

hmm Well at approx £4 each they are not cheap and it would be hard to justify paying that price for all of thefamily to have one. They were delicious though and an occasional treat would be what I suggest for these meals.

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 say that the meals are excellent and typical M&S quality smile although a little expensive.

Thanks for this - what a fantastic product test.

CagneyNLacey Tue 29-May-12 14:04:27

I had the chicken & mushroom taglietelli and dh had chicken tikka masala

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 didnt think there was that much choice to be honest as I'm not keen on spicey food and there was no vegetarian option, which I was surprised at. The selection was also at the back of the store and not well identified.

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 heated them up in microwave and were pleased with how quickly they cooked as we'd had a really busy day and once the kids were in bed we were too tired to cook a full meal. 4 mins is great for a hot filling dinner!

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 really good, I did feel full for a while afterwards and really enjoyed my meal. Dh thought his was tol small and said he didnt feel full at all.

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 really enjoyed mine, it was really tasty and I would definitely buy it again. Dh said his was nice enough but just not big enough. I would consider it a healthy alternative yes, but the only ready meal I normally have is macaroni cheese so it is healthier than that.

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

Well, it was lovely and I really enjoyed it but I do think £4 is a bit much for a microwave meal. I'd buy it as a healthy treat though, if I was on a diet.

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 recommended it to my mum who does her food shopping in M&S,I think she'd really enjoy it.

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 the Sale store. There were about 10 dishes which all seemed tasty. They were hard to find though.

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 both had the beef stroganoff and heated one in the microwave and one in the oven so we could see if there was any taste difference. Both were easy to prepare and it was good that the plastic film came off in one piece for a change. There were both quite quick.

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?

We were both a little sceptical whether dh would feel full but 10 mins after we had finished dh was full and didn't snack later in the evening. This is encouraging because he has a big appetite. The portion size seemed right to us.

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 veg was nice. It kept its colour and wasn't soggy so it tasted and looked fresh. The rice was over cooked and mushy. Very reminiscent of horrible school rice. Perhaps a better quality of long grain rice is required here. The beef was nice and lean but totally bland. In fact totally bland was the impression we both took away with us. Interestingly there was no difference in taste between the oven cooked and the microwave cooked dish. I thought there would be so was pleasantly surprised and would microwave if I were to have it again.

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

I thought they were expensive to be honest. I could have made the meal myself and had lots to freeze as well for that price. I know it's supposed to be convenience so you pay extra but I wouldn't buy it again.

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 some of the dishes the other posters have tested as they seem tasty but not the stroganoff. Too bland to be that price.

Cammelia Tue 29-May-12 14:08:21

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 good availability in my local M&S with enough to choose from. The dishes that grabbed my attention immediately were the ones that were reduced in price! Because of the price reduction I was able to buy 3 with my voucher.

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?

Now I have eaten the Beef & red wine casserole, heated up in the oven. Preparation method did not influence my choice. In terms of easiness to prepare, very similar to other convenience foods. I chose the method of heating up that was recommended on each of my 3 meals - the previous 2 were microwave-recommended.

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: good (ie enough). I did feel full afterwards. My Dh did not have any - this was a one-person portion.

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 taste of the Beef & red wine casserole was a little "school dinners". The beef was good quality and tasted nice but more flavour needed overall, please. In terms of health, this was a fairly balanced meal with mushrooms, carrots and so-called roast potatoes (they were like sauteed potatoes). Too many potatoes.. Compares averagely with other ready meal options.

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

I don't think the meal represented good value for money at full price (£4.99). The reduced price was probably nearer the mark (£3)

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 wouldn't recommend Beef & red wine wine casserole to friends or family as the dish could be made easily at home and would taste much better.

BigBadBear Tue 29-May-12 14:38:07

Sorry for late repsonse. My voucher only arrived at the end of last week, and I will post again when DH has tried his meal.

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 happened to be in a petrol station that has M&S food, and much to my surprise there was a good selection. The choice was good - about 10 different things. I chose the beef and chianti rigatoni for DH and the thai chicken curry for me, but they all looked nice.

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 heated the thai chicken curry in the microwave. If it was both me and DH eating at the same time, I would have used the oven to ensure they are done at the same time, so ready meals that offer both are appealing to me. I don't often buy ready meals, as I prefer to cook from scratch, but have done occasionally. This seemed pretty straightforward to heat up.

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 size was fine and I did feel 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?

The lemongrass flavour was good, but I prefer my curries to have a bit more heat. It didn't taste or feel like a healthy option, which is a good thing! Lots of big bits of chicken and nice crunchy veg and the rice was a great texture.

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

This is quite expensive - £3.99 for one feels quite pricey. I think I would only buy again if they were on offer.

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?

Not this one, no. It was nice, but not outstanding, and quite expensive.

gilliancd Tue 29-May-12 18:35:14

Just got my meal but haven't tried it yet! I chose the kerulan chicken curry, and was happy enough with the price for a Marks and Spencers meal. I was impressed with the choice, although when I have a ready meal I tend to be more drawn to currys or noodles than hot pots or stews.
Only thing that I've noticed so far is that it says not to freeze the meal- in mu house eveything needs to be able to go in the freezer!
Will answer the rest when I've eaten it!

balletpump Tue 29-May-12 18:51:45

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 bought mine at my local store in Bury, Lancs. It was a bit awkward to find as the range had been moved in store. there were about 15 different types of dishes on display and I did have a good look for a few minutes before selecting. Some did look nicer than others and I was a bit limited as they had to microwavable as both me and DH were having them for lunch at work. I really wanted to try the fajita's-that looks lovely! I have had the pasta and ragu sauce a couple of times before-this is lovely.

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?

My DH takes ready meals alot to work as he works shifts and it can be easier at times-this is the only way he can actually cook! Easy to sort out and no mess.

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 had the pasta and ragu sauce and I had paella. We both felt full after. I had a small mixed salad with mine. I ate this for lunch and just had a snack for tea as I wasn't hungry. DH commented that it was a very good meal and he felt much fuller than with any other ready meal he has had before. The portion size on both meals was excellent.

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 both enjoyed them. Both had alot of flavour and the meat and prawns were good in the paella-not rubbery. DH commented that the meat in the ragu sauce was nice and soft and no fatty bits which makes a change from a lot of other meals. I would buy again but not as a regular more as a treat.

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

They are expensive for a ready meal but nice a convenient treat which is how I have had them before ie if I have to work late I like to have a nice lunch to keep me going!!
DH commented that £3.99 is a bit steep for a ready meal -"you could have 2 chippy's for that!"

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. Easy to cook and the one's I have tried have been very tasty. Next those fajitas!

newlark Tue 29-May-12 20:12:51

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 good range of main dishes in our local Simply Food store - I guess around 15 or so - the salmon ones particularly caught my eye (I eat fish but not meat). I was disappointed not to to see any veggie ones (maybe something with lentils?) which would be my preference. DH likes Thai food (and is a meat eater) so I got him the Thai green chicken curry and I had the Scottish Lochmuir salmon with soy and ginger. I also bought a Super wholefood salad to have 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 - I would be unlikely to put the oven on to heat up a ready meal, particularly in the summer! Very convenient to 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 looked on the small size - DH commented in particular. I actually felt pretty full afterwards. DH said he could have done with a bit more but hasn't started snacking yet!

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 both enjoyed the dishes we chose - very tasty and clearly good quality ingredients. We'd see these as a good compromise - healthy but not excessively so!

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

These would be on the pricey side for us as a regular purchase - but nevertheless, given the quality of the ingredients, I'd say they are reasonable value. I'd be more likely to buy if they were on offer e.g. buy one get one half price taking the price down to the £2.99 mark but I would probably buy them at full price occasionally e.g. if one of us was out for the evening. At £3 I thought the Super wholefood salad I had for lunch was better value and I can see myself buying that regularly.

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, would reccommend - tasty, healthy and very convenient meal.

booface Tue 29-May-12 20:19:30

Here is my feedback, generally I would say all very postive, we really enjoyed the FFL food (and I got to buy rather a lot in addition to my voucher!

Q1. The range was good, but I would have liked a bit more choice. I hope it expands in the future.

Q2. I heated the food by microwaving. We do eat a lot of convenience food I am afraid. These compared very favourably in terms of taste and ease of use. We often have Cook frozen meals

Q3 Portion size was generous, with lovely bits of chicken in the pot roast one, and lots of fish in the cod with mash one

Q4 Taste and flavour was all very good

Q5 I felt the dishes were good value, but even better if they could be on 2 for £6 or something like that. That would def make me purchase.

Q6. Yes I would recommend.

Thanks for the chance to try them!

Kendodd Tue 29-May-12 20:42:04

Q1 I had to ask an assistant to point them out for me, they had about five dishes available, no veggie or fish. It was a small store though.

Q2 Microwave, it was very quick and easy although I don't usually buy microwave dinners, DH was out tonight though so good for one. I wouldn't serve a microwave dinner for one for us in the evening although I sometimes buy microwave dinners for two, curry in a bag sort of thing.

Q3 I had paella and was very impressed with the portion size, I felt full enough afterwards, I could have eaten more but didn't need to. DH didn't have one although if they had SFL meals for two we would have shared.

Q4 DH didn't have any. I think if I had given it to him he wouldn't have known it wasn't a regular RM, I wouldn't have anyway.

Q5 I think they are quite expensive, although I believe they may be better quality then Tesco (for example) just because they are M&S, but I an basing that on the image presented by M&S and may not be true. I might buy them for a night in by myself though.

Q6 I can't imagine any situation where it would come up in conversation unless it was the most disgusting thing I had ever eaten and I had a story to tell about them.

lucillevanpelt Tue 29-May-12 20:58:05

Just wrote a long post but lost it when tried to preview - GAH!

Q1. Went to large M&S store, found the range fine. Availability good. Think there were 12-14 to choose from (didn't actually count!). Saw the thai red chicken curry, which we have had before and liked, but decided to try the beef and red wine casserole.

Q2. Cooked in oven as recommended. Normally avoid oven cook ready meals as too slow (e.g. 40 mins). This took 20 mins which is fine. DH would have liked the potatoes to have crisped up more. I would have liked them to be a bit more cooked - they were just about cooked enough for me, ditto the carrots. I tend to avoid this type of ready meal (with chunks of potatoes or root veg) for this exact reason - lots of bad experiences with rock hard potatoes, so at least this casserole was not like that!

Q3. Portion size fine, about what I would expect. DH says same. Think the balance of protein, cards and veg was good, and helps with "digesting nicely" as DH put it. Not too greasy or rich, but felt reasonably substatial.

Q4. Taste and flavour were OK, but not "delicious". Wouldn't buy again based on that. It did seem to be reasonably healthy version of a casserole, so if you were really concerned about that sort of thing and wanted a fast casserole for one person it might be a good option.

Q5. Not great value for money, but OK. £4.19 feels expensive for any ready meal really. Unless it is something from the Cook range and clearly a lot more meat / fish included, or other special/ interesting ingredients.

Q6. If it came up in conversation I wouldn't recommend the beef casserole, because it just wasn't tasty enough. I would probably still consider mentioning the range generally though and would certainly not rule out exploring other dishes if I liked the look of them.

ln1981 Tue 29-May-12 21:02:03

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 the store in Dunfermline, thinking there wouldnt be that great a choice however, there seemed to be a fair few choices, though it was split round a corner so at first it seemed as if there were hardly any to choose from. They were also beside the count on us range, so when I first looked it was difficult to tell them apart as the packaging was qute similar. The salmon dishes caught my eye first, aminly because i love fish, so if I can have it I will! There also seemed to be a fair few chicken dishes available.

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?
All the dishes we tried were heated in the oven. I dont buy convenience meals all that often but these were certainly of a better quality IMO than any I have bought before. They were all quite 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 bought the Chicken and mushroom tagliatelle (for dp), chicken in red wine sauce (for us both to try) and Lochmuir salmon fillet meals (for me).
We both felt the portion sizes were just on the small side but then dp does like a good size portion of food, and I was quite hungry on the evening that we tried these out. For me, the salmon fillet could have been a wee bit bigger, but the amount of veg and potatoes were about right.

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?
Chicken and Mushroom tagliatelle-dp had this dish, and he thought that the chicken was a bit dry, and it wasnt very saucy, but the flavours werent too bad.
Lochmuir salmon fillet-I had this dish and i really enjoyed it. The potatoes/brocolli still tasted and looked like potatoes/brocolli, which is always a plus for me, and the watercress sauce was lovely-I would have liked a wee bit more of that!
Chicken in Red wine sauce-dp and myself shared this. Although I thought this was actually quite nice, dp didnt agree. The sauce smelled gorgeous-the smell filled the kitchen as it was warming up in the oven. Dp wasnt keen on it as he felt the chicken was a bit chunky (he likes it to melt on your mouth), and he thought it was a bit bland.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
They are a bit pricier than what I would normally go for, however I felt that the meals all tasted really nice- not convenience food-like in the slightest so the price probably reflects that. I would probably buy these again as a treat, (or if you added them to dine in for two for a tenner offer! grin )

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-easy to cook, good choice (unheard of in my local store!) and I quite liked how it all tasted.

tazzle22 Tue 29-May-12 21:02:58

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?

Range of 12 at least to choose with good range of dishes to chose from to meet varied tastes.

I chose four ( paid extra as wanted DH and I have two each and they looked wonderful on display Ham hock, pork loin, keralan curry ( for my DH) and ragu. I also liked the look of the cod mornay.

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 did two in microwave and two in oven .. only the curry with filo pastry actually had to be oven, I don’t mind which for purchasing. I cannot imagine anything easier to prepare …. just take the film off 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?

^There was more meat in the pork loin dish than I anticipated but not as much cabbage as I would have expected given it said on the packet it meets the one a day criteria. I felt quite satisfied after but more veg would have been better. I thought the ragu looked ok portion size but I did not feel full. This is probably because I am used to eating more vegetables with my meals , the ragu does not say that it includes a portion of veg so I would add some to this dish if I were to buy it again.
DH was not very impressed with the portion size of the hock and even less with the karalan curry. Given a man generally can have more calories daily even when reducing weight he would normally have 500 – 700 calories for a main meal, many more than the 320 in these meals. The hock was more filling than the curry, even after I added a slice of bread with the curry DH was still hungry.^

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 appearance and flavour of all the dishes was better by far than most other ready meals we have purchased whether “healthy options” or not. We would like to see more vegetables included. I think they are healthier options than most other ready meals certainly in respect of having lower fat levels.

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

I think the pork loin dish was very good value, the meat content was far higher and tastier than other meals trie . Although the meat in the others was tasty the portion size overall was small. Given I would need to add veg to them that would take the cost to about £10 for a meal for two. Since I could go to the local pub and get two huge meals for the same price I do wonder at the “value” issue. I know its not as “healthy” but its still a “not prepared at home” 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?

I would recommend the loin chops as a tasty and healthy option of perhaps a Sunday dinner or a treat sometimes for a woman calorie counting. I think it would be too expensive for one each for a “family” dinner and not enough for a man from a calorific point of view.

RNW Tue 29-May-12 21:46:26

Q.1) I went to a large M and S Simply Food. They had a decent range of dishes available, although it did involve a fair bit of tracking down certain items, as the main dishes were in one place, then some of the other more 'lunch' type items were by the sandwiches and so on. It did feel rather like a treasure hunt. I wonder whether it would be easier to have the entire range in one place, regardless of the food item. The harissa chicken and cous cous salad immediately grabbed my attention, as it looked appealing with a range of colours and textures.

Q.2) We tried the Chicken hotpot with lentils, and the spaghetti with meatballs. Both were heated up in the microwave. The preparation definitely factored into my choice of purchase. With 3 children, include a very young baby, putting a dish in the microwave and having a meal ready in a couple of minutes was important. Sometimes when there is the lull in the crying in the evening, it's handy to know that food can be ready quickly and therefore eaten, quickly. I do buy 'convenience' meals on occasions,there was nothing seemingly different in preparation and ease with regards to the M and S meals as opposed to any supermarket meal.

Q.3) I found the portion size quite large in the Harissa chicken and cous cous salad that I had for lunch. The Chicken hotpot portion size seemed perfect. I felt full afterwards with both items. My husband had the spaghetti with meatballs. He commented that he did not feel completely full after eating it, he had 2 slices of bread and pudding straight away after finishing. He felt the portion size was imbalanced-too much meat and not enough pasta.

Q.4) I loved both my dishes, I thought the harissa chicken was packed with flavour and the chicken hotpot was really tasty. My husband enjoyed the flavour and taste of his meal, he thought it was surprisingly spicy. I would consider the 2 dishes I tasted to be 'healthy alternatives' to other ready meals, although not the pasta and meatballs.

Q.5) I think the 2 chicken dishes represented good value for money, they used a range of ingredients that I would not normally use, to create a couple tasty dishes, and therefore it would be harder to get the same effect making them myself. The pasta and meatballs dish did not seem to be particularly good value for money, and was something that I would recreate at home fairly cheaply.

Q.6) I would recommend both chicken dishes to friends and family. They had a lovely balance of flavours, kept me feeling full, and were dishes that I would not have the time or confidence to make myself.

flyingchick1 Tue 29-May-12 22:13:36

Q1. I visited the store at speke retail park, took me about 5 mins to locate the range it was located at the end of an aisle. Lots of dishes to choose from. My attention was grabbed by the thai green curry, keralan curry, the ham hock and pok loin also. Eventually choose keralan curry for me and pork loin with apple and cider sauce for DH

Q2. I heated mine in oven, DH in microwave very easy to do. Dont regularly buy convenience meals so nothing to compare with. But preparation method probably wouldnt influence me

Q3. Very impressed with my portion sauce for the curry and it only contained 340 calories. Felt full for rest of evening. DH agreed about adequate portion size but it didnt fill him up and he ended up eating half a baguette after it!

Q4. very impressed with curry, looked appetising and was really tasty. DH thought pork loin and sauce were very tasty but was not impressed by the wilted looking cabbage

Q5. Personally I think £8 for 2 convenience meals is expensive and I wouldnt buy these on a regular basis, maybe as a one off

Q6. I would recommed them for their taste and was also impressed with the low calorie count of them however they are a tad expensive I feel

MumbleMumm Tue 29-May-12 22:18:36

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?
The SFL range was placed hidden in a corner next to the Count on Us range. I was a bit annoyed as someone had left a step ladder in front of them, so they were difficult to get to, made even harder while trying to carry an 11 month old. However, when I finally did manage to move the step ladder, I was quite pleased with the selection. There were plenty of choices - the Keralan curry grabbed my attention very quickly as it looked to be something really quite different with the samosa topping. I also grabbed the salmon and broccoli meal, as it looked nice. Though I think I'd try one of the stew or curry dishes if I were to choose 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?
I heated the dishes in the oven. I didn't look at how the dishes had to be prepared prior to purchase. They were both quick and easy to prepare in the oven and didn't spoil in the way some microwave convenience meals do when cooked this way. They looked perfectly appetising when prepared this way.

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 thought the portion size was good on the Keralan curry, and he felt sufficiently full afterwards - which is impressive, as we usually eat rather big meals. I was slightly disappointed in the size of the salmon meal. If I was making it myself it would have been a third bigger again. That said, I didn't feel massively hungry when I had finished, ut I had been snacking that afternoon.

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 both enjoyed the flavour - my dh was really very impressed with the curry, and made sure I tried a bit to show me just how good it was! The salmon sauce was very tasty, and the vegetables were nicely prepared, and tasted fresh.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I think that £4 is an OK price to pay. It isn't cheap, but it isn't too expensive. Though £8 for 2 is quite a lot when it would be easy to make the salmon meal bigger for cheaper.

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. Definitely the Keralan curry, not so much the salmon. The curry was really quite tasty, and different. The salmon was pretty standard to be honest, so not sure if I would recommend it so much.

coni336 Tue 29-May-12 22:41:28

Q1.
I visited the Bath branch and found the range fairly quickly in the ready meals section. I thought there was enough to chose from and me and dp both fancied a pasta based dish. I chose the chicken penne arrabbiata and dp the beef meatballs and spaghetti.

Q2.
I heated them in the microwave as it said 'for best results'. I hardly ever use the microwave and was a bit weary that it may overcook or dry up the dishes as this has happened before with other ready meals. I was happy with the results, not dry or overcooked at all and SO quick. That was probably the best aspect for me as after a long day with 3 dc, once they are in bed I just want a quick dinner with not much fuss and mess so perfect for me!
I never buy convenience meals as the ones I had bought in the past were horrible! I would try one of these again. I thought these meals would be good when dh is away with work and I can't be bothered to cook for myself (better than eating a whole pack of biscuits for dinner)

Q3.
Good portion sizes. At first my dp thought it looked really small but surprisingly he was full up and didn't snack afterwards! I did not finish my meal as I wasn't that keen on it, I was full after 3/4 of it anyway.

Q4.
My dp really enjoyed his choice he actually said 'I could live on these!' he said it was slightly too sweet but really enjoyed it anyway. I thought my dish had too much sauce and the flavour was overpowering, it was quite salty. I liked the pasta, cherry tomatoes and chicken bits but left a lot of the sauce. The other negative in mine is that I chewed on a bit of chicken gristle and that always puts me off!
I felt the dishes were healthy and calorie count low.

Q5.
I thought they were reasonable and I would rather pay £3.99 and get good quality food (apart from the gristle) than buy the £1 ready meals I have seen and would not dare to try!

Q6.
My dp said he would recommend his dish. I wouldn't recommend mine and wish I had chosen something else but I would try again with something different next time and I would recommend the range especially to my busy mummy friends.

mackemmam Wed 30-May-12 08:03:12

Q1 There was plenty to choose from and they looked nice in the packet.
Q2 Heated both in the microwave and was suprised at how little time they needed to heat up.
Q3 Portion size - quite small and both of us had a snack later.
Q4 Flavour - neither of us really enjoyed the meals. I had the ham hock and it all tasted artificial particularily the mash. DH had the thai curry and didn't finish it. Shocked at the high salt content in mine. Neither of us eat ready meals so difficult to judge the flavour, compared to home cooking not good.
Q5 Poor value for money at 38 for two.
Q6 No sorry wouldn't recommend the range

BigBadBear Wed 30-May-12 10:43:45

Reporting back on DH's dish - he had the beef and chianti ragu with rigatoni. He said it was enough and he felt full, but it didn't taste of much and he was disappointed. So two out of two not feeling taste expectations but leaving us feeling full.

HairyPoppins Wed 30-May-12 13:56:27

Q1. I thought the range was good but most of the meals only had one pack left in stock. About 50% were marked down and had to be used that evening as they didn't freeze.

Q2. My husband and I tried three dishes. I had the superfoods salad for my lunch which I ate from the pack, my husband had the chicken, mushroom and chorizo Spanish type dish and I had chicken and mushroom tagliatelle for my dinner. The last two dishes were microwaved in turn.

Q3. With the lunch, it was a good amount but I didn't feel full afterwards. The dinner dishes were quite different from each other - there was far too much chicken in the tagliatelle dish, like 1.5 chicken breasts, which became dull after a while. I would have preferred more whole mushrooms (and actually stole my husband's out of his meal as he doesn't like them and I didn't notice them in it, I thought they were potatoes, oops). My husband's meal (sans mushrooms) was quite a small portion, and could have benefitted from some carbs, as it was basically all protein and quite dull-going after a bit of eating. Both cooked meals kept us pretty full all evening, but I had to eat quite early because the salad left me starving.

Q4. The wholefoods salad was okay. I didn't like the grains, which were a bit sawdusty for my taste. Also it mixed sweet and savoury, which gives me the boak. I had to pick out raisins and bits of pomegranate, which was very fiddly. I really liked the sauce on the tagliatelle and it coated the pasta brilliantly, I didn't get any of that microwave dry pasta effect. My husband said that the chicken chorizo dish tasted brilliantly. Neither of the dinner meals screamed 'diet' to us, especially not the pasta one which had a good portion of pasta PLUS about three times the usual chicken portion.

Q5. I think the tagliatelle one did, just for the sheer volume of ingredients and also it was a bit like dishes you'd find in the Tesco finest range. Although I don't buy that unless it's reduced. And I like making my own carbonara now everyone on here has been going on about their recipes. My husband's dish was never in a million years worth £4 <tight fisted emoticon> and frankly you'd have to pay me to eat the salad again.

Q6. Probably not, too expensive, not filling enough, strange ingredient ratios. Maybe if they were reduced to clear, or for a special treat.

jellyhead Wed 30-May-12 14:43:04

I found the SFL range easily. The main problem for me was there was no vegetarian choice as my dh is vegetarian. Choice was a bit limited but I visited a small store [Hitchin]
I heated the dishes in the microwave. I took them to work with me and the only cooking choice there is a microwave so that is a major factor in my choice.They are easy to prepare and cook nicely.
The first meal I had was spagetti and meatballs. The portion size was small. Lots of meatballs and hardly any spaghetti. I wasn't at all full and had to eat other food as well to survive my shift.
The second one was red wine and beef casserole. It was bigger and I felt fuller after that one. Portion sizes are to me small/medium.
DH couldn't join me as there was no vegetarian choice but he would normally have 3 times the size of portion to eat.
3.99 is more than I would usually pay but the meal was made of high quality ingredients and that showed in the taste.I wouldn't recommend the dishes as leaving you fuller longer but I would say they were a nice treat.
Thank you for the oppurtunity to try them

buggyjo Wed 30-May-12 17:49:57

I bought mine from the windsor store,not a lot of choice,wAs a case of what I would eat rather than wanted!I bought the thai green chicken curry it was tasty but I had a big lump of gristle which put me off,was filling but I wouldn't buy again.next day had the chicken&mushroom taglitelle,that was nice looked good,had cooked both meals in the micro wicH was fine.again I felt. Full after.I do think they are exspensive but as a one of o.k,would I buy again?yes.

buggyjo Wed 30-May-12 17:50:30

I bought mine from the windsor store,not a lot of choice,wAs a case of what I would eat rather than wanted!I bought the thai green chicken curry it was tasty but I had a big lump of gristle which put me off,was filling but I wouldn't buy again.next day had the chicken&mushroom taglitelle,that was nice looked good,had cooked both meals in the micro wicH was fine.again I felt. Full after.I do think they are exspensive but as a one of o.k,would I buy again?yes.

Back again...

Last night I had the second of the two dishes I bought for me. I had already had the chunky chilli and dh had the keralan curry with samosa crust.

After the success of the first two dishes I was disappointed with the pasta and meatballs.
There was only a little pasta and some of it dried up to a crisp during the cooking (I oven baked the dish and as you have to perforate the foil there is no way of stirring to ensure all pasta is covered by sauce)
Thicker pasta may not dry out and crisp up so much.

The sauce was nice, with a bit of a kick to it.

The meatballs were gorgeous and there were quite a few of them.

But all in the dish left me peckish again a few hours later.

I think the portion size was too small, the pasta too thin.

F4ttyBumBum Wed 30-May-12 18:07:11

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 struggled to find it to be honest and wouldn't have known about this range if it were not for the product test. Eventually I saw a sign for Count on Us so figured it would be close by. It was, right next to it and OPPOSITE THE PUDDINGS!! Plenty of choice maybe 10-14 dishes. Good range of bland and exotic dishes. It was a hot day so the "lighter" dishes grabbed my attention, I didn't fancy a stew. I chose:

Middle Eastern spice chicken
Keralan chicken 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 microwaved them, I eat a fair amount of convenience food and they were as quick and easy to prepare. I was pleased to note that I could peel the lid off because it is a bug bear of mine when I have to use a knife to peel the plastic 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?

Mixed opinions on the portion size. Would say that it is as generous as any other convenience food but didn't think I would be sufficiently full and ate a salad with it. Saying that, I did feel full enough afterwards and was not eating hours later so maybe there is something in it. But on the plate without any accompaniment it doesn't look quite enough hence the salad garnish.

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 tasted good and I couldn't think of any other flavourings they would benefit from. I usually add a bit of "heat" to my dishes anyway to give them a kick which I didn't do with these but might do in the future. They tasted like diet foods though, not the fatty standard ones with lashings of cream. But you have to make the sacrifice somewhere and for 300 odd calories per dish, I thought it was good enough.

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

I thought at £4 (£3.99) a dish they were on the dear side. But if I was going on a weight loss blitz and going to use these as a weight loss aid (which I might) I would buy them if they were 3 for £10 for instance, I think that then they would represent good value because you could budget £50 a week thereabouts.

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 mention that I have tried them and they were nice. I would only really recommend them if I went on a weight loss blitz and lost some weight by using them. I think that my own personal success with them would be the best endorsement I could give.

Littleplasticpeople Wed 30-May-12 18:25:13

I tested the cod mornay and the chicken tikka masala.

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 were a few to choose from but most of them pasta based which I wanted to avoid.

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?

Very easy to prepare as both were microwavble (this didn't influence my choice).

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 ate the cod and thought that the portion was small initially, but actually there were enough veggies to fill me up. Dh had the tikka and had extra bread with it a he felt the portion was rather small.

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?

No. Very expensive at £3.99 each, portions not big.

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. Too expensive, not particularly filling, and not as tasty as other food at M&S. For example the curry in other ranges is really much nicer.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw
MNHQ

polly164 Wed 30-May-12 19:29:33

Q1 I went to a large M&S in Pudsey at about 5.15pm on Friday 25 May. I didn't find it very easy to find the SFL range on the shelves. When I did find them the shelves looked rather bare and it was apparent that some of the dishes that had shelf edge labels were not in stock. I also noticed that quite a few were on there sell by date. Some of the dishes that initially got my attention upon further inspection didn't seem that appealing. However in general the choice was good and I think the selection of different types of food is also really good.

Q2 I heated both of my dishes in the microwave and was surprised how quick they were to cook. On of my dishes said best cooked in a conventional oven and the other said best results microwaved. Both tasted fine when cooked in the microwave. I don't really seem much point in buying convenience food and then having to wait for the oven to warm up. These dishes were quicker to cook than other ready made meals that are of a smaller size.

Q3 I was full with mine and enjoyed it, however my husband enjoyed his meal but didn't seem as full as usual. He had some french bread with his to fill him up. I was impressed that my dish had only 380 calories, yet was really tasty and filled me up.

Q4 I wouldn't choose ready made meals in preference to home cooked food, however these tasted fine so I would be happy to use them if needed. The quality of these are better than other ready meals on the market. The choice of meals is also good so there should be something to suit everyones taste.

Q5 I think £8 for two meals is rather expensive. I probably would buy these at that price. I can think of other types of quick meals that I could have if I was spending that amount of money. Ingredients used were good quality but still on the expensive side.

Q6 I would recommend these to people, I think they are especially good for busy professionals who want something quick and tasty after a long day at work. I also think they would be useful for people who are seriously wanting to loose weight. This range offers a wide variety of tasty dishes that are all calories counted. It would be a cheaper alternative to some of the diet meal companies.

Ambrosius Wed 30-May-12 19:34:58

Just put mine in the oven , will report ack soon smile

speckled00 Wed 30-May-12 20:01:01

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?

When I visited I only saw the lunch ranges, and there were three available. The Wholefood Salad, the Chicken and the King Prawn dishes. All three looked tasty and grabbed my attention.

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?

They were all cold dishes as they were salad type meals so no prep needed. As I bought these for a lunch, they were perfect.

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 found the portion size sufficient and was surprised when I felt satisfied. I wasn't overly full but definitely not hungry anymore. DH enjoyed and felt the same.

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 King Prawn dish was very tasty but the sauce was really strong and overpowered the dish I thought as I'd put the whole tub on. I think maybe a slightly lighter sauce would be nicer. I enjoyed the chicken dish, and the wholefood salas was tasty.

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

I think they did represent good value for money, as the meat & prawn quality was good, however I did find them slightly pricey for a lunch meal considering the competition out there for £2.50 meal deals 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 but again, would be wary of the price and think they'd be more of a treat than a daily dish.

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?

A good range, though more stew type dishes which i didnt fancy as it was a hot day. Was the curry type ones that took my fancy.

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?

Microwaved them. I did put back the keralan curry as thought it would have to be baked due to the poppadom. Couldnt be bothered to look at instructions to determine if second option would bake in the same time, so just went for microwaveable.

I dont usually buy ready meals, but they did seem a good sized portion.

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 bought 3 dishes: Abdalucian chicken & chorizo, thai green curry and katsu curry (last 2 were reduced to £3 each hence i could afford all of them). First night we (DH & I) split the Andalucian dish and had with a salad, was ok size wise but neither of us was that hungry.

Tonight we have had the curries, seemed ok sized portion, we had half of each to try.

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?

Dishes seemed to have a good amount of veg included which was nice. Andalucian chicken was tasty, enjoyed it. Thai green curry was also tasty and had a good 'authentic' flavour. The katsu chicken curry was most disappointing taste wise; it looked good and had lots of nice texture (e.g. chickpeas) but just a bit bland and not any real flavour.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I thought £3.99 seemed a bit steep...if i was spending £8 on tea for me & DH in M&S there are lots of other things that i would buy instead such as the ready to raost gammon pack + potatoes and salad...that would feed 4 of us also, not 2. I shop in M&S a lot and there are plenty of bits you can buy to make a nice meal for that money.

This may just be a reflection that i dont really buy whole ready meals...i might buy some prepped veg or potatoes as a timesaver instead.

If i was eating alone then i maybe would buy one dish as a lazy treat.

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?

Maybe....though i wouldnt rave about them i dont think.

I think you have better products for the money (Just Eat). Would maybe be better to combine with the count on us range?

Ambrosius Wed 30-May-12 20:46:31

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?
Not a huge range but ok, most said 'for best results microwave' which limited my options as we don't have one. I chose the keralan curry and the beef rigatoni

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?
Heated in the oven, I rarely buy convenience meals but the preparation was as expected - simple and quick.

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?
They looked a little small but we both found them satisfying.

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 had the curry, it was easily the best ready meal curry I've had. Nicely spiced, the cauliflower had nice texture and the chicken was very tender but the samosa topping was a bit soggy and didn't really add much.
DP had the rigatoni he said it wasn't as rich as he had hoped and would have preferred a little more texture to the meat, it was also a bit salty.
I wouldn't consider them to be a healthy alternative particularly.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I thought the meals were expensive initially, but I was impressed with the quality. I would say they should be a little cheaper to represent value for money.

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. The meals tasted good and seemed nutritionally balanced.

Thanks for the free dinner MN and M&S!

Ingles2 Wed 30-May-12 20:48:09

So popped into M&S today and bought the jerk style chicken wrap, the thai green curry and beef and red wine casserole for dh... Dh hasn't had his yet so will report back again later.

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 Ashford store today, which isn't very big. there was a very small range of SFL meals, only 4 on the same shelves as the count on us range.
the choice was thai curry, beef casserole, chicken hot pot and spag and meatballs. Tbh I only fancied the curry from those...
Dh likes trad meals, so will probably be really pleased with his beef casserole. which does look nice, but those hearty traditional meals don't seem to fit into a "diet" range really and I don't fancy them when I'm watching my weight.

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 curry,..... it was quick and easy. I don't usually buy convenience food so was impressed with ease.
Obviously wrap I just opened the pack! smile

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 wrap was lovely and very filling... perfect amount I think.
The curry was a good portion, could have had more veg with it though. I felt full after both.

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?
Taste wise, the wrap was absolutely delicious! I will definitely buy it again. It was fresh and light but filling.... so nice to have a sarnie not dripping in mayo.
The curry smelled v good, and tasted good as well.. I think it could have benefited from a green veg as well... maybe sugar snaps
They did feel like a healthy choice and going on these 2 meals alone, I will definitely be buying this range again.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why? I think it is bordering on expensive but I will still buy as the meals seem to have good quality ingredients and the ease of calorie counted / nutritionally balance meals that are delicious make it worth the cost.

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. I have already.
Now, I think it's really important that we all test those scrummy looking roulades in the freezer cabinet please smile

kerrylou6 Wed 30-May-12 21:08:58

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 seemed to be many dishes in the store i visited but no vegetarian options were available which was disappointing but luckily i eat fish so got the salmon with soy and ginger and the roasted beef meatballs and spaghetti 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?

We used the oven to heat the meals and i was very impressed with the ease and speed of cooking unfortunately some of DH's pasta burnt as there was not enough sauce in the dish.

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 size was plentiful for me and i couldn't finish my meal although DH has a large appetite and had to eat garlic bread with his!!!

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 both really enjoyed the flavour of our meals and i commented it tasted too good to be a ready meal i felt the balance of different parts of the meal was perfect and DH said his dish had just the right amount of spice.

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

Rather pricy for a ready meal as salmon was not very big but best ready meal i've ever had.

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?

Would recommend this range but for a special quick meal not an after school regular quick meal

thepoowhispererswife Wed 30-May-12 21:22:03

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 bought our food from the Lewisham branch of M&S. The range was hard to find in store so I wandered round quite a few times before I spotted it. Mainly hard to spot because the range on offer was so small. I was actually really disappointed with what there was to choose from, especially having read other people's feedback mentioning Middle Eastern/Keralan/Mexican stuff which was nowhere in sight. There were only what I'd consider to be very 'wintery' meals on offer - all quite stodgy, cosy food, which wasn't really appropriate for a hot summer day. Had I been just browsing looking for something for dinner I wouldn't have given those a second glance. I ended up buying beef meatballs for both myself and my OH as that's what he most fancied when I rang him and I didn't spot anything else that I wanted. I know that there are some salads in the SFL range which I might have gone for but I couldn't find any.

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 heated them in the microwave. I have to confess I didn't check in store before purchase but I was pleased we could microwave them and I found them very easy to prepare. We don't really eat convenience meals - about the only 'ready' meal we buy are Innocent veg pots as we feel that if we have to have something quick they are the healthiest option. The SFL range were as easy to prepare as the veg pots which I guess are our benchmark.

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 OK. The main thing that I felt was lacking was some sort of vegetable content - the sauce did have a few peppers in it but versus our normal dinner (which would contain a significant amount of veg or salad) it was lacking. We both thought we felt reasonably full after eating but we were both in the kitchen a couple of hours later eating snacks which isn't usual for us. These meals might work well for people who struggle to stop snacking in the afternoon after they have eaten an unsubstantial lunch but I'm not sure they would tick the box for dinner, particularly for blokes.

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 taste of the meal we tried was OK, but I wouldn't have judged it to be 'tasty' per se. The sauce was meant to be spicy - in fact it was spicy to the exclusion of any other real flavour. We both thought that the sauce needed a richer, tomato flavour and that there needed to be more of it. The meatballs were decent, and didn't feel as though they were harbouring a load of hidden fat. From a calorie perspective the meals seemed reasonably 'healthy' but I'm afraid I'm not a regular ready meal eater so I could't say how they compare to others. In all honesty, I definitely feel that these meals were a compromise health-wise on the average meal that I prepare for us on a daily basis.

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

I generally think a lot of ready meals are a rip off. However, in comparison to the Innocent pots that we eat every now and again, they seem reasonable. This is probably a reflection of the fact that the Innocent pots are expensive for what they are rather than because the SFL ones are a bargain 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?

No, simply because what we had was totally unremarkable. I was disappointed with the range that was available - had we been able to try a few of the slightly more interesting sounding meals it might have been a different story. And fundamentally, we weren't "fuller for longer" so the meals didn't live up to their name.

whythatduckpeckmemummy Wed 30-May-12 22:02:53

I had the roast pork loin with apple and cider sauce and DH had Mexican chunky beef and spicy potato wedges.

Q1. Lots of dishes were available in the store I visited (>10) which surprised me as this particular store has a small-ish food hall. Plenty to choose from for me, less so for DH who is quite fussy. The dishes we chose were the ones that stood out to us.

Q2. Heated both meals in the microwave although DH's Mexican beef was described as "best cooked in a conventional oven". We rarely eat convenience food but when we do it must be quick and easy to prepare as we buy them when short on time on a particular evening. The SFL dishes were very easy and quick to cook, straight in the microwave with no stirring etc.

Q3. Portion size was fine for me, I felt full pretty much all evening, just had a yoghurt later on. DH looked sad when he saw the portion size and promptly produced three rounds of bread to eat with the dish. He didn't eat anything else for the rest of the evening but said he would have still been hungry if he hadn't had the bread. I would say he has a large appetite though and mine is average.

Q4. We both liked our dishes, the meat in both was very tender and tasty. The flavour in both meals was better than we had experienced in many other convenience foods. DH's food looked nicer on the plate though, mine looked a bit messy but tasted good. I would never really consider convenience food to be healthy however these meals seemed better than most.

Q5. Hmmm... Not sure. At over £4 each they certainly aren't cheap but the ingredients in the two dishes we tried did seem to be good quality and you do get what you pay for. Compared to other ready meals I'd say they are good value if you are more concerned about flavour than 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?

Probably. I thought that they were better than many convenience foods I have tried, just not something I would eat regularly. As a family with young children we tend to eat home cooked meals most days. I would buy something from this range again and recommend them to others in the right circumstances.

Ingles2 Wed 30-May-12 22:33:47

Extra responses from Dh for his beef casserole. He would like to point out he's not on a diet and not interested in diet food. He also says he wouldn't buy convenience diet ever.

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?
Dh cooked his in the oven, alongside the oven chips he dug out of the freezer on seeing the size of the portion!

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 says the amount of stew was fine, but is not enough as a stand alone meal and needs extra veg / carbs.

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 says he was disappointed with the taste and flavour,. It had very little meat, it tasted processed (which dh thinks of oven cooking plastic containers)
and the carrots hadn't been cooked in the stew, so didn't add any flavour which wasn't surprising as they were tasteless.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why? No..

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?
On the basis of that meal, no.

MrsPnut Thu 31-May-12 12:16:35

I bought my dishes yesterday and will be trying them tonight and tomorrow, however my DP can't participate because there were no vegetarian options.

sophmiester Thu 31-May-12 14:29:51

There was lots of availability in the Harrogate store when I went on Sunday prob 15+ choices, although as I wanted these for lunches at work towards the end of the week there was limited choice as most would only last 1-2 days. As I have tried most of the SFL range before I decided to go for 2 of the New dishes (Andalucía style chicken with a tomato, sherry & chorizo sauce and lemon & herb chicken) Both me and DH have previously(last year pre pregnancy) lost over 2 stone in 6 months following the SFL eating plan. This has been the only diet we have managed to stick to for a long period. My favourite dishes are chicken and mushroom tag, seafood linguine and Thai red curry. DH favourite dishes ham hock, pork with cider sauce and chilli. Neither of us are keen on the hotpot type dishes.

I heated these in the microwave as there is no oven at work and besides this is quicker and they taste fine cooked this way. I found the SFL ready meals a lot fresher than normal convenience meals and thought these had more meat than usual. The veg is usually nice and fresh and crisp. These were quick and easy to prepare.
I felt satisfied afterwards but not stuffed, fuller than if I had had a sandwich and packet of crisps and definitely a healthier option. DH finds portions fine unless he is doing a lot of cycling then he needs more.
Andalucía style chicken with a tomato, sherry & chorizo sauce- small portion could have done with some green veg. Nice tender meat and lots of flavour
lemon & herb chicken- good balanced meal but could have done with a bit more zing as it is meant to be lemon chicken.
I think these are good value on the 2 for £6 deal although a bit expensive at full price.
Too much to feed a family on, but good for a quick healthy meal for 1.

I would recommend the SFL range as a way to lose weight without cutting out a foods just managing portion size as this is all easily done with the individual portions.

mrswee Thu 31-May-12 16:19:46

I tried Aromiatic herb and yogurt chicken and Scottish Salmon with soy and ginger. From Edinburgh Princes street foodhall

Q1. The range was good but a bit confussing to try and find in all the differnt departments. The salads jumped out at me but since i was planning to eat a main meal I chose from the dishes that had to be cooked. Both the above dishes grabbed my attention immeditly because they had a very good looking range of ingredients in them.

Q2. I cooked both dishes in the mircowave. I followed the instructions fully. They were both quick and easy to prepare, however I was not happy with the way the salmon dish turned out from the microwave. The salmon was over cooked but the brocolli was undercooked! The rest was cooked fine. The Aromiatic herb and yogurt chicken was fine from the microwave. I don't usually buy microwave meals.

Q3. I did feel full afterwards and for around 2 hours. We both, DH and I, thought the portion size was perfect and generous compared to other meals.

Q4. Both had reasonably good flavour. I was un happy with the over cooked slamon and undercooked brocolli but the dish tasted very nice. The Aromiatic herb and yogurt chicken was a very over powering on the mint and should hvae been called mint yogurt rather than Aromiatic as I hadn;t even expected it to taste of mint as it wasn't mentioned at all. I would consider trying other dishes in the range as a healthy alternitive but probably wouldn't buy either of these two again.

Q5. I do think they were reasonable value for money as had lots of healthy ingerdients and good portions sizes.

Q6. I would not recommend these tow particular dishes due to the over powering taste of the mint and the over cooked/under cooked element to the salmon dish, however I would recommend trying the range, as in gerneral they are healthy, well prepared and good portions.

Bean74 Thu 31-May-12 16:50:42

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 visited the Newbury Retail Park Simply Food Store. I found the SFL quickly in the ready meal section. I had wanted to try the keralan curry but that was sold out by the time I went in (about 2pm). I didn’t fancy many of the other choices so went for the salmon & soy ginger.

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 heated them up in the microwave. They took about 5 minutes to heat up & were very simple 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 did feel full afterwards & it sustained me all evening. My DH said he felt full too (more so than a regular ready meal) but he still had room for chocolate ice cream!

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 liked the taste of the salmon & the vegetables but I was not keen on the black stuff (rice?) which tasted a bit sour to me. My DH liked the taste of it all. I did feel this meal was healthy & good for weight loss as it packed a good amount of food in a meal for a relatively low amount of calories.

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

They are reasonably good value for money in that you do not need any extra side dishes to feel the meal is complete. Having said that I would be more inclined to purchase them on a regular basis if they were around £3.50.

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 for people who want a nutritionally balanced meal that is quick & easy to prepare. They were an ideal choice for me last night when I needed to eat after getting the children to bed at 7 but I still needed to be out the door by 7.30.

Thanks for enabling me to take part in this survey.

birdsofshoreandsea Thu 31-May-12 19:09:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sleepdodger Thu 31-May-12 19:17:08

Er I've been away and come back to a m&s voucher with no message literally just a voucher, is that it? As I complained about a totally messed up Internet delivery before I left I wondered if it was that!!
Thanks

That is how mine came sleepdodger.

gomez Thu 31-May-12 20:54:00

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?

Great on the coeliac front. Rubbish on the vegetarian front not one single option. I knew where the dishes were but the choice was limited. Maybe 10/12 available.

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 for both - wouldn't really buy one that requires 20 mins in the oven. Only eat ready meals when short of time hence no interest in oven cooking.

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 - plenty rice not so much chicken. More traditional pork meal that DH had was a wee bit on the mean side.

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?

Reasonably healthy but I do prefer some fresh veg/salad on the side which would be nice to have included.

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

Mid-range but you are not going to buy for a family of 5 I wouldn't 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?

Not sure - M&S do nicer ready meals to be fair. And if I was looking for quick and healthy probably wouldnt be my first choice. Not because not nice just not my preference.

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 very good range of dishes at the local store and to be honest I had diffculty choosing as I fancied all of them! I ended up going for the Keralan Chicken Curry and the Beef Stroganoff.

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?

The curry was cooked in the oven by me and the stroganoff microwaved separately by dh. Both were the recommnded choices for these dishes. Neiether was afactor inmy choice - my choice had more to do with the eye (and belly!) appeal. I occasionally buy convenience meals and these were comparable in ease to others I've bought.

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 portion size was fine, maybe a little on the small side but I have a very healthy appetite (I'm rather worryingly infamous for it). I did feel full for a few hours afterwards which surprised me. Dh was less impressed and has just confessed he had a slice of bread with his.

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 flavour of mine was very good and the spiciness just right - ready made curries can often be too mild. The samosa crust didn't really work though - you are supposed to lift it up and stir the curry but mine wasn't crispy enough for that so I had to eat it all first. DH again was less impressed - he found his a bit bland.

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

Not really - £4 a portion is quite a lot for a ready meal and they are not different enough to make it worthwhile. I can see dh might be persuaded to pick one up for himself (if he can find one he likes) on the way home if he has to work late, as eating more healthily is very important to him since he developed heart problems.

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 might consider recommending it as an option for those who are trying to lose weight/eat more healthily, but have deep pockets.

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?

Today I found there were bits dotted about the store, amongst the salads, in the ready meals and in the sandwich section. I did actually find a vegetarian one in the sandwich section but it was expensive (£3) and it didn't contain a fork so I went for a sandwich instead.

I chose the Thai Red Chicken Curry for my dh, who does eat meat, and Middle Eastern Spiced Chicken.

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?

Dh heated it in the microwave. Our microwave doesn't have a 850 setting, it goes from 600 to 1000 so he was unsure how long to cook it for. He cooked it for 3 mins on the 1000 setting to be on the safe side. I chose that particular meal for him as I knew he would have to eat late and therefore would want it fast. I normally cook from scratch so it was remarkably quicker than usual. grin

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 found the portion size fine. He is a long distance runner so does have quite a big appetite but was happy with the size of meal. He felt full after the meal.

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 found the meal quite tasty, not too spicy but lots of flavour. He did enjoy it. He would have liked it to be a bit spicier. He did think it seemed a healthier alternative to the rare ready meals he has had in the past. He felt it was quite luxurious and didn't feel like a spartan low fat option. He felt the vegetables were relatively edible although the red pepper was a bit mushy.

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

The meals were a lot more expensive than our usual meals as we normally don't eat meat and cook from scratch.

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?

Dh would recommend it as it was fast yet tasty and satisfying. He and his colleagues work long hours so need to eat quickly in the evening. He didn't feel he had been unhealthy and felt it was a relatively nutritious meal for a ready meal.

I will report again after the Middle Eastern meal has been eaten. This is taking a while as only one of us can eat the meals as there were not vegetarian hot meals to try.

bearcub1 Thu 31-May-12 21:24:26

Q1 I had to ask where the range was located in the store after walking around the food hall once, it was not immediately obvious, although it was on an end aisle. I found the choice limited, however I counted 15 dishes. The names of the choices sounded good, but when I looked inside the pack I was disappointed with the contents inside the dish, because of the size of the portion. I eventually choose a curry dish, a Mexican dish and salad. If I had not had to buy from that range, I would not have bought from the choices and chosen from other products in the store.

Q2 cooked both main dishes in the oven. Same cooking time.
Dont often eat convenience food, but was impressed with the ease and quality of the cooked dishes.

Q3 I found during selection of dishes the portion size to be less than I would have looked for in a complete meal.
The dishes when put on a dinner plate looked very small.
We both snacked later on in the evening, so wouldn't really think that sfl range lived up to the claim.

Q4 taste and quality of the dishes was excellent. Delicious chicken pieces and beef in the Mexican dish. The salad I got for lunch was delicious too. Very tasty and usual tastes. Very different to other ready meals. Meat was very good quality. Tasted like what I expect m&s food to taste like. Lovely.

Q5. The dishes are very expensive. Compared to the value of your meal for two promotions against the sfl range. It took a long time to decide what would be the best value, as for two people would be £8 or so. A very expensive food bill if regularly purchased, and would prefer to buy alternative products in store.

Q6 I don't think I would go out my way to recommend the range. If it came up in conversation we enjoyed the meal, but the cost would put me off raving about it to everyone. I can't see that I would buy from the range, and prefer the offer of the meal for two instead.

mckenzie Thu 31-May-12 21:24:27

I still haven't received any vouchers Helen.

Gled1 Thu 31-May-12 21:31:50

Q1. Loads of choice in my local M&S Food. Some were quite wintery but there was enough summery choices available to make the decision difficult. I opted for Salmon with broccoli, beans & rice + Thai red curry. I was surprised only to find main/evening meals as I don't necessarily want to be "fuller longer" a few hours before bed. I was expecting to find some options targeted at breakfast/lunch-times, maybe smaller portions of the same dishes, sandwiches and salads.

Q2. Really easy to prepare in the microwave. I don't buy many convenience foods, mostly when DH is away, but these dishes were really quick and felt like they were suited to microwave cooking. Don't know whether I should admit this but if eating by myself, I would probably eat straight from the bowl to save on washing up!

Q3. We both though the portion size was more than adequate (although by DH doesn't have a huge appetite). Didn't feel over-full afterwards as the ingredients were fresh & light but didn't feel hungry either.

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 really enjoyed the dishes as some of the ingredients were quite unusual, not ones I'd purchase for use in home cooking. The salmon dressing was a little acidic by the end of the meal though.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why? I would purchase if eating alone / as a treat but not because of the "fuller longer" statement.

Q6. I would recommend because the meals were interesting and tasted good. They also appear to be quite healthy. They would be good if someone was on a diet but I think they should be targeted more to lunch-time. If this was the case, I might consider taking to work which is where I feel most hungry and snack more.

charlie7 Thu 31-May-12 21:58:47

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 found the salads in the range first as they were near the front of the store. I chose two of these before realising there were other dishes - I had to ask where these were.
I liked the salalds immediately but then most of the range seemed good - some were a bit too heavy for me as it was a very hot day! The fajitas looked good.

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 chose the salads (one with chicken and couscous and one with edame beans. I also chose the fajita dish. For this, I used the microwave and it was fine. Dont usually eat much 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?
We both thought the portion size was great and felt full after.

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 really enjoyed all the dishes and they were pretty healthy (if a bit carb heavy) but I would feel happier eating these than most others I have seen around.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
For M and S I thought they were reasonable,

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 probably recommend, healthy and filling and good quality.

sunnydays81 Thu 31-May-12 22:24:24

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 range of about 14 different SFL dishes available but it took me a while to find them in store. Although i am not a vegetarian i often opt for veggie options but out of the 14 dishes there were none and i couldnt find any instore. The dishes that immediately stood out to me were the curry dishes and the paella

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 chose the paella with chicken and king prawns and the keralan chicken curry with spiced samosa crust and i forgot to look at the cooking instructions instore- (i was to busy trying to decide which ones to have) but found out that the chicken curry needed to be cooked in the oven which wasnt a problem as it only took 30 mins to cook and the paella 20 minutes so i just put the timer on and added it after 10 minutes. If i ever have a ready meal i usually put it in the microwave for speediness but i found the SFL very simple 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?

We ended up sharing the 2 meals between us as i couldnt decide on which one to eat, the Paella was very filling but the curry although very tasty wasn't as filling as i hoped. My husband felt the same and was glad that he had the rice from the paella.

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 the paella, it was very tasty and had lots of prawns, chicken and chorizo in it. The keralan curry was super tasty, tasting like a takeaway meal but without being horrible oiliness of my local indian so i felt very healthy eating it, I definetly felt they were healthier options to other ready meals. My husband also loved the paella and its flavour but the curry wasn't spicy or tasty enough for him but i think some of this is the fact that he is from sri lanka and just likes spicy curries that he cooks himself!

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
They are more expensive than other ready meals but i feel they are good value for something special every now and again when you are rushed for time but want to eat something that is a little bit healthier but i think it would be a bit expensive to buy them on a regular basis
.
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 it came up in conversation I would mention to people that i had tried them but i wouldn't go out of my way to tell people as i don't think most of my friends would be able to afford to buy them

MrsSpa Thu 31-May-12 22:36:28

Yes, I also assumed that it was a clothing range initially! Anyway, I know exactly what it is now.
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 bought my meals in an M&S food store and easily found the range which was next to the count on me but clearly different packaging - easy to see what was on offer and there were plenty to choose from. I went for dishes that I wouldn't normally cook so got the salmon/rice one and the prawn paella.

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 didn't check the cooking instructions before I bought them, though assumed they'd be microwavable, which they were. East to prepare. I don't normally get convenience meals so can't compare but yes very easy.

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 meal didn't look very big but found it surprisingly filling - maybe because of the beans. DH had the paella and didn't find it enough 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?
Paella was fine. Wasn't madly keen on the sauce with the salmon, didn't have the fresh flavours I associate with asian cooking. They did seem healthy though.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I wouldn't normally buy ready meals anyway, but £8 for two people's not very special dinner seems a lot. If i was spending £4 each on a meal I'd be expecting it to be a slap up roast with pudding too...

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 nice and healthy if you wanted ready meals and didn't mind paying that much.
thanks for the freebies M&S!

Puddlet Thu 31-May-12 22:43:12

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 were about six to choose from (this was a small service station M&S at Scotch Corner rather than a big store). It was a reasonably good selection with a mix of fish and meat. I thought about the meatballs and salmon but eventually decided on the Cod Mornay and the Thai Chicken.

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 heated them in the microwave. This was definitely quick and easy. We do sometimes get dine in for £10 which often has potatoes that need to go in the oven which does take longer.

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?
Well, I had a look at the portions in the shop and added garlic baguette, a bottle of wine and a pudding (!). I realised afterwards that by sharing the garlic bread we had almost doubled the calories in the meals. The portions really weren’t big enough for us but I am BF a five month old and DH is famously “never knowingly underfed”!

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 thought that they were both really tasty. The thai chicken looked attractive and the flavours were nicely balanced. I thought there was quite a lot of rice compared to chicken. The cod didn’t look filling but there was more than we thought in the dish. DH said it was proper comfort food.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I think they are good value for the freshness and convenience though at prices around £4 each I think they’d be an occasional treat.

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 I would recommend them although possibly not to other breastfeeding mums!

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 found them quite easily but there were a lot of gaps on the shelf, so not a wide variety to choose from. The streak and mushroom pie grabbed my eye immediately and the meatballs dish 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 cooked the steak in the oven and the meatballs in mike. I don't often buy convience meals and it was actually fine. I think it would tempt me to buy PingMeals in the future.

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 had to eat both as DH was away. Over 2 nights, obvis. wink
I didn't add any extras to the meal - I normally have quite a lot of veg/salad on the side, but certainly felt full enough without any vegetables.

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 were both lovely - I really enjoyed them, tyvm. I'd see them as a healthy option, yes, and look out for them again.

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

Both diishes were £4 each - thought that was a bit pricey tbh.

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 recommend them on basis of taste, but am a bit meh about the fuller longer assertions.

Thank you for this opportunity.

smile

wink

acsec Thu 31-May-12 22:56:52

I tried the chicken tikka masala and DP had the Soy Marinated Chicken Breast With Rice Noodles In A Mushroom & Miso Dressing

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 had to ask where the SFL range was as it was not immediately apparent. Once found there were quite a few dishes to choose from, many of which I would have liked to try.

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 rarely buy convenience foods, however I was in a rush this evening and heated the meals in the microwave. They were 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 found my meal to be sufficient as I wasn't very hungry this evening, DP said he could have done with some more food. I was full for quite a while though I had a cereal bar about 2hrs later.

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 both enjoyed the dishes we tried (and each others) The calorie content was quite high, by my standards, on many of the dishes as was the fat and salt content on some

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why? We both tried very different meals and thought they were quite good value for money, though as I don't buy convenience so can't really compare to others.

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 the range to others, yes.

CheeryCherry Thu 31-May-12 23:17:15

Another disappointed vegetarian here sad as I tried Leeds city station store and the Keithley store.....not a single veggi option. When is the closing date for this? I may get to another bigger store but not til next week.

Parrish Fri 01-Jun-12 07:31:47

1. Only 8 dishes. Not really a lot of choice. I noticed the fish ones immediately! I don't like other meat.
2. I chose seafood linguine & cod mornay. I chose them specifically for microwave cooking. They were similar to prepare like other ready meals.
3. Portion size of linguine was rather large! I felt really full for ages, no evening snacking for me! DH felt the same about mornay dish. He was full too.
4. I loved mine and will buy again. I would have loved some more green veg in the dish. I do think it was fairly healthy...11 weightwatchers points! DH fairly ambivalent.
5. They were good value, compared to other ready meals.
6. Yes I would. Definitely good for dieters. I would put WW points on the packaging though!

fivesacrowd Fri 01-Jun-12 09:59:21

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?

Loads of SFL dishes available although did find that Count on Us and SFL being next to one another on shelves was a bit confusing. In the end I chose two dishes from the food to go section and one from the main ready meal section.

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?

Had penne pasta and tomato dish which I put in the oven for the recommended time, as easy to prepare as any other M&S pasta meal. Other dishes where ready to eat once dressing was added.

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?

Both dh and I had Harissa chicken and couscous salad - was delish - both felt full afterwards and was just right portion size for lunch. I also tried Asian King Prawn and Rice Salad - not keen on the whole pea pods, wasn't as tasty as the chicken dish and def didn't feel as 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?

Enjoyed pasta dish and chicken dish - not so much prawn salad. Remove the pea pods and maybe add some other pulses instead. Def thought the meals were healthy choices.

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

I often grab something quickly for lunch in M&S and thought Harissa chicken salad was good value compared to what I normally buy. Pasta dish was as good value as other pasta dishes although I tend to buy when they are on offer so not sure if I would chose this instead.

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?
Def buy the harissa chicken salad again - dh didn't hit the biscuits when he came in from work so he was fuller longer.

Groovee Fri 01-Jun-12 12:13:44

Marking my place for later

whattodoo Fri 01-Jun-12 13:49:42

I tried the Roast Pork Loin with apple & cider sauce, Hoisin Duck & noodles, Chicken & tomato Risotto (some were reduced in price, hence being able to buy 3 dishes!)

Q1. There was quite a good stock, but I didn't notice many vegetarian options. Some of the items were reduced (I visited Tuesday lunchtime) due to the Use by date.
There was a good choice, and all looked very tasty. I chose the lighter looking options as it was a hot day.

Q2. I heated all the dishees in the microwave as I took them to work and there is no other heating option. I don't often buy ready prepared food, but they were very easy to prepare and came out extremely hot, with no hotspots or cold places.

Q3. Excellent portion sizes. I felt full afterwards.

Q4. A 3 dishes were very tasty and enjoyable. The risotto and noodles looked very inviting when heated and smelt delicious. The pork looked less tempting (was very brown) but was the tastiest of the lot. They all seemed to be healthy, with plenty of veg, trimmed meat and good portion size.

Q5. The dishes were reasonable value, as an occassional, convenient meal. I wouldn't consider them to be something I'd spend on more than once a week max.

Q6. I'd recommend all 3 dishes to friends/family as they were tasty, convenient and healthy.

I thought the packaging was very good, the labelling clear eg how many of your 5-a-day the meal contained.

Thank you!

theodora Fri 01-Jun-12 13:55:30

Q1.
It was quite easy to find the range, it was in the middle of the store. There was a big choice. The cod mornay grabbed my attention immediately as it looked like tasty comfort food. I chose cod mornay for me and chicken harissa salad for my husband.

Q2.
I did not look at the prep method before buying. I cooked the cod in the microwave as it said this would achieve best results. I never normally buy microwave food, so was amazed that I could get a tasty meal in 4 minutes! Yes, I was impressed as it was so quick and easy.

Q3.
We ate our choices for lunch and were both full afterwards. I tend to have a larger portion size than my husband and we both thought it was a good amount for lunch. We both had a packet of crisps afterwards, but I think that was mainly habit, rather than hunger!

Q4.
My husband really enjoyed his harissa chicken and couscous. I also enjoyed the cod, but thought the cheese sauce tasted a bit watery (or not cheesy enough), but this was probably because it was a low cal meal.

Q5.
I think £4 for lunch every day would be quite expensive, but as an occasional treat, when you want something quick, easy and tasty, it seems fine.

Q6.
If I'm honest, I probably wouldn't recommend them as I'd be embarrassed to admit to buying ready meals! If someone was specifically asking about ready meals to help with dieting, I would definitely say I'd been part of this trial and had found the SFL range very good.

I am unlikely to buy from this range on a regular basis as we have four children and we tend to eat the same food together. I wouldn't like the idea of everyone sitting down to their separate meals as it is important to us to all share communal food. It would also be v expensive.

One final point: once I had chosen the cod for me, I checked the back of the packet and it said not suitable for shell fish allergy sufferers. I do have a shell fish allergy, but decided I'd risk it as I really wanted the cod! I imagine I will be fine and the packaging has to say that to cover themselves (I hope!).

Welshchick Fri 01-Jun-12 13:58:57

I visited the store in Cheshire Oaks. I thought that the range representing good choice and was attractive on the shelf. I chose the paella and also the Mexican beef and wedges. I chose these because I regularly buy paella as a ready made dish and also like to cook it myself. We are also really into Mexican dishes in our house at the moment (no idea why?!?).

I cooked the paella in the microwave and the Mexican beef in the oven. I am glad I cooked the beef dish in the oven because the wedges crisped up. I can nay imagine them being 'soggy' in the microwave. They were both easy to cook and the instructions were clear and no fuss. I think they are on a par with other ready meals and I could not think of a way that this needed to be improved upon.

Both portions were large enough for me and I felt full after eating them. However, I don't think that my husband would have been full after eating the beef due to the fact that it contained very little beef, mostly tiny shreds. I was surprised that I did actually feel full for a long time afterwards. I know that this is the idea behind them, but I have to say that I was not convinced prior to eating them.

The Mexican beef actually tasted really nice. The spice level was great, it tasted full of quality ingredients. However, sadly I did not feel the same way about the paella. The rice was swimming in tomato sauce which left a distinct after taste - acidic, sweetener? The chicken was particularly tasteless. The quality of the chorizo was questionable. It was so poor that normally I would have returned it as I believe that it was substandard. I did not have the nerve to return it considering that I had been given the £10 to buy it with. As I have already mentioned I buy paella frequently and this is without doubt the worst one I have tasted to date.

TBH I probably would not buy either dish again, I just don't think either represented good value for money. For £4 I could have made something better myself. I would probably just buy from regular ranges for ready made convenience food, e.g. I like the regular m&s paella. Consequently, I think it is unlikely that I would recommend them to friends, etc.

DoodleAlley Fri 01-Jun-12 14:03:39

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 found the SFL meals fairly easily as the store that I visited was a fairly small city centre food store and only had two aisles of ready meals. I would say that the packaging doesnt stand out fantastically and perhaps in a bigger store I might have struggled to locate the range.

The selection was excellent - similar to the Count on Us range which was located adjacent to this range. There were both a good number of dishes to choose from and a great variety of types of food - better than any other ready meal range I've seen. They felt like proper grown up meals!

There were a good three or four further meals that I really liked the look of.

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 the Ham Hock in a Tangy Mustard Sauce and the Chicken and Three Mushroom Tagliatelle. I would only choose meals which could be microwaved. These meals are, after all, meant to be quick to prepare. I do periodically buy meals from M and S's Count on Us range and the SFL meals seemed similar in terms of their ease and speed of preparation.

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?

At first both DH and I thought that the portion size was small (I think this is exacerbated by the fact the packs seem a little larger than normal to allow for an attractive displaying of the contents) but were both really suprised by how full we felt. I nearly stopped eating mine before the end (an event usually only instigated in me by acts of war, extreme and immediate natural disasters and death). Both of us agreed by the end that the portion size was very well chosen.

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 can't emphasise enough how much DH and I were impressed with the taste of the meals. They tasted like "proper" meals. The ingredients tasted of proper ingredients in a freshly cooked meal, rather than the subdued and oversalted ready meals we have had from other establishments. (This is an compliment that I would also apply to the many of the Count on Us meals we have had previously). If anything, these tasted even fresher than the Count On Us meals I've had.

We also loved the fact that the ingredients list actually included foods rather than food substitutes and chemicals and because of that alone I would rate them as being healthier than alternative ready meals.

Additionally, the Count On Us meals have weight watcher points marked on the back as a guide. I worked out the weight watchers points for the SFL meals we bought and the Ham meal came in really low for a ready meal, with the pasta being slightly higher but within the normal range.

Given all of these factors I was very pleased and would rate them as being a healthy and yummy choice!

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

Ah. Hmm.

I wish I could answer yes for this. They're just that bit more expensive that it makes me think twice. I've been happy to pay for the meals on the Count On Us range but at the time I purchased these the SFL seemed to just tip over the balance into expensive. I do think they have adequate value as you get a high quality product but at 50 pence cheaper I'd think they were excellent value.

Additionally, my perception is that I've seen other ranges on offer but not seen SFL on offer, but then I haven't considered this range before.

I would buy them as a treat - perhaps as an alternative to a takeaway. And that would represent a cost saving. But at £4 its not a habit I can take up, as much as I'd want to!

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 - but with a warning that it's not a cheap option

SundaeGirl Fri 01-Jun-12 14:31:51

Q1. Lots to choose from, store well stocked. I went for the ones that said 'new' on them because they looked summery/seasonal - and were longer dated than others (quite important as things can get busy and I have to eat out or whatever).

Q2. I bought 3 dishes: the chicken with feta orzo, the Andalucian style chicken and the aromatic herb and yogurt chicken. I tried the 'best method' and the microwave ones were fab but the Andalucian chicken is a faff for a ready meal - you have to peel the film off half way through cooking meaning you can't forget it until a bell rings and there's your lunch. It was quick though at 20 mins.

Q3. Portion sizes fine. I felt fuller for longer! Very excitingly I went to the cinema after eating one and - for the first time in years - didn't take any snacks into the show. In fact, I queued up for popcorn out of habit and when I got to the front just thought 'actually, I don't really fancy any'. I ate DH's at lunch today because he's been away at mealtimes and I wanted to make sure this review got done (and it looked yummy...).

Q4. I really thought the dishes were great. My favourite was the one with feta, my least favourite was the Anadulcian as the potatoes didn't quite crisp. However, this is a brilliant range and modern favours and so on.

Q5. It's too expensive for me, but I don't think it is too expensive in itself. If there are offers on I will buy the freezable ones but otherwise I'm more in the £1.99 count on us macaroni bracket.

Q6. Really brilliant. I'd definitely recommend this - the range is so wide and so far from boring that I think it's the best diet food you can buy at the supermarkets and the other supermarkets, even Waitrose, have nothing that comes close.

Somersaults Fri 01-Jun-12 14:48:41

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 were quite a few diches to choose from with only one that was labelled on the shelf missing (out of stock I guess). I think there was a fair choice but not as much as you can find in similar ranges elsewhere. The first dish that caught my eye was the Keralan Chicken Curry with Spiced Samosa Crust becasue it sounded interesting and unusual, and I thought straight away that it was something DH would like to try. I bought that one and for me, who is actually quite fussy, I bought the Beef and Chianti Ragu with Rigatoni Pasta.

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 usually microwave these kind of ready meals but the Keralan Curry needed oven cooking, I'm guessing because of the samosa crust, so we oven cooked both meals together at a temperatue in the middle of the temperature stated on each. It really makes no difference to us when we're buying whether it is oven cook or microwave. These were just as easy to prepare as any other meal of this type we've had.

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 compared to a usual ready meal portion size. I would normally just eat the ready meal whereas DH would usually add a salad or garlic bread or something to his to bulk it up a bit. Funnily though, DH said he was quite full after just the Keralan Curry and didn't really snack much at all throughout the rest of the evening whereas I was full immediately afterwards but snacked just the same as usual for the rest of the night. I'm breastfeeding though so I do have a tendency to graze a lot at the moment. I think DH was surprised he felt full because he thought it didn't look like much food on the plate when it was served.

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 thought the pasta sauce was very tasty and was surprised how tasty it was, it was nice and tomatoey. It was tastier than most ready meals of that sort (Italian) but I don't think enough so that I would go out of my way to recommend it to others. DH on the other hand really enjoyed his curry. He commented on the taste a few times during the meal and since and really enjoyed the flavours. He thought the samosa went soggy quite quickly once out of the oven and thought the cauliflower was a bit 'powdery' (I don't eat cauliflower but this seems like a strange description to me so sorry if it makes no sense!) but overall he enjoyed it a lot and would eat it again.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
The dishes were slightly more expensive than we would normally pay for ready meals but not greatly so and I don't think they were more expensive than ranges such as Tesco Finest. We tend not to buy those more expensive ones currently because I'm on maternity leave and money is tight, but I wouldn't say that they were too expensive for what they were and perhaps when I'm back at work they are something we would consider buying again.

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?
DH has already told his parents and friends of ours about his curry so I think the answer for him is definitely yes. I wouldn't mention it out of nowhere but if it came up in conversation I would say that I enjoyed the meal and that it was tasty. Then I'd let people make up their own minds. Perhaps it was because I chose a fairly standard ready meal combination with minced meat in a tomato sauce with pasta, it's just not special enough to recommend above other similar dishes.

Q1. There was a good selection of meals, all together in one cabinet which made it easy to choose between them. I tried the ham hock in mustard sauce as that's the kind of meal I enjoy made from scratch, but find too time consuming to make on a week night.

Q2. I microwaved it, I was pleasantly surprised to find it only took 3 minutes to heat, with no stirring/ peeling off lid, etc, halfway through. Genuine "convenience" food as I only had to put it in the microwave and take it out 3 mins later to eat

Q3. Portion size was pretty good, didn't look massive in the pack but took me longer than I expected to eat it. Normally I would add extra veg on the side but didn't for the purpose of this product test.

Q4. Flavour was pretty good - I wasn't too sure at the first taste as the sauce was a little unusual (and I usually have apple sauce with gammon) but as I continued eating it grew on me. Often with ready meals they taste worse with every bite and that wasn't the case with this one! Enjoyed it to the last mouthful. It seemed like a good balance - not necessarily quite as tasty as a very high fat/ high cal meals, but definitely nicer than most low fat meals, and a very reasonable amount of calories/ fat. I was also pleased with the list of ingredients - I recognised them all for a start!

Q5. Umm... good value compared to a takeaway I guess, but more than I would pay per-portion for meals generally.

Q6. I would recommend to busy working couples/ singles as a handy evening meal during the week, not so good for families as too costly to get one per person!

theodora Fri 01-Jun-12 17:10:25

Sorry, also meant to say that I thought my cod mornay looked very impressive for a ready meal and the peas and beans were not overcooked (for some reason I think that cooking a meal altogether in the microwave for a single length of time would lead to mushy overcooked veg?!).

Also the list of ingredients was very impressive
Thanks a lot.

Groovee Fri 01-Jun-12 17:31:36

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?

There was a small amount of dishes maybe 8 of salmon, Cod, Hoisin Duck, next to the count on us range. I went round the corner andd found a larger range. Dh chose Beef in red wine and I chose Beef Stroganoff. They had no chicken pie left which dh wanted and I was being drawn to the hoisin duck.

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?

As the oven was on, dh's was recommended for oven cook. So I popped it in, It made the cubes of potatoes quite crispy. Mine was done in the microwave. Cooking ease didn't matter. I don't normally buy ready meals but they looked ok.

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?

On first sight, I thought they were a bit stingy but then when we ate them we were both impressed with how much you got. Dh said he felt full at the time of eating. Whereas I feel stuffed.

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 felt his was very bland, but the red wine was bit over powering on the beef. I felt mine lacked a taste. The orange colour of the sauce felt synthetic. Maybe more herbs could be used to flavour. The veg on the stroganoff was perfectly crisp.*

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I felt they were ok but only something I would buy once in a while, if they were a bit cheaper then I may consider them. But I can feed a whole family for the price of one 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?

I would recommend them to friends or family if they needed to go a while between food.

picc Fri 01-Jun-12 19:16:27

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?

Wasn't that much there, to be honest. Not that easy to find. Guessed it would be next to the Count on Us range (which had a sign). It was.
Chose Beef in red wine sauce / casserole thing for both of us.

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. I don't usually buy convenience food, so if I do, I want it to be very very convenient. If I have to wait for something to cook in the oven, there's no point!!

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?

Now this was weird. Tardis-like weird! I looked at it and thought "No way is that a meal!!" I do lots of exercise, but also eat too much. I ate it. And was full. I was amazed!! (Husband, however, won't have had all the snacks and stuff that I've had all day. He also does a lot of exercise. This portion size isn't enough for him. But he's not on a diet....)

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?

God! Actually delicious!! Another surprise.... Really!! Loved the carrots.... And the beef was nice.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I don't buy convenience foods usually, as can't afford them. And like to cook fresh, anyway. I guess compared to other ready-made meals, it's not bad in terms of price. Especially as the ingredients were good, and it really tasted nice. We don't even eat takeaways that often, but I might choose this as an alternative to one some time.

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. If they were looking for a special treat but were on a diet. Or if they didn't have kids and could afford what I would term as a luxury!! ;-) If you're going to buy ready meals, this is a good option, as it was tasty and the ingredients seemed to be pretty decent.

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 found the meal range quite quickly in the Milton Keynes Store.....but I also asked a member of staff whether there was anything else in the range and she said no........so I was quite surpised to see on here that there are salads available!! The range that I saw seemed to provide a good mix of different styles of dish. The ones I chose were the chicken tortilla and the mexican beef with potato wedges.

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 heated both in the oven. The quality of both seemed good. I don't usually buy ready meals as a rule and I felt that the ease of cooking was fine.
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 both DH and I was adequate. I found this particularly interesting for DH with the chicken tortilla as he likes to see a "full plate". I definately felt full and DH said it was enough for him...so definately full!

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 mexican beef dish was IMO lovely. Really nice to have something like this that was made with pieces of beef rather than a chilli made from mince which seems to be the rule with ready meals
Although DH enjoyed his dish, he did feel that it could have done with being spicier.
Neither of us thought that this food seemed particularly "healthy" or in fact even a healthier option. (Although maybe that is the point!!)

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
£8 for 2 meals is I suppose not bad considering it is M&S - I usually buy naice food in there as a treat. But in truth as someone who rarely buys this type of meal, then maybe it is an extravagance. I dont know that I would want to purchase them on a regular basis for a few meals during a week
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 mentioned to my sister that I had tried them, they were'nt spectacular, just a nice alternative. Don't think I'd go out of my way to inform others

frankie76 Fri 01-Jun-12 20:12:38

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?

It was easy to find and it's own clear section
There for me was not enough choice though as I am vegetarian so I had to buy the 2 dishes for my husband to try - I found this really disappointing
From his point of view though there was enough choice and they all sounded tasty

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?

Both were microwaved
They were really fast to do nd obviously really easy
I expect this from convenience meals though even though we don't buy them at all

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 felt that they looked a good size and my partner felt they were ok too - what he would expect
But saying that he did say he was a bit hungry after - would have likes more pasta with the beef dish
Paella was the same could do with a bit more to be fully satisfied

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 husband has the beef dish with pasta and he didn't like it - the meat tasted boiled and not sautéed and was too bland
The paella had a bad aftertaste of raw garlic that lasted - there was no saffron flavour and badly cut peppers
He is a chef so his standards are high!!

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
If they lived upto the flavours and packaging then I feel they old be worth the money

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 because the flavours were not good

applestrudel Fri 01-Jun-12 20:14:08

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 thought that there was a very good choice of dishes in the store I visited. I chose 2 – one for me and one for DH – but quite fancied quite a few of the other dishes and spent a while um-ing and ah-ing over which to go for. I went for Roasted beef meatballs and spaghetti and Smokey Mexian chicken open fajita in the end but hadn’t made up my mind which I was going to let DH have…I liked the look of the ham hock one and the angel hair one (of those I can remember) and I nearly went for the Japanese noodle one for DH. One thing I didn’t think was very good was the way they were presented on the shelf, however. There were too many piled up on top of each other meaning that in order to see what dishes they were, you had to keep pulling the top one out from underneath the shelf above to look at it – none of them were visible without pulling them out, whereas it would be easier if you could see the names/pictures just by looking.

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 hadn’t looked at the instructions until I went to cook them – rather annoyingly, one of them had to be oven heated and the other in the microwave. They were both very easy to prepare though – as easy as any other convenience meal I’ve ever had, certainly.

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?

Both DH and I thought they were smaller than the normal portion size we would have, although as I commented to DH, I think that is because our portions are normally too large rather than these portions actually being too small.
I felt very full afterwards which surprised me given the portion size. DH also said he felt surprisngly full and it crossed my mind whether M and S had actually put some sort of chemical in them which was designed to do just that!

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?

In the end I had the spaghetti and I found it okay in terms of flavour but nothing to write home about. It was spicier than I’d imagined (I’d missed the bit that said ‘with a spiced tomato and pepper sauce’) but the meatballs were nice and firm, with a nice herby flavour. There were plenty of meatballs and the sauce was ‘wet’ enough; there was also a strong tomatoey flavour to it. I bit down on one small bit of gristle which wasn’t very nice and overall I found the dish a bit ‘samey’ in terms of flavour. I guess there weren’t enough different elements to it. I felt it was a reasonably ‘healthy’ in terms of ready meals…it certainly had a low calorie count, which I consider appealing.
DH said his fajita was really crisp around the sides but soggy underneath and asked me whether I’d cooked it on a baking tray. He said the taste was nothing special; it was okay, but not spicy enough and the flavours weren’t distinct enough.
Overall, my judgement is that this is where the range falls down. Everything else about the meals was good (calories, choice etc) but in terms of flavour, they were nothing special.

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

I was surprised to see how much they cost – I would have thought they’d be slightly cheaper. I think that in order to represent value for money then, yes they should be cheaper. Each one only served one person so it’s an expensive meal if it’s for two of you. (ie, you have to buy two of them).

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?

For me they would have a very specific use: I would buy one for myself if DH was going out and therefore wasn’t going to be home for dinner. This is because he is the main cook in our house and also because I can never be bothered to cook a proper meal if it’s just to feed myself. I would never buy one each for an evening meal for both of us – they are too expensive for that, plus it just wasn’t tasty enough. I might recommend the range as a whole to a friend who was trying to lose weight (not having tasted all of the dishes) but I wouldn’t recommend the dish I tried. I do think it’s a great idea for a range though.

im having some trouble getting hold of the SFL range in my local M&S...DH is taking me to the big one tomorrow smile

chrissie66 Fri 01-Jun-12 21:08:21

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 M&S at Fosse Park, Leicester. There was a good range in the SFL range including salads, however I struggled to find something that was suitable for myself as I don't like spicy foods.

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 chose the cod mornay (£3.99) and my DH chose Keralan chicken
curry with spiced samosa crust (£3.99). We also both tried the slow cooked pork loin with apple and cider gravy as it had been reduced to £3.00. the dishes were easy to prepare - I heated the them up in the oven which only took 20 mins (quicker than most convenience foods).

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 size was good although we both felt that we could have eaten slightly more.

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 cod mornay although the sauce was a bit watery and it could have done with slightly more flavour. The vegetables were just right and the mash was lovely and creamy. The pork loin was okay but I didn't enjoy the sauce as there was onion and garlic in it - something I wasn't expecting from the description of apple & cider gravy. My DH enjoyed both dishes and described them as being very tasty.

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

Personally, at £3.99 for most dishes, I wouldn't be able to afford to buy from the SFL range on a regular basis but I would consider purchasing as an occasional treat.

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 definitely suggest to my mother that she tries the SFL range as she sometimes shops in M&S anyway. I would however, also tell her, that although excellent quality, the dishes are quite expensive.

jacqueline971 Fri 01-Jun-12 22:51:47

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 purchased my dishes from my local Simply Food M&S and although the range was quite good I would like to see if there were more items available from a larger store. There was a reasonable choice and the Katsu curry chicken was the first to grab my attention as it sounded unusual. I also chose the Lochmuir salmon fillet after having a good look at the range as it looked the most appealing to me and the vegetables looked nice and fresh.

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 didn't check the cooking instructions until I got home and had presumed you could cook them in the microwave. This is how I cooked them in the end as I was short of time. I haven't bought that many ready meals in the last few years (apart from the odd 'meal for £10' from M&S!) so can't say I have that much to compare them to in terms of ease of preparation but I did find them quick and easy to heat up.

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 ate both meals as lunches and they were plenty big enough for a good meal at that time of day. For me personally I would happily have that size of meal for a main evening meal too but although my DH didn't try the meals I am sure he would have said the portion size wasn't big enough for his main meal and I would have ended up giving him extra rice or vegetables to bulk it out on the plate a bit. I definitely felt full afterwards and for the rest of the afternoon too. It was a really nice change to have a 'proper' hot dish at lunchtime too!

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 really enjoyed both the meals although the katsu curry was probably my favourite as the flavours were delicious. The vegetables and the salmon were cooked just as I like them after the recommended time in the microwave so I was very happy with that meal too. I definitely think the ingredients in the meals looked fresher and less processed than in the ready meals I used to buy two or three years ago but as I don't really buy them very often now I can't really compare them fairly to the current competition. As the ingredients appear less processed I would consider them more healthy than my perception of a normal ready meal but I also check the nutritional content of what I buy quite carefully and would only really buy products that were showing mainly green and orange traffic light coding.

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

I felt that £3.99 was quite expensive for a meal for one person but then all convenience food is more expensive as you are paying for the preparation etc. I think they probably compare favourably price wise with other products of this quality in the marketplace and you get what you pay for. I would buy them again but really only as a 'treat' meal for myself if I wanted the convenience of not preparing the food myself and this isn't something I would do that often. I wouldn't spend £8 on buying two as a meal for myself and DH as compared to the 'meal for £10' deal it's expensive so if we wanted a treat of this type we'd have it when the offer was 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 I would recommend both the dishes, especially the katsu chicken curry, as if you're going to buy a ready meal these were high quality and tasty. I would however mention the price at the same time as most of my friends and family wouldn't normally buy that type of meal and may be put off by the price if I didn't tell them that bit too.

pipsqueak Fri 01-Jun-12 23:01:16

i bought sandwiches wraps from the range . cant recall names niow . there was no other food in this range in my local store although the store is being refurbished so that may be why . i bought 4 different wraps for a longish car journey . all liked them but there was not a huge chioice and i thought they were not such good value as the normal range

MrsPnut Sat 02-Jun-12 08:02:54

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 Lincoln store and was quite surprised to find that there were 18 dishes to choose from because it's such a small store. I liked the sound of a few of them but decided upon the Paella with chicken and king prawns and the salmon with soy and ginger. I also went to the food to go bit and chose harrissa chicken with couscous salad

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 both dishes, purely for convenience. Cooking method didn't factor in purchase decisions and i rarely buy convenience meals but the reheat time is about what i would give something homemade I was reheating.

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 sizes were about right, my DP couldn't try any because there were no vegetarian options. I did feel pretty full afterwards and didn't 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?
The rice and soya beans in the salmon with soy and ginger became tedious very quickly, so much so that I didn't finish it all. the soy and ginger flavour wasn't very pronounced either but the salmon fillet was a decent size. The harrisa chicken salad and the paella were both very delicious, I enjoyed the flavours of both and ate every scrap.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I think at £4 a go, they are expensive. I might buy one for myself if I was going to be home alone for the weekend but not otherwise.

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 recommend the paella dish to my grandmother because she buys a few ready meals from M&S but they are expensive for everyday family eating

membershipcard Sat 02-Jun-12 10:07:46

I am going to buy mine today so will let you know.

jennywren123 Sat 02-Jun-12 12:27:49

I purchased Chicken Katsu Curry and Chicken & vegetable hotpot.

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 quite a large range in the store which I visited (which is a mainly food store). They had traditional british meals and also international meals. I was surprised at how much choice there was. I think it must have just been restocked all the shelves were full.

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 prepared both of the meals in the oven. I prefer to cook ready meals in the oven as I find when I cook them in the microwave, they are really hot at first, but seem to cool down a lot quicker. Oven cooked ready meals seem to hold their heat for longer. I didn't look at the preparation method before I purchased the meals. They were pretty similar to other ready meals. One pet hate I have with ready meals is how tricky it is to remove the film lid once cooked (or before cooking - depending on instructions). It's hardly ever possible to get it off in one go and always splits.

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?

We were pleasantly surprised at the portion sizes. Often we add extra vegetables to bulk out ready meals, but we didn't this time. My DH said that if he had been really hungry he would have probably added some extra veggies.

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?

Chicken Katsu Curry - I mostly enjoyed this, apart from the crunchy bits, I think they must have been water chestnuts or similar, at first I thought that it was bits of root vegetable that weren't cooked properly. Apart from this, I really liked the flavour. I would consider this to be a healthy alternative to other ready meals.

Chicken & Vegetable hotpot - Good taste and flavour, he enjoyed it, would choose it again, but might supplement with more veggies, nice and crispy on top (potatoes), with only 1.3g saturated fat, this seems a very healthy option. We always look at saturated fat content when choosing ready meals.

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

I think these are reasonably priced for what they are - good quality meals. I'd rather pay a little more for better taste/quality.

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 the Chicken and Vegetable hotpot, as it was very healthy and my DH said it was tasty. I wouldn't recommend the Chicken Katsu Curry as I didn't like the crunchy bits.

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 a small food only shop in Edinburgh and there were quite a few in the range but hardly any for vegetarians. I eat fish, just not eat, but there were only two fish dishes. So, in the end I chose a Salmon and Soy Bean one and a Thai yellow curry which was from the Vegetable range on the shelf 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?

I heated them in the oven. I dont usually buy meals like this but it was very quick and easy.

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 fine for me but think if my partner had had them he might not think they were large enough. They filled me at the time (without me feeling particularly full and they kept me going all evening / afternoon)

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 Thai yellow curry but thought it didnt taste that like most of the Thai currys I have had in restaurants. It had a slightly sweet taste. It was very low in calories so I think that was why it tasted less coconutty milk than usual. The salmon and bean dish was delicious - it has a ginger and soy dressing and it was lovely. They both seemed to be very healthy.

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

They were £3.99 which doesnt seem bad for a meal to me although I had one for my lunch at work and that is more than I would usually spend. However, it was tasty and did fill me up so it would be worth it if I was going to be late home or something.

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 the salmon dish but not the thai curry. I would also think about having them again but I do think the vegetarian selection could do with being improved and as most of my family dont eat meat this would prevent me recommending them.

salimali55 Sat 02-Jun-12 19:10:28

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 hardly any choice- but it was at the end of a Saturday. I also found difficulty finding them, I walked around the chilled section several times and in the end asked a helpful M and S lady. The 3 meals there had attractive names but the actual food was variable. I chose the beef stew as it is always a safe dish to try.

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 heated them up in microwave to be quick. Recently had Wiltshire foods and the M and S food was just as easy to prepare. Instructions were good.

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 size was fine. we were sufficiently full too.

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 stew was abit too strong herbs. They did seem healthy as were not smothered in cheese sauces.

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

Price I did initially thought were expensive but they are the same as Wiltshire farm foods, and if you want decent home made tasting or decent quality food, the prices are reasonable. W

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?

We would reccomend them as they were good taste and good flavour and hassle free meals.

lisad123 Sat 02-Jun-12 20:15:39

How long is thread open for? My vouchers haven't arrived yet and now away for half term sad

notasausage Sat 02-Jun-12 21:50:31

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 surprisingly good range in the M&S I went to which wasn't the biggest in the area. I looked at a few and liked that the lids were clear so you could see what you were getting. I eventually chose the Andalucian Chicken for me and the Open Fajita 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 heated both in the oven as the fajita was only for oven heating. I never buy 'convenience' meals and batch cook my own meals ready to put straight in the oven so aside from the preparation, mine are just as easy to reheat as the M&S range.

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 spot on for us and we did feel 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?

We both enjoyed our dishes and DH even commented that he was "pleasantly surprised" by how good his was, and he's a man who is never pleasantly surprised about anything! The fajita stuck to the tray it was cooked in so the effect was lost a little on that one. I don't really think of ready meals as being healthy so haven't compared how healthy these are to other options.

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

I personally wouldn't pay £4 for a single dish when I have 4 to feed. For a single person or people with plenty of money I think they probably are reasonable value as the quantity, quality and taste were good.

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 these dishes and I know my DM sometimes buy's M&S readymeals so I will pass on my thoughts.

Me and my husband both tried the cod mornay.

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 selection of the SFL in my local store (hedge end). There was more than enough to choose from - i would have wanted at least 7 dishes (i.e. a different one for each night of the week) and there was plenty more than that. The cod mornay caught my attention because we are tryng to eat more fish in our house having not done so in the past. I also liked the look of the asian style dishes but they didn't 'feel' so healthy.

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 used the microwave to cook our meals. I much prefer to microwave for speed and convenience. I think the sfl range is equal to other convience ranges in terms of how quick and easy to prepare (no better, no worse).

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?

We both would have liked a bigger portion - however that is probably why we need to lose weight and were attracted to this trial in the first place. We weren't hungry later though. My husband is in agreement with this.

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?

He enjoyed the dish although didn't think it was very manly! It would be helpful to have a healthy range that was more attractive to men i think - i realise that is perhaps a bit daft. Its like the pepsi max/ diet coke thing I think. I did feel the meal seemed healthier than other ready meal options - it seemed a lot fresher, especially the veg.

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

I think they are a little bit expensive, just because if you were going to buy a weeks worth to use the range to help as a diet it would be a lot of money. However, it was very nice quality and perhaps comparable to meal plans such as diet chef etc 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?

I would recommend the meal we had and am keen to try some of the other meals myself. This is because I liked the veg content and quality and it was quick and easy to prepare without feeling like junk food.

Thank you for the chance to try it.

poppops10 Sun 03-Jun-12 14:30:30

Q1. Not easy to find missed it at first. Not a bad selection to choose from i'm picky and don't like stews etc. I choose Thai red chicken curry for myself and husband.
Q2.microwaved them never heat ready meals in the oven takes far too long. Very easy to prepare great.
Q3. About the same size as a standard readymeal and both still hungry afterwards but the qulaity was great. Proper pieces of chicken not watery cheap cuts like majority of ready meals really impressed.
Q4. Very tasty didn't taste readymade but not a healthy choice 28% of sat fat and 25% of daily salt allowance i'm sure the others would have been a bit better. I would choose this for a takeaway but I might have three between two of us and I think it would still be healthy than my local take away shop.
q5. I wouldn't have picked this up normally only becuase of the trial but I am impressed just give me more bigger portions quality really is impressive though.
Q6 Yes I would recommend these but not as healthy choices or because its cheaper than takeaway quality of taste wins me over more.

membershipcard Mon 04-Jun-12 11:28:29

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?

We had to ask where they were. There weren't many left - it was Saturday morning so I am guessing that they don't have a delivery of them at weekend. Nothing grabbed our immediate attention.

Q2. With the dish(es) you tried, did you heat them up in the microwave or oven?

Creamy chkn ham, veg angel hair pastry pie -oven
Keralan Chkn - oven
Chkn and mushm tagliatelle - microwave

Did preparation method factor into your choice of purchase?

No

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?

Easy until it came to serving ...both oven cooked dishes said remove pastry topping and stir sauce. We couldn't get the topping off without making it look horrendous.

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?

Creamy chkn ham, veg angel hair pastry pie - had this, portion size was OK but I did need a snack later/
Keralan Chkn - DH had this. As he finished he said "That was really tasty but I could eat it again as it was too small."
Chkn and mushm tagliatelle - DD age 16 had this. Porton size was fine.

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 had the Keralan Chkn and really enjoyed it ( he stank of garlic the next day!)
He would say improve the portion size. Yes, a good low cal healthy alternative to the usual calory laden ready meals

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

Portio isze was more appropriate for lunch and £4 for lunch is steep.

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 it came up I would recommend them but warn about cost and porton size.

Thank you

gluepie Mon 04-Jun-12 12:18:51

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 selection, though many seemed to be more 'wintry' type meals, not really what I fancied when it was hot and sunny. I bought the mexican fajita and andalucian chicken as they were labelled as new and seemed slightly more 'summery'.

SFL range was under the general banner of 'ready meals' of which there were a few aisles so not the quickest to find, would have been helpful to have one of the aisle banners as 'Simply fuller longer' to mark them out.

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?

Don't have a microwave so both in the oven. Don't usually buy ready meals but it was easy enough to do, though slightly annoying as they were for different temperatures/lengths of time. Might be useful to portion off some aspects of the meal as they tend to mingle together while in transit/cooking so you end up with soggy potatoes as they've rolled in the sauce.

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?

Looking at the portion size of the fajita I was initially unimpressed, but it did actually keep me full for the evening. DP had the andalucian chicken and said " it was good as a starter"!

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?

Taste/flavour were good for both, though a little salty tasting. With regard to healthiness, I would happily trade a few more calories ( both meals were around 380, I would still consider up to 500 good for a main meal) for a bit less salt.

Still healthy compared to other ready meals I've seen though, and glad it wasn't filled with sugar to compensate for the fat levels.

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

The amount of meat for the money is low, so in terms of that no, £4 for a small amount of chicken and some veg/potatoes isn't great value. However, in terms of convenience and feeling reassured about the quality of the ingredients it is good value for money

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, if they were looking for something convenient, filling and relatively healthy.
Would also buy again for myself if DP was out in the evening.

I have already replied but for some reason I can't see my post & it's not showing up in my 'I'm on' list so apologies if it is already here.

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 had to ask a shop floor worker where the range was as it wasn't immediately apparent. There was about 10 dishes to choose from. I was immediately drawn to the paella & linguine dishes but being pregnant I tend to avoid seafood. My husband chose the roasted beef meatballs and spaghetti and I had the chicken and three mushroom taglietelli.

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 used the microwave to heat our meals up. My husband sorted them out & said they were more convenient than most ready meals as they only required 1 spell in the microwave whereas most ready meals tend to be heat for x minutes, then stir, then heat again.

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 was a little bit small & I didn't feel totally full up afterwards (but I am pregnant and seem to have the appetite of a small elephant at the moment). My husband thought the portion looked small but found his was enough when he ate it.

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 thought mine could have done with the chicken being in smaller pieces and maybe a bit more spinach. It was very tasty though & didn't feel like it was a healthy alternative due to the creamy sauce. My husband really enjoyed his & wouldn't change anything.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I do think £3.99 for a ready meal is a little expensive, seeing as supermarkets are doing the 2 course meal for £10 deal. Husband thinks it's about the same as other ready meals & fine.

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?
We would recommend the dishes to friends and family as they were delicious, but I would maybe recommend some bread/salad as an accompaniment.

<shuffles in late hoping no-one notices>

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?

They didn't really stand out on the shelves, in fact I picked up a few Count on Us dishes before I realised! The packaging is v similar and it was pretty mixed up on the shelves.

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?

Heated the "dinner" in the microwave as that was billed as the best method on the packaging and it took 2 minutes in the micro and I was starving. I have been known to buy convenience meals and found it the same as those I have previously bought.

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 tried a meal for the evening and that was perfect for me. I suspect DH would have wanted more/a side dish though. We had wraps for lunch the following day and they were spot on. Really delicious and a good size (even if the filling was determined to escape!). But they did the job and we were both full for hours!

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 was happy with both of the dishes I tried, DH was happy with the wrap at lunchtime. Exactly the quality I would expect from M&S. I would consider both to be healthy options. I had the chicken and chargrilled peppers wrap and seafood linguine.

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

They were great as a treat, but I wouldn't be able to afford such meals every day so I guess as far as value for money goes, no, £4 per person is quite a lot really. But as a treat, yes, it was lovely.

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'd recommend the lunchy things (I've had a couple of others before doing this product test) since afternoon snacking is my personal downfall and I really felt stuffed til dinner time! Not so much the main meals, I think the count on us range is better value for a convenience meal that's healthy.

Grohlsgirl Tue 05-Jun-12 09:34:02

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?

Lots to choose from, at least 10 dishes, the most expensive where the ones in line of sight! We chose the spicy beef with cajun wedges, and the chicken tikka masala.

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?

The beef dish recommended oven cook which I did - I don't think the wedges would have been as nice if they had been microwaved. Similarly, the tikka masala recommended microwave cooking which we did, and again I suspect the rice would have become dry if it had been oven cooked. So overall we were happy with the results when following the cooking guidelines on the packet. We do not often buy convenience meals (apart from the fortnight after childbirth!) but these meals seemed straightforward to prepare/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?

I felt there could have been more in my meal (the beef option). While there was a good balance of wedges and meat/veg there just wasn't quite enough and 2 hours later I was tucking into a bowl of cereal! I didn't feel hungry immediately after the meal though, and I didn't feel that my portion looked particularly small.

My OH had the tikka masala and his expert opinion was that it was "ok, could have eaten more if it was there".

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 beef and wedges were absolutely delicious, tasted very fresh and I would definitely consider buying it again. OH was also impressed with the curry. Both seemed healthy option due to the amount of very fresh and natural ingredients in them (lots of lentils in the curry).

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

I think both meals offered good value, as both plates were well and truly cleared! If convenience meals were needed one evening then I would probably consider these meals first as the flavour and ingredients were far superior to many other ready meals.

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 the two meals we had based on flavour and healthy option, so much nicer than the stodgy flavourless ready meals I have had in the past.

Forgot to mention that there didn't seem to be any vegetarian options available.

m0nkeynuts Tue 05-Jun-12 12:28:22

I've only just managed to get to M&S today so I will return here tomorrow to report back!

Chocchip88 Tue 05-Jun-12 13:27:24

Oops, bit slow on this.
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 dishes were easier to find and there was a selection of about 8-10. This gave plenty of choice, I love thai curries so these were the ones that immediately jumped out at me. We ended up buying a Thai red chicken curry and the beef adn chianti ragu pasta.

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 heated them up in the microwave, we were in the middle of having our kitchen renovated so didn't have another option, however whenever buying a convenience meal I would always heat it in the microwave as it's much quicker. They both cooked quickly and easily.

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 for me, I'm not sure if I felt full afterwards but I didn't have the urge to snack for the rest of the evening so it must have filled me up! DH however did say he was hungry an hour or so later, he had a slice of toast.

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 both enjoyed them, I liked that the Thai curry had a good veg selection with it, it all looked fresh and you could tell with your eyes as well as taste what everything was, unlike other ready meals I've had. I would say it was healthier than a lot of other ready meal options as the veg seemed a lot fresher,

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

I thought they were expensive to be honest. I have bought the range before and would again, but only when they're on offer. £3.99 each seemed a lot for a ready 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?

Yes I would recommend them for taste, for freshness and convenience. The only thing letting them down was the price. I will look out for offers in the future!

Goldrill Tue 05-Jun-12 14:01:12

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?

Carlisle store on a Sunday afternoon – surprised to find quite a few choices, but difficult to locate initially and then too mixed in with the “count on us” stuff. Interesting range of meals – very few grabbed me. I think that if I want a ready-meal curry I will usually get it from the curry range, for example, so tend not to try individual items like that in other ranges. It also all looked a bit more wholesome and healthy than I would usually go for in a ready meal – I would tend to cook that type of thing from scratch but get things involving lots of cream/cheese as ready meals.
We got the steak and mushroom pie, the paella (reduced) and the meatballs with lentils.

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. Cooked fine – no different to other ready meals. I would expect to be able to just bung in microwave (or possibly oven) and would not want many more steps than that.

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?

DP had the paella and said it was far too small – but didn’t go and get anything else later so am assuming it actually did fill him up. We split the other two dishes between us with lots of veg on the second night and it was enough for both of us – I don’t think we felt full initially, but we didn’t get hungry for the rest of 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?

Reasonable. Certainly not outstanding. DP thought paella a bit bland: I found the other two dishes to be nice enough, but would not choose them again. Not sure if they are healthy alternatives a I didn’t check the labels carefully enough to say.

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

Reasonable again – not what I would choose to eat again, but if you like the meals and they seem to do what they say they will (fuller for longer) then I think that’s pretty good for £4ish. Have had far worse for a similar 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?

No. For me to recommend a ready meal it would need to be something quite spectacular!

m0nkeynuts Tue 05-Jun-12 18:57:03

Ready to report back!

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?
It actually took me 5-10 mins to track down the range! I found it in two places - one was dinner type meals (of which there were 4 or 5) and smaller lunch-type meals of which there were 3 or 4. I'd have preferred more choice, particularly if I was planning to eat this range as a long term weight control plan.

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 microwaved our meals, but it wasn't an influencing factor in the purchase. They were nice and quick to heat - on a par with convenience meals we've bought in the past.

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 found the portions were bigger than they looked, but I didn't feel totally full afterwards and could easily have eaten something else! DH felt the same - he said he still felt hungry 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?
We both thought the dishes were VERY tasty! Especially considering they are healthier types of meals - they were really delicious and didn't taste like typical "health food"!

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I think compared to other convenience meals they were definitely better value for money, primarily because they were so tasty. They are still out of my budget though as a regular thing, so it would have to be an occasional treat in this house!

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 because of the taste... but not because they made me feel fuller for longer wink

theboutiquemummy Tue 05-Jun-12 19:25:35

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?

There was quite a big selection in the shop which was a nice change and some of the newer dishes were eye catching enough.

I like to look under the label and that helped me decide on Andalusian Chicken, Ham Hock and the stroganoff (reduced)

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 ham hock and stroganoff and ovened the chicken which was a bit faffy but ok.
I never buy ready meals but wanted to see if these would do as freezer stockers for when the baby comes and they look like proper meals rather then something resembling a pasta n cheese sauce.

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 had the Ham Hock and I had the Chicken, I was pleasantly surprised by the portion sizes, it didn't look much but it was more then enough. DH liked the fact he could see the ham on his plate and it wasn't mixed in or lost.

The stroganoff was another story it didn't seem to have the same amount of beef on it as the ham did.

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?

Well done on the taste and texture of the dishes full of flavour and the tomato in my chicken with the crispy potatoes was really lovely.

DH thought his was a MAN meal lol !

We didn't like the stroganoff at all

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

Yes the chicken and ham did they were good sized portions and we felt like we were having a proper 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?

Yes to the chicken and ham but no to the beef it wasnt very nice

leo16 Wed 06-Jun-12 08:36:23

Tried:- Chicken & Ham Pastry Pie and Crayfish with Noodles

Q1. There did not seem to be much variety, about 4 choices in the chilled main meals section and 2 in the salad section. They were also all over the place with the same dish appearing on different shelves, probably to make it look like they had more choice. Nothing really grabbed my attention immediately and I spent a while chosing.

Q2. The noodles didn't require heating up, which would be good for work. I cooked the chicken pie in the oven. The preparation method didn't influence my choice. I don't tend to buy convenience meals but was a bit surprised the pie took 35 minutes in the oven. It couldn't be microwaved which surprised me a bit as I had thought convenience meals generally meant microwavable. This doesn't seem much quicker than if I was to make it myself.

Q3. The portion sizes seemed adequate. In future I probably would add a vegetable side to the chicken pie. I felt reasonable full afterwards, my DH who had the noodles didn't. He thought the portion size was fine, but that it wasn't very filling.

Q4. DH didn't really enjoy the noodles, he thought the crayfish didn't taste very fresh and there were not a lot of them. I found the chicken pie ok, but quite bland. The pasta was also a bit strange as was crispy on top but really soggy underneath. I would consider them healthier alternatives as calorie/fat seems to be lower and there also seem to be no E numbers, random ingredients which I consider important in terms of health.

Q5. I think they are quite expensive for what they are. As they are single portions if I were to give them to my family I would definetly be cheaper making them myself. Even if I was just to buy one myself I would think they are quite expensive.

Q6. I think I would if the person was keen to try them and I would reommend them but perhaps mention it would be cheaper doing it themselves and, if the time the chicken pie takes to cook is similar to the others, it wouldn't take much longer.

gilliancd Wed 06-Jun-12 09:33:44

I had my keralan chicken curry last night and while it was tasty it did seem to be lacking some substance! I usually only buy ready made meals to take to work at a weekend but realised when I had brought the meal it was oven cook only. In general if I'm going to put something in the oven for half an hour I will prepare it myself.

LittleSarah Wed 06-Jun-12 09:57:04

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?

A1. For a fairly small store (Galashiels in the Scottish borders) I thought the selection was good. There seemed to be about six to eight dishes on offer with more international choices as well as more homely things such as pastas and fish with potatoes. I was immediately drawn to the curries as those are the types of dishes I sometimes buy in ready meal format, I chose chicken tikka masala and green thai 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?

A2. I used the oven, I don't own a microwave so that is definitely a factor. I don't buy many of these meals although those I do are usually from M&S and these seemed to be of a similar quality, not so rich though and perhaps not so much portion wise. The dishes were very 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?

A3. I thought the portions were quite generous. In my experience portion size when dieting tends to be quite mean so I was pleased with the amount on offer. My husband also thought the portion size was good and we were both full, although my husband has a larger appetite than me and was full as long. I was satisfied.

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?

A4. We both thought the dishes were very tasty and they do seem to be healthier alternatives. What I find difficult with ranges like these is fitting them into existing diets, especially things like WW which I have used in the past.

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

A5. Good value. They are better quality and better tasting than other cheaper ranges, however I wouldn't buy many and use them as regular diet food. I would cook from scratch and perhaps have one of these every now and then. If not on a diet I would probably buy the full fat version!

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?

A6. If they were looking for healthier ready meals I would recommend this range.

pinkorkid Wed 06-Jun-12 13:17:57

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 choice of about 8 different dishes, so enough for me to choose from. I liked the look of the ham hock and the keralen chicken curry with samosa crust - although wondered if it would go soggy in microwave. In the end picked the cod mornay and the beef stroganoff - in the mood for comfort food.

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?
Microwaved both. Prefer convenience food to be microwavable as I only buy it for days when in a rush or perhaps for more preparation intense dishes. So I wouldn't buy convenience pasta dishes as normally almost as quick to prepare from scratch yourself. I did find that the dishes didn't heat evenly after 4 mins in the microwave - still some lukewarm areas. Perhaps add an instruction to stir half way through or extend the cooking time.

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 reasonable - dh felt full enough after the beef stroganoff - think the long grain rice was quite filling. I still felt slightly hungry after the cod mornay. There was plenty of fish but would have preferred more mashed potato.

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 both felt that the meals were enjoyable but that the flavouring was perhaps a little bland - so more paprika and brandy in the stroganoff and stronger cheddar in the cod mornay cheese sauce, maybe a little nutneg in the mashed potato would improve it.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why? Not really. For £4 per dish I would want the meal to be more interesting so more of a special treat or more substantial so that I could feed two people per dish.

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? Not unless they were unable to cook from scratch for themselves and were trying to count the calories.

MooseyMoo Wed 06-Jun-12 17:36:02

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 good range, I counted 15 different dishes.

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?
Keralan chicken curry for me and Beef and chianti ragu sauce pasta. We don't usually buy convenience meals as they are normally dishes we make ourselves. DH used microwave and mine was oven cook. Didn't realise this so had mine later than DH.

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 had the curry which was very nice and was nicely full. I found the portion size good. DH had pasta dish and didn't think much of it and thought portion was small. He needed a snack later on (he doesn't often snack either).

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 really enjoyed the curry as it was different ie not a korma. DH is hard to please (he is a very good cook), and wasn't that impressed with his dish. I don't think there was enough flavour for him.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
At £3.99 I think it's quite pricey. I would buy again but only if on special. I normally only buy the floured haddock and the Chinese and Indian dishes when on special.

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 the curry as a bit different.

kellykateneedsaholiday Wed 06-Jun-12 18:24:04

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 good choice, about 10 dishes. I chose green tahi curry and tikka masala.

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 heated one in microwave and one in oven. The time was fine.

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 sie was fine for me but dh likes bigger portions

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 taste was good for a ready meal.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
At £3.99 its quite dear but i dont really buy ready meals.

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 the dishes as they tasted nice and its good if you cant be bothered cooking sometimes.

cather Wed 06-Jun-12 20:22:18

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 M&S at Deepdale Retail Park, Preston and was very disappointed with the SFL range. the shelf looked very bare and whilst the shelf labels indicated that they had quite a good range there was a lot of empty spaces on the shelves. I went in around 10.30 on a Saturday morning and would have expected the shelf to be quite full. There was a choice of about 4 dishes and of those there was only one left of 2 of the dishes.

The Keralan chicken curry grabbed my attention immediately and I bought this dish

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 tried the Keralan Chicken Curry with spiced samosa crust and Chicken Tikka Masala and I cooked them both in the oven. I don't normally buy convenience meals and was surprised at how tasty they were and they were really easy to cook. The Chicken Tikka could be cooked in the microwave and only took 4 minutes so would be perfect for a quick tea.

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?

We thought the portion sizes were fine. We didn't feel hungry at all after eating 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?

The Keralan Chicken Curry with spiced samosa crust was delicious and I would definitely buy this again. An added bonus was that it counted as one of your 5 a day.
The chicken in the chicken tikka was lovely and tender and it too was delicious.
We really enjoyed both dishes and whilst I don't normally buy convenience meals I would buy these as they taste so nice.
I noticed that neither dish mentioned that it could be frozen. I would like to be able to freeze them as our nearest M&S is a 20 minute drive away and I would more likely buy more of these dishes if I could put them in the freezer.

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

Yes, they were tasty, easy to cook and they filled us up.

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, we really enjoyed the dishes we tried and would certainly recommend them

An0therName Wed 06-Jun-12 22:02:52

1. 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 the Bury St Edmunds store - I could have done with a few more to try
Roasted Meatballs with Spagetti, the salmon with watercress and keralean curry 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 microwaved mind but DH's needed to go in the oven - I prefer to microwave

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 was ok for me but a bit small for my DH

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 think they were quite nice - my DH did not like the samosa topping on his - I like them better than other diet ready meals

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
not really - I would only buy them if on offer
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 might

Willabywallaby Thu 07-Jun-12 07:41:30

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?

Yes good choice, the spicier meals grabbed me more, and ones that could be frozen n case we didn't get round to eating them. In fact DH hasn't had his yet it went in the freezer.

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 had the Singapore noodles I chose it because it was best microwaved, very easy to heat up and didn't go soggy.

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 spot on and no urge to snack later. Will update when DH eaten his.

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, but then I always find M&S ready meals to be, they are my treat.

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

M&S are always more expensive than other ready meals, but I think they're worth it due to their better quality.

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.

NorkyButNice Thu 07-Jun-12 10:30:38

Q1) plenty of choice in West Wickham store, about 20 dishes maybe. Was attracted to the spicy dishes and those I could microwave when in a rush. Chose the Middle Eastern spiced Chicken, the Hot and Sour noodles and the Red Thai curry.

Q2) heated all 3 in microwave. Yes it was a factor, I only really buy ready meals for when I'm in a hurry. They were quick to heat and simple. Don't regularly buy microwave meals but would consider buying the range again.

Q3) DH found the Middle Eastern chicken very filling, surprisingly so. He did snack in the evening, but he always does! I found the noodles and the Thai curry to be smaller portions but still plenty filling, I didn't need to snack until the next meal.

Q4) flavours were good, especially liked the Middle Eastern chicken and the Hot and Sour noodles.

Q5) Dishes were around 4 pounds each - would consider buying for quick meals but not a regular thing.

Q6) possibly, although I think the m&s microwave vegetarian range of meals are tastier to be honest!

OutInAllWeathers Thu 07-Jun-12 11:01:20

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 thought the range was really good, and pretty varied as well. We tried the chicken tikka masala and the chicken in red wine sauce. I found the range easily and it was seperated from other ranges so it was easily differentiated. Our M and S is quite a large one though so that probably makes a difference.

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 heated them in the oven so they would be ready at roughly the same time. Sometimes we use the microwave for ready meals, sometimes the oven.

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 felt satisfied after my meal, though DH needed some bread to go with his. Neither of us felt they were any more filling than other similar meals that we've tried.

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 both enjoyed the dishes that we had, and thought they did have a bit more flavour than some others we have tried. I'm not convinced they are particularly a healthy alternative though perhaps slightly better than some.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
For us personally they don't represent good value no. For us both to have one it cost £8 which is not particularly good value for a quick meal, and the portion size was not great for DH who does a manual job. I wouldn't see them as a regular option for us unless the price was lowered or to have some alternatives for bigger appetities perhaps.

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?

In terms of flavour and a good range I would reccommend however for our family and friends I would imagine the price would be off putting.

Thanks for the opportunity!

TheOtherHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 07-Jun-12 17:42:01

Thanks for all your feedback so far - M&S have found it really useful so do keep it coming! They've asked me to post this response to the comments about vegetarian options:

"Our Simply Fuller Longer range has been specially developed to be high in protein, as research has shown that protein can fill you up more than other nutrients (such as fat or carbohydrate), which can help you to control your hunger and resist the temptation to snack between meals. Lean cuts of meat, fish and poultry are all high quality sources of protein which is why these ingredients, amongst other sources of protein such as grains, nuts and legumes, are included in many of the Simply Fuller Longer dishes.
Since the launch of this range, our food teams have been working hard to provide vegetarian alternatives within the range however we have been unable to develop such alternatives which meet the strict Simply Fuller Longer nutrition criteria. This is something we will continue to work on.
We do however provide a range of other prepared meals, sandwiches and salads which are suitable for vegetarians and can be included as part of a weight loss or weight maintenance diet. Look out for the sunflower Eat Well logo, which highlights products across our ranges which are healthier options. For more information on vegetarian M&S options please follow the link below to the vegetarian section of our website, which also includes a list of products suitable for vegetarian diets health.marksandspencer.com/.
If you have any further queries, please get in touch with our nutrition team directly at nutrition@marksandspencer.com."

serin Thu 07-Jun-12 18:56:42

Cries? What happened to my post?? I spent ages typing it out? Just got back from half term away so apologies for late reply but where is it??

serin Thu 07-Jun-12 19:10:42

Sighs and tries again;

Q1. Bought meals from our local small MandS range was difficult to locate and had to ask 2 assistants> there were 6 meals to choose from (just one of each! so DH and I couldn't have had matching meals even if there was anything vegetarian for him to have!).
I chose Keralan curry for DS (age11) and Lochmuir salmon and the beef in brandy thingy for myself.

Q2. The meals were very easy to prepare. DS heaed up his own curry in a conventional oven as we didn't think the samosa would crisp up in a microwave

serin Thu 07-Jun-12 19:39:22

Q3 The meals were utterly delicious and filled me up for a good few hours.
DS thought his curry could have done with more chicken and less cauli but he is a boy!

Q4 I thought the meals were about the right size for lunchtime (we eat a larger meal in the evenings. I work in a hospital and the current mealtime options are WRVS for a 1950's style white bread and cheddar sandwich (£2.40! Now that is what I call expensive!) Hospital canteen for absolute pappy rubbish eg. tendon curry or marg flavoured pasta or something deepfried (£3+) or posh coffee concession where it is £3 for a muffin (kid you not!!). So by comparison these meals are quite well pricedn and I would buy them if they were more readily available. Sadly our nearest MandS is a fair drive away. Whislt I have got your attention MandS will you please open some simply food shops in hospitals? the staff and the patients need you more than they need blooming muffins sad

serin Thu 07-Jun-12 19:46:10

Q5 (see question 4! I am not really good at this am I?)

Q6 Yes I would recommend these meals to my family (my Mum aged 78 would love them) and friends, but mostly to my workcolleagues who all agreed they would buy them as an alternative to the current NHS rubbish.

Thankyou very much for giving me the chance to try them, they have made me reappraise my eating habits, it is amazing how much you have fitted into the meals for so little calories.

TLoGreen Thu 07-Jun-12 20:20:30

Chose the Asian style chicken with woked vegetables x 2. Huge selection in the store - something for every taste, I'd imagine. Microwaved; very quick to heat and serve up. I rarely eat ready meals as I have never considered them healthy but would reconsider on occasion due to speed - plus the fact that these meals were clearly healthier and more balanced than I had thought. Both of us impressed with portion size - larger than in other comparable ready meals and both of us especially impressed by amount of chicken. Meat/protein tends to be much smaller in past experience of other ready meals. Both felt surprisingly satiated by such a healthy meal. Good flavour overall although noodles on the liquidy side. I would consider this a very healthy option and would go for this range over others in M&S in future. I bought these on a 2 for £6 - that's very good value for money in my book for an easy meal. I would recommend this range and I would try it again - it has changed my view of ready meals for the better. Thank you for this opportunity to take part in your survey. WE very much appreciated and enjoyed the meal.

mckenzie Thu 07-Jun-12 20:26:28

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 couldn't actually find the range and I had to ask. I knew it was there because i'd seen it before but It wasn't clearly shown at all, i.e. there was no sign saying "Simply Fuller' range on the aisle. This store only did main course dishes, mainly curry which i love so the thai curries caught my attention straight away but I was also drawn to the salmon and new potatoes dish.

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 didn't check cooking methods before buying as i have the time etc to do pretty much anything but both the curries said microwave was best and so that's what we did. It was very simple, same as other microwave 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?

The portion size didn't look huge but it was certainly enough, even for DH although he did snack on some tortillas too but that's not unusual for him, if someone's left them out. Neither of us snacked later though so that's really good.

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 red curry was a little too strong flavour for me but DH thought the green curry was delicious. He had no complaints at all. Someitmes I think dishes that are trying to be 'healthier' or lower in fat/calories, try to cover up proper taste by just making it spicy but we didn't feel this was the case.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why? I'm afraid I'm not very good at knowing the price of dinners, meals etc - sorry. I don't normally buy individual dinners although it's always handy to have something for DH for when he is late home from work or I am eating very early with the DCs.

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, the salmon with new pots and veg i would recommend to everyone who eats alone - it was flavoursome, healthy and filling. You can ditch the sauce of you're careful when you dig up which i think is essential - some people just don't like sauces.

treedelivery Thu 07-Jun-12 20:31:29

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 found it ok in the store and was able to pick up 3 meals as they were discounted as going out of date. The pork and mash grabbed my attention as it is a change from the usual pasta ready meal.

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 tried pork, mash and greens, the pasta and mince and the chicken hotpot. I cooked them all in a microwave at work as we don't have a microwave at home. I felt the pork meat was a little rubbery and bland - perhaps would have been better in the oven. The top layer of the pasta dish burnt a bit, the pasta dried out.

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 portionslooked good but actually I was no more full than with a meal for half the price. I can't imagine why the pork meal didn't have more greens with it, surely they are filling and low calorie?

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 really didn't enjoy the chicken hotpot. The potato was bland and the sauce plain odd. I think all the dishes had a few lentils in, presumably to help us feel fuller, but I don't feel there was enough to make a real difference. The gravy base sauce in the chicken hotpot and the lamb gravy was the same - a bit salty and a bit glutanous.
The bolognese with the pasta dish was too ground for me, the beef was lost.

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

I think they are just too much - sorry!

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?

Probably not, unless they were willing and able to spend those amunts on a ready meal.

Sorry! I wasn't all that impressed and certainly couldn't afford them.

Concordia Thu 07-Jun-12 21:12:14

hi mumsnet just to say please keep the thread running, i didn't get the vouchers till just before bank holiday and then went away. have bought the meals tonight so will have them over the next few days and feedback then.

sleepdodger Thu 07-Jun-12 22:40:23

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?
* very well shopped, not much selection, but was late on saturday afternoon, thekeralan curry looked nice, bought 2 for dh and me!*

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?
*heated in microwave, little point in buying unless quick!! quick & easy as any ready meal, dont buy often, but seemed ok 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?
* portion size fine, though think the COU range actually more generous looking and looked as though other things mght be needed with it, but not in end!*

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?
* tasted more creamy than anticipated for 'diet' dish, and not synthetic which was plesant suprise*

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
* think if buying for 2 people v expensive and single larger meal or dinner for £10 represents overall better value*

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? *tbh the healthy angle was ok but cou more interesting for less calories!! (could have desert too for same!!

Polgara2 Thu 07-Jun-12 22:57:33

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?

Yes I found the SFL range easily enough and I had thought the range was ok, but after reading on here it would appear that there were many missing! My main gripe is that there were not enough 'non-spicy' options for me (spicy food makes me ill), so I only bought one meal - Beef Bourgignon. Also I was very limited by the dates available, most of them were up the next day or one day after that, which was disappointing as I wasn't able to eat them then. Will have to try and get back to look for another one, but M&S not actually in my town.

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?

Yes heated in microwave, no problems with that. Don't buy that many ready meals but it compares favourably with the ones I have bought in terms of preparation etc.

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?

Was surprised at the portion size actually, I expected more. I had it for lunch which was ok but I would have needed more for tea (and DH would have looked at me in puzzlement if I had just served him that!) Didn't feel as full as I was expecting tbh.

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?

Thought it tasted delicious but it did set my digestive system off a bit, hence why I was hoping for more 'blander' dishes (and it seems they are available judging from previous comments but just not when I went to shop unfortunately!)

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

Erm, I think that they are the price I would expect from M&S but if I was to buy a ready meal I would pick a cheaper one. If I am buying a ready meal it is to have when time constraints etc prevent me from cooking for someone and I wouldn't pay £4 every time for that. Having said that the quality was extremely good as expected.

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 the dish but I was decidedly underwhelmed by the 'simply fuller' bit tbh!

Kristina2 Thu 07-Jun-12 23:13:12

Q1. i visited a big M&S store so there was a very good range, about 25 i think. However, as i cant eat wheat i was struggling to find anything suitable. lots of dishes whch shoudl have been wheat free were not, i can only assume because there was wheat flour used to thicken sauces, or soy sauce used as flavouring or non wheat free bread used in meat balls. given that other M&S meals use gluten & and wheat free crumb, this was very disappointing.many other companies use corn, rice or potatoe flour as a thickener instead of wheat and wheat free soy sauce is easily availiable.

Q2. i ended up buying the salmon with potatoes which i heated in the microwave. i dont usually buy convenince meals and it was certainly easy and quick

Q3. It was quite a large portioni and i coulndt eat all the potates, i did feel full aftrewards.

Q4. the salmon was a bit touhg but tasty and there was plenty sauce. it wasnt too salty - often a problem with ready meals

Q5. I dont usually buy convenience food so Im not sure about the value, it seems very expensive if you are used to cooking normally.

Q6. If you were on a diet i can see that it woudl be useful to have a lower calorie meal that you coudl heat up if what the rest of the family were having wasnt suitable. or perhaps if you wanted to eat a hot meal at lunchtime at work.

helsbels03 Fri 08-Jun-12 07:09:10

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?
Once I had found them there were a lot to choose from. Would have been easier if they were not mixed with the 'count on us range'. Chose Chicken and Vegetable Hot Pot and Smoky Mexican open Chicken Fajita as they looked nice on the packet.

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 heated them all in the oven together, took a little longer than said on the packets but that may be my oven . I Don't buy conveience meals but they were very 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? We tend to eat quite large portions, so initial reaction was that they were smaller than normal, dh not initially impressed. However we both did feel full afterwards and only ate normal yoghurt style 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
Both meals were very flavoursome- we both ate half of each! Don't usually eat 'healthy' foods such as this so the calorie count did not mean anything to me I'm afraid.
Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
Initally thought they were expensive due to portion size, but actually they did serve as a main meal so a little pricey but not too bad.
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, there seemed to be a wide choice if different types of dishes, they were ok value for money and did fill us up, unlike other someplace sized meals

Rosylee1976 Fri 08-Jun-12 08:08:33

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 wasn't a great selection of dishes available - maybe because the store I visited does not have a massive grocery section. Some of it was sold out. I chose the chicken tikka, pork loin chop and the ham dish

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 heated all the dishes in the microwave as it is just quicker that way. In fact, I would not have chosen them if they had not been suitable for microwave heating. I have bought convenience meals before and these ones compared similar in terms of preparation time*

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 found the portion sizes to be sufficient. I was satisfied with the meal, but not full. What I mean was that I was no longer hungry, but not full, which is not a bad thing.

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 chicken tikka and the ham dish, but really disliked the pork chop. The sauce for the pork chop and the cabbage was not nice at all. I do think that they are healthier alternatives to other ready meals, but having mostly used Weight Watchers and Teso Lighter Choices, I felt that the M & S meals were smaller in size. There was less food than the other ranges I have tried before

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

No, they do not represent good value for money because they are too expensive. I could never justify paying £4 for one ready meal, not when I can get 5 for £4 at Tesco, for example. No matter how nice they taste or how low in calories they are, I just could not afford this 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?

I would be honest and say they tasted nice enough, but I wouold not recommend it because of the price. It just does not cater to the average person's budget, especially if you have a family

40thisisit Fri 08-Jun-12 11:04:44

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?
Range hard to find, shopped in Poole which is small store. Very small choice, liked the look of the curry dishes.

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?
Heated them in the oven, DH won't use microwave. Were 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 portion was fine (SFL Middle Eastern spiced chicken with fragrant rice) but Dh wasn't impressed with his SFL Chicken katsu curry with edamame beans and jasmine rice) and was munchinh on snacks soon after.

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?
Yes both dishes v.tasty, we tried each others. Yes I would say were an improvement on other ready meal options.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
No, too expensive when compared with other supermarkets.

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?
Would recommend in terms of flavour & appearance but not price or portion size.

Priya1 Fri 08-Jun-12 13:07:21

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?
We got the Slow cooked pork and the mexican chunky beef. It was pretty easy to find the meals in store and they looked appetising

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 don't buy convenience foods normally. I used the oven as I though it would make the meal taste more homemade. It was 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 didn't complete mine (could be my small appetite) DH has his and then the rest of mine! We both needed extra vegetables with our meals.

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 meals were tasty and looked good. As ready meals go I thought these were quite good versions.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I thought the meals were too expensive, considering the dine in for £10 deals that you can get in M&S too, also I could cook these meals for far less at home.

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 wouldn't recommend these meals due to the cost.

cleoismycat Fri 08-Jun-12 17:14:12

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?

Many of the dishes were mixed in with other meals, along with the count on us range. There was quite a few and I chose smokey Mexican fajita for dh and I went for crayfish with noodle, Asian veg and edamame soya beans.

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?
The fajita I did in the microwave but finished in the oven for some colour. Very easy to prepare really. The noodles just went straight in a bowl. Very quick and easy for every now and then.

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 did feel full but dh wanted wedges or chips with his fajita!

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 tase was good in both, the dressing on the noodles was lovely. D would have had spicier but he added chilli so no calories!

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

They were good value for a healthy alternative to home cooked meals.

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 definitely buy the noodle salad again and would consider trying some of the other meals when dh away on business.

Chocolatebrowniequeen Fri 08-Jun-12 20:34:43

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 SFL range was next to the Count on Us range in the store I visited and as a result I did have to pay attention to ensure I bought from the right range. That said there was some nice options with linguine, stew and red wine dishes but I opted for a chicken thai green 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 haven't bought convenience meal very recently but I would say they were on a par with what I have cooked before. One thing that I always find very useful (to be truly convenience for me) would be able to heat from frozen. I heated my meals in the microwave as that was advised as best.

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 really liked my meal and felt full. My husband on the other hand has an enormous appetite and whilst he enjoyed his meal I think he did not feel full as I found him grazing in the kitchen later. He always says the portion sizes of ready meals are too small 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 thought my meal was far healthier than most other convenience food I have tried in that it had a curry, rice and vegetables and felt like a more balanced meal.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
I think they were on the expensive side and so wouldn't ordinarily pay this price. I feel I can make better for cheaper myself but if I needed 'fast' food I would defintely consider it in future.

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 could imagine saying that they were nice and tasty etc but I think it really does depend on your budget. When my DH and I both had full time jobs and hence little time but far more money they would have been ideal.

mrsaligee Fri 08-Jun-12 20:36:55

Sorry about coming rather late to the party, I put my back out bathing the kids so couldn't get the dishes until today...

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?

For a store which was not central Manchester, I thought the choice was quite good. As other testers have said, it wasn't that easy to find the range as they were on the end of an aisle marked "offers". I ended up with chicken dishes as the beef ones didn't really appeal, much as I love my beef. They were all raguey type hotpot thingys which is a bit predictable for my tastes. The Keralan Chicken curry, Middle Eastern spiced chicken, Andalucian style chicken and the chicken and ham pie with the angel hair pastry were the ones that grabbed my attention.

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 don't have a microwave and I prefer to heat ready meals in the oven anyway, think it gives them a better flavour. We do a lot of cooking but it was nice to just shove something in the oven for a change! DH found the Andalucian Chicken one a bit faffy as you have to take the lid off halfway through the cooking time (!)

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 felt full immediately afterwards, though since having my children I now have a sweet tooth so about an hour later had to have a yoghurt to satisfy it. I still felt strangely full though, just must be a glutton! DH said he felt full aftewards and that the portion size was fine. I would have liked more sauce in the Keralan Chicken one.

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 really liked the Creamy Chicken, Ham and Vegetable pie with the angel hair pastry. I thought the Keralan Chicken could have done with more sauce. DH liked both the Middle Eastern Spiced Chicken and the Andalucian Chicken (he's a man of few words, OK means it was very good).

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

I wouldn't pay £3.99 for one meal, but they were on offer when I went so 2 for £6 wasn't a bad deal, which is why I ended up getting four so we had more to test. Duchesse is right that you are paying for the convenience, and the fact that it is lovely M&S food.*

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?

My 78-year-old mother regularly orders meals from a convenience food company and also buys ready meals reguarly from M&S - particularly the more exotic ones such as the curries. I'd recommend them to her but she'd only do it if it were on offer, e.g. buy 2 for £6!

*Thanks for letting me test some of M&S's meals for free! I love their food!
Couldn't they do SFL desserts too, or were those on another, unmarked, aisle?*

Mrsaligee smile

Jojo12 Sat 09-Jun-12 00:24:10

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 found the dishes near the Count on Us range, but nothing grabbed me as I'm vegetarian, and every main meal dish had meat/fish in it. However, I managed to find a veggie-friendly 'super wholefood salad' in the lunch/'food to go' section, and I bought a prawn/hot smoked Lochmuir salmon salad 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?

Neither of the dishes I bought required heating.

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 definitely felt full after the super wholefoods salad, and didn't feel the need for my usual mid-afternoon biscuits at work. DH found the portion of prawn/salmon to be small, although he thought there were plenty of lentils etc in the salad.

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 superwholefoods salad. I think it would be more healthy than my usual lunch at work (sandwiches). I liked the pomegranate seed crunch, the creamy cheese and the lemon and mint dressing. DH did not really enjoy the prawn/salmon dish. He felt the salmon/prawns were bland, although he felt the lentil salad was more tasty. He would have preferred to have just eaten the lentil salad and not bothered with the fish.

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

The superwholefoods salad is a lot more expensive than I would normally spend on a week-day lunch. I think it would be OK value if I was trying to lose weight. The fish dish was very expensive (£4.50) and could probably be replicated at home more cheaply using an M&S lentil salad side dish and adding your own fish.

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 wouldn't recommend the fish dish for the reasons above - price, portion size and flavour. I would recommend the superwholefoods salad on a once in a while/nice for a change/occasional treat basis. Also, as several of my family and friends are vegetarian, this is the only veggie dish anyway! I find it very disappointing that there are no vegetarian main meals in this range. If the issue is that the range is protein-heavy, there are plenty of veggie-friendly proteins that could be used (chickpeas, quinoa, quorn, tofu, soya etc). I also thought that overall there seemed to be relatively few fish-based dishes in the range.

Cassettetapeandpencil Sat 09-Jun-12 07:47:37

I tried the seafood linguine and DH tried the red thai curry.

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 thought the selection was very good. There was something for most tastes. I especially like seafood and fish and there was a couple of options that catered for this. DH likes meat and there were numerous dishes that contained meat. There was also quite z good selection of various curries. I liked that there were traditional dinners (ham hock etc) for those who preferred that

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 both heated our meals in the microwave. We both work shifts and as such eating a filling and healthy meal can be difficult. We took our meals to work to eat. We do occasionally eat microwave meals at work if we fancy something hot. Generally though they are pretty unhealthy and are not very tasty. The meat/fish in the SFL range was good and there was quite a lot in the meal. I usually find that in other microwave meals the meat/fish is quite sparse and not very tasty

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 though that the portion size was not bad but I could certainly have eaten more. I did still feel hungry afterward though. I can't say that I noticed that I felt fuller for longer. DH said much the same and said that the meal was very tasty but just not quite big 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?
I felt that the SFL meals were more fresh and healthy than other ready dinners. Both DH and I really enjoyed our meals and thought that they were very tasty. As above, the only thing that would put me off buying them in the future is that they are quite expensive for a fairly small portion.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
No. They were small for the money and I still needed to buy something to eat afterwards (a snack bar) to keep me going through my shift. DH said the same.

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 on grounds of choice and taste and the fact that they are healthier than other options. However I would be surprised if my friends it family bought them regularly due to the price.

CA2006 Sat 09-Jun-12 09:12:35

I tried the chicken, vegetable and angel hair pie. DP had the mexican chunky beef with potato wedges.

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 SFL range was separated in its own section which was good as it allowed me to browse for something suitable. I'd say there wasn't too much choice but enough for me certainly. I liked the look of the pie I had because of the angel hair - I'm easily intrigued!

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 did both in the oven. I prefer to cook ready meals in the over as generally I don't like food from the microwave. The dishes were easy to prepare and the instructions were good.

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 sizes were really good, as did my DP. They definitely seemed larger than normal ready meals and certainly more than other "diet" food. I was very impressed with this aspect of the dishes.

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 really liked my dish, it had a pleasant if fairly mild taste - but then chicken and vegetable pie isn't meant to be too strong. DP also liked his mexican flavour and said that it was well seasoned. I would definitely buy these again.

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

I think they were reasonably priced at 3.99. I don't really buy ready meals at all, but this seems to compare well with tesco finest ready meals for instance - but a great deal more healthy.

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 probably would recommend, yes. I was impressed with the amount of food there was for c.350 calories, effectively the same as a small sandwich. The variety on offer was also pleasing (not in terms of number of dishes but the types of meal that were there).

Thanks for my free dinner!

MsGee Sat 09-Jun-12 14:04:15

I've just got my voucher! Will feedback on a couple if days if that is ok!

pennnn Sat 09-Jun-12 17:12:13

I popped into my local m&s twice recently, but on neither occasion could I find the fuller longer range. The food section is quite small so I don't know if that had anything to do with it, or if it just wasn't displayed well.

QueenOfIndecision Sat 09-Jun-12 20:18:35

by the way mnet hq i have namechanged since applying finally got around to it! as i used to love my old name but then it became associated with a stricken ship and i worried it was in poor taste.

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?
well at first i only found one - that was inthe salads section near the door - a prawn and noodle thing. then i found a bout 25 all together in the ready meal section.
i liked the look of the cod mornay, the curry with the samosa topping also looked interesting. the lemon and herb chicken grabbee me as it is exactly the kind of thing i will prepare myself to eat for lunch.
in the end i bought paella and thai green curry. there was quite a lot i liked though - lots of fish and chicken - which i tend to eat.

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?
yes i was taking mine for a lunch at work so i wanted one i could microwave. i don't buy many ready meals nowadays but i look for ones you can microwave. if you have to put them in the oven for half an hour you might as well cook something.

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 size didn't look great really - and i think i ate it a bit quickly which didnt' help! i did feel quite a bit fuller in the afternoon than i would have done though - which surprised me, i had been a bit cyncial about the claims.
dp hasn't eaten the curry yet. i was supposed to eat it today but havent' been able to keep any food down - see below!

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?

taste and flavour fine really. not as lank as microwave meals usually are - some nice crisp veg. plenty of nice tasting chicken. i liked it actually - better than my home made chicken salad attempts. i think it probably was healthier than a lot of ready meals - took time to look at sugar fat and salt content before choosing . but see paragraph below.

actually i would be worried to get the paella again. it could be the latest bug from nursery but i ate it at 1pm and by 9pm i felt sick and then i had horrible d and v in the night which is still continuing. i had kept in fridge at home adn work adn it was in date. but i have been really ill - hope not connected but sorry i wouldnt' risk that particular dish. i still feel terrible - hence no one has had the curry today.

Q5. Do you think the dishes you tried represented good value for money or not? Why?
they were pricey given i usually cook for four people together. but if eating on your own i think they're ok. handy for lunch but don't think i could afford to do that every day!

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?

possibly i might. i would be embarrased to admit to eating ready meals to random strangers though [snob emocion] also with being ill a few hours after eating the paella i'm not too impressed.

alp Sun 10-Jun-12 12:29:26

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?

We have a large M&S near us so the range was easy to see on the shelves and had a big section dedicated to it. There seemed to be a good range of pasta, rice and meat dishes whiched seemed different to the usual ready meals available.

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 tried the yoghurt aromatic chicken and the keralan curry dish. The aromatic chicken was 4 mins in the mircowave so was quick and easy to prepare. The curry was a bit more of a faff as it was 40 mins in the oven which wasn't really convenient. I chose the dishes due to what i thought we (DH and I) would want to eat rather than cooking speeds. As I left DH to do his own dinner on th