Best meal deals in the UK


We all have our go-to meal deals, but which shop has the best selection? And where can you get the most value? We’ve scoured the best meal deals to bring you the answers.

Credit: urbanbuzz (crisps), gowithstock (sandwich), DenisMArt (smoothie), Serge Cornu (background) – Shutterstock

Although we’d never recommend them as the most economical choice, there’s no denying that the convenience, variety and flavour offered by a meal deal is sometimes hard to beat.

At over £3 a pop, though, it’s important to get the best bang for your buck. To help you max out your meal deal, we’ve rated the selection on offer at each shop, plus the most expensive combinations possible. We’ve also put together some meal deal alternatives, to stop you spending upwards of £20 a week on lunch.

And if you think you’ve found a better value meal deal than us, drop us a DM on Instagram – we’d love to see it!

We’ve only listed shops where we’ve been able to confirm the meal deal price and best offers. Some others may offer a meal deal too, so head to your local store to check for yourself.

  • Tesco meal deal

    tesco logo

    • Tesco meal deal price – £3.40 with a Clubcard, or £3.90 without
    • Meal deal features – A main, a snack and a drink
    • Best value Tesco meal deal – £6.35: a chicken club sandwich (£2.80), a sausage roll (£1.15) and a 473ml can of Red Bull (£2.40).

    Tesco and meal deals go together like… well, a main, a snack and a drink.

    But 2022 was an eventful year for the Tesco meal deal. The first shockwave came when, after 10 years of charging £3 across the board, Tesco introduced a new system. Suddenly, only Clubcard holders could get it at the usual price – everyone else had to pay £3.50.

    And as if that wasn’t enough, in October 2022, Tesco hiked the price for everyone by 40p. Now, a meal deal will set you back £3.40 if you have a Clubcard, or £3.90 if you don’t. Clearly, even the humble meal deal isn’t immune to the effects of inflation.

    Let’s not dwell on the bad news, though, as Tesco’s meal deal selection is one of the most extensive out there.

    Depending on what your local branch stocks, your choice of mains could include sushi, Rustler burgers, microwavable toasties, and even warm pastries or bakes, like sausage rolls.

    And, despite the price rise, you can still get a good deal. Given that most of the smoothies cost north of £2, there are countless combinations that would otherwise cost far more than £3.40 – or even £3.90!

    Visit Tesco »

     

  • Co-op meal deal

    co-op logo

    • Co-op meal deal price – £3.50 for Co-op members, or £4 for non-members (plus 10% student discount)
    • Meal deal features – A main, a snack and a drink
    • Best value Co-op meal deal – £8.10: a mozzarella and tomato pasta (£3.45), a Ginsters Cornish pasty (£1.95) and a 330ml bottle of innocent Bolt From The Blue (£2.70).

    Like Tesco, Co-op has a two-tier system for meal deal pricing. Co-op members pay £3.50, while non-members have to stump up £4 – as good a reason as any to sign up for a loyalty card.

    Co-op is also one of the few supermarkets to offer a student discount – and the good news is that you can stack it with the meal deal offer. That means you could save as much as an extra 40p on the cost of your lunch.

    While it’s not the cheapest for non-members, we’re big fans of the meal deal selection at Co-op. For starters, check out the items in our best-value pick. Your eyes do not deceive you – a cornish pasty really does count as a snack.

    And the choice of mains isn’t bad either. As well as the typical meal deal contenders, like sandwiches, salads, pasta and sushi, you can grab a soup or even a filled naan. Well worth the £3.50, we reckon.

    Visit Co-op »

     

  • Sainsbury’s meal deal

    sainsbury's logo

    • Sainsbury’s meal deal price – £3.50 (£5 deal also available)
    • Meal deal features – A main, a snack and a drink
    • Best value Sainsbury’s meal deal – £7.20: a falafel and couscous salad (£3), a Nomadic yoghurt with chocolate and oat clusters (£1.55) and a 370ml carton of Emmi caffè latte (£2.65).

    While the meal deal at Sainsbury’s is marginally more expensive than at Tesco, the price is the same for everyone. That means there’s no need to be a Nectar member, so you’ll pay £3.50 whether you have a loyalty card or not (although we’d recommend getting one anyway).

    As you can see, there’s huge potential for savings here too. We managed to find a combination that, outside of the offer, would have cost over double the price of a meal deal. And there were a few other options for the main that also cost £3, so you can still get a whopper of a deal even if you don’t fancy a salad.

    Looking at the snacks, the selection doesn’t disappoint either. The individual pieces of fresh fruit don’t make for the savviest of financial choices in a meal deal context, but they’re a refreshingly healthy alternative. Or, if you’re after something sweet, you’re welcome to choose from a range of treats from the bakery instead.

    Sainsbury’s £5 meal deal

    It’s hardly a bargain, but it’s worth knowing that Sainsbury’s offers a £5 meal deal too.

    The £5 format is exactly the same (i.e. a main, a snack and a drink), and the drinks and snacks included in the deal are identical too.

    The only difference is that, with the £5 meal deal, the selection of mains is replaced with a whole host of more expensive options. These are mostly from Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range, so we’re talking premium salads, sandwiches and wraps.

    Some of these mains cost as much as £4.50. So, combined with the most expensive drink and snack (which we picked above), you could get £8.70’s worth of food for just £5. Far from cheap, but an impressive saving nonetheless.

    Visit Sainsbury’s »

     

  • Morrisons meal deal

    morrisons logo

    • Morrisons meal deal price – £3.50
    • Meal deal features – A main, a snack and a drink
    • Best value Morrisons meal deal – £7.05: a chicken caesar wrap (£2.85), chicken tikka kebabs (£1.75) and a 500ml Vita Coco coconut water (£2.45).

    It may not have the biggest or boldest meal deal selection but, at £3.50, Morrisons’ offer still represents a solid option if you’re ever near one of its stores.

    The choice of snacks in particular is fairly limited. But, like Co-op, there’s a rogue item in there that you’d usually expect to find in the mains: a decent-sized portion of sushi.

    Costing just £1.50, the sushi didn’t make it into our best-value pick as it’s cheaper than the kebabs. However, in terms of the amount of food, and the pure feeling of getting a good deal, it’s a winner.

    Otherwise, it’s pretty much business as usual at Morrisons. The mains consist of wraps, sandwiches and pasta, while the drinks selection features smoothies, juice, and some Costa Coffee cans. Nothing remarkable, but a meal deal nonetheless.

    Visit Morrisons »

     

  • ASDA meal deal

    asda logo

    • ASDA meal deal price – Varies (pick three items and the cheapest is free)
    • Meal deal features – Any three eligible items
    • Best value ASDA meal deal – Varies.

    ASDA’s meal deal is a little different to your traditional setup.

    Rather than getting a main, a snack and a drink for a set price, ASDA lets you pick any three eligible items and gives you the cheapest one for free. And with it, this unique offer brings some pros and cons.

    On the plus side, you really can pick any three items – so if you want three sandwiches, you can have them.

    However, it can make ASDA’s meal deal a little more expensive than others.

    Let’s use the most expensive meal combination as an example. If you went for the most expensive sandwich (there are a few for £3), the most expensive snack (two eggs for £1.25) and the most expensive drink (Naked Blue Machine smoothie for £2.36), you’d get the eggs for free. But, you’d still be spending £5.36.

    Compare that to every other meal deal, where the cost is capped no matter what you pick, and it’s hardly the best offer.

    Plus, because there’s no set cost, you can’t get the smug sense of satisfaction of knowing you’ve maxed out the deal and got the very best value.

    Visit ASDA »

     

  • Greggs meal deal

    greggs logo

    • Greggs meal deal price – £3.60
    • Meal deal features – A salad/sandwich and a drink
    • Best value Greggs meal deal – £5.15: a roast chicken and bacon club baguette (£3.25) and a regular flat white (£1.90).

    Not to be outdone by its supermarket rivals, Greggs also offers a meal deal. In fact, Greggs actually offers meal deals, plural.

    In addition to the sandwich and salad deals, there are four other offers for bakes, savoury rolls, sweet treats and pizza, all of which come with a drink. But, as they’re the most ‘meal deal’ of all the options, we’ll stick to just reviewing the salad and sandwich combos here.

    All of your favourite Greggs sandwiches are included in the meal deal, as are the salads (if indeed anyone actually gets a salad from Greggs). As for the drinks, you have your choice of a bottled cold drink or a regular-sized cup of any of the hot beverages.

    Now, you might be thinking that, at £3.60 for just a main and a drink, Greggs’ meal deal is poor value compared to the other options on this list. And that’s possibly a fair argument – unless you’re a student.

    Why? Because Greggs’ student discount gets you a free sausage roll, vegan roll or sweet treat whenever you buy a cold sandwich meal deal.

    Factor that in, and you’re getting the full main-snack-drink experience, with added Greggs quality, for just £3.60. Easy to see why it’s one of our favourite Greggs hacks, isn’t it?

    Visit Greggs »

     

  • Even when you’re saving a few quid on the cost of the individual components, it’s hard to describe meal deals as a genuinely cheap lunch. Here are some meal deal alternatives that’ll really have you saving money:

  • Follow our meal plan

    If you thought £3.50 was good value for lunch, think again. Our student meal plan will get you your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for less than £3 a day.

    Among the lunches in the plan are recipes for a bean salad, cheese and onion rosti and even a pasta dish. Almost all of them are cheaper than £1 a portion, with most costing far less. And, you get two other tasty, nutritious meals every day (plus snacks), all for less than a meal deal.

    But what if you’re absolutely desperate for a sandwich? Well, even then, a meal deal can still be beaten…

  • Make your own cheap sandwich

    peanut butter jelly sandwich

    Credit: VelP – Shutterstock

    We get it: a homemade sandwich can seem a little bland compared to the selection in the shops. But it doesn’t need to be this way.

    Our list of cheap but tasty sandwich fillers is packed full of ideas that’ll give you the mouth-watering lunch you’ve been craving. And, more importantly, they should all cost less per portion than what you’d get in a meal deal.

    If none of our ideas quite tickle your fancy, that’s ok too. The main takeaway here is to think beyond ‘ham and cheese’ and try making some more exciting sandwiches at home.

  • Try making your own soup

    One or two supermarkets offer soups as part of their meal deals, which can be an absolute godsend if you’re after a winter warmer.

    That said, no matter how cheap the meal deal is, it’ll still be more expensive than making your own soup at home.

    We have a handful of simple soup recipes that even the most unaccomplished chef can knock together. All of them cost well under £1 a portion, and our mixed vegetable soup recipe in particular is super cheap and easy to make.

  • Get cheap food from TooGoodToGo

    woman smiling using phone

    Credit: WAYHOME studio – Shutterstock

    We’ve been big fans of anti-food waste apps for a while now, and TooGoodToGo is one of the best for a lunchtime haul.

    This app allows shops, restaurants and cafes to sell excess stock at a reduced price. Sign up, and you’ll be able to see all the places in your local area that use it, including what they normally sell and for how much.

    Plenty of big chains use TooGoodToGo, including Greggs, Pret and Costa. When it comes to these types of places, you’ll usually be able to buy a mystery bag of items with a selection of sandwiches, cakes and other freshly prepared foods.

    The exact contents will vary depending on what’s left over at the end of the day, but you’ll almost certainly end up with lunch for at least a couple of days, typically for less than £5.

    Just note that, as you’re buying stock that’s left over at the end of the day, most pickup times are long after lunchtime. So, you’ll need to be thinking ahead to the rest of the week when you’re using this tip.

  • Check out the reduced section

    Again, this trick is best used at the end of the day, as that’s when supermarkets really start to fill their reduced sections.

    As you’ll know, the stock will vary daily depending on what happens to be going out of date. But as we explain in our guide to keeping food fresh for longer, best-before dates are really just a guideline. Most food should be fine to eat for a couple of days afterwards!

    While there are often a few ready meals to be found, the real lunchtime win comes if any of the meal deal mains have found their way into the yellow sticker realm.

    You won’t get a snack and a drink for your troubles, but if the main is reduced by enough, you can always use the savings to buy them separately.

  • If you can resist the draw of the meal deal, read our guide to getting free food and keep yourself fed without spending a penny.





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