The Lazy Girl has been lucky enough to be chosen as a Morrisons Mum along with some top bloggers in conjunction with Britmums. Morrisons have asked our Mum to compare her shopping experience, prices and of course taste and quality of their food and drink compared to her normal shop. Part 1 sees our Mum trying out her local store for the first time.....
I am a devoted Lidl shopper, as my bio suggests and always has done I'm a thrift and bargain hunter, and Lidl has always been where I found my bargains food wise.
However, Morrisons asked me to try them out for a weekend barbecue and I was tasked with doing my normal style of shop.
Now, I'm not a list maker. I was at one point, but I would always forget the list or deviate from it. I also find with Lidl that one week you'll find a great joint of pork or speciality side dish, and the next week, its gone. That and the lay out leaves a lot to be desired of my local store, in that its not unusual to find toothpaste on the same shelf as a Light Ale or a bottle of spicy ketchup. I don't meal plan either, and with Littlest having such a complex list of allergies, I spend quite some time looking at every products ingredients before I buy.
We are quite relaxed shoppers, preferring to casually mooch around, and I do like looking at items other than just food and drink. I can just as easily buy my food and pick up a pair of cut price shoes or a CD while I'm at it.
I had never been in a Morrisons before this. I do my main fortnightly shop at Lidl and then pick up other bits locally from Asda- especially if I need to buy a gift for a party Mini or Littlest is off to, as Lidl don't stock a range of static items like clothes or books, preferring to rotate by season.
I had seen adverts for Morrisons but didn't think they'd match or beat my £60 a fortnight big shop amount (spending an extra £20 a week on other bits and bobs like milk or treats for the kids).
We visited our nearest Large store, which is in Reading, and it is vast. It has a cafe inside, which serves cheap as chips (literally) meals, and kids eat free after 4pm week days.
The first thing I noticed was the sheer colour of the displays of fresh fruit and veg. There were so many different types from your common apple to aubergines and courgettes. I counted several different variations of chili alone.
I like to experiment with my food and am never shy of trying out different ingredients, and whereas usually I would have to try a few shops locally to find certain things, I can tell that you could come in to Morrisons armed with a recipe and walk out soon after with everything you need, however obscure.
They really make an effort to keep the store incredibly tidy, the displays are perfect and they clearly take every effort to entice the buyer to indulge. Even the car park was spotless with no rogue trollies laying about.
This week, Morrisons announced ,1,200 price cuts to bring them into line with Aldi and Lidl- and they are not shy about showing these cuts off. There was a literal sea of yellow stickers and hangers on every available service announcing "Look, I'm a Price Cut" or "Look, I'm Cheaper", and in many cases they show you the difference between their price and their competitors. I liked this touch, after all, its one thing to have fancy adverts proclaiming to be the cheapest, but I often feel, on checking my receipt, that these supposed price cuts are on items that you don't really need or buy often.
With the long weekend and the possibility of having to sort out an indoor picnic rather than a barbecue, and with the ever fussy Elder in tow, we first had a scout for some veg in the market style aisle. I picked up two large fresh bulbs of Garlic for 50p, a bag of mixed chilis for 99p, and a bag of Baby Potatoes, also 99p for a large bag.
I liked that I could just pick up two bulbs of garlic as usually I pay £2 for several bulbs, but these are pre-packaged, which I don't like as you often find they are past their best once you take them out, as well as the issue that I use garlic sparingly so tend to end up throwing it out as it goes off. The potatoes are something we buy all the time when they are in season, and these were cheaper for a bigger bag than usual.
Next we loved the deli counter- something Lidl doesn't have and neither does Asda, we picked some absolutely lush smelling fresh from the store sausage rolls, these were just £1 and so fresh they were still warm! I am very picky regards sausage rolls and often make them myself as I always find shop bought ones to be slightly soggy and grisly, but not these, they're a good size with crumbly pastry and the meat is excellent quality. Littlest pinched one for his snack and thought they were Mummy's rolls as he calls them.
Another item I love but don't buy often as I hate waste is dips, these are great little items but Lidl sell massive pots of them so I generally buy them if we have a special occasion or party. Morrison's deli had the answer though, with small, snack sized pots of plain or flavoured Houmous, Mango chutney, and sour cream dips for 39p each, or 3 for £1, which is what we went for, going for one of each. The houmous is absolutely lip smackingly good, it tastes home made, and was just enough for two dipping a lunchtime carrot in to it.
One thing Elder is most fussy and hard to please with is meat, especially steak. He refuses to buy steak from Lidl, and will just about buy a chicken from there. He prefers old fashioned butcher shops, but these are few and far between and we don't have one in our local town centre at all. In fact, when I wanted to make Beef Wellington one Christmas, I went to M&S and paid £25 for a tiny piece!
There is, yet again, a huge, competitively priced selection of meats, in every cut you can imagine. And our fussy steak lover was not disappointed.
Usually, to get a good quality piece of steak means paying a high price, not in Morrisons though (as again they shout at you with their stickers) and again the displays show pride in their product. We picked Morrisons Prime Rump Steak at £2.94. Usually, we would have to pay twice that in other supermarkets, this is thick beef steak and if it tastes as good as it looks then we are in for a treat. We will be marinading the steak with peppercorns and spices and then griddling it.
Being more a fan of chicken, I went for some spicy chicken wings at £2.50. I also loved the 3 for £10 deal on offer with generous portion sizes of pork, lamb, mince, and whole chickens amongst other popular favorites. We chose a whole chicken which I plan on Butterflying, some thick Beef Burgers and some kebabs too- which the Brats love as they like anything which has a stick through it!
We also wanted some nibbles so chose some duck spring rolls as these are a firm fave in our house and unlike Lidl who sell the duck and wraps separate, for £5.99 for a leg and £1 for the wraps, these were £1.33. We only had the duck from Lidl on one occasion as it was a real let down, despite being in their special food range, it was fatty and had no flavor to speak of.
Something else we eat alot of but buy smaller bags down to what's available is pasta. The Brats definitely prefer pasta to spuds, although they are coming round to the idea of spuds now. I use it with homemade meatballs, they have it in their lunchbox wit cheese as a cold pasta salad, they have it as a chicken and tomato bake, if its pasta they will eat it. We usually go through a small size bag a fortnight at a cost of £1.
At Morrisons, as with the other well stocked aisles, there was a huge unimaginable range of different types, both fresh or otherwise, but instead of the usual small bags, they also stock a massive sack of pasta shells and Fusili pasta- 3kg for £3.49! That is an absolute bargain and will last for ages!
All in all, we spent £55.85 and bought 39 items, at the bottom of my receipt it told me where I had saved and how much compared with other supermarkets- £4.03. We got a stonkingly good range of products, were able to buy a wider range of goods easily without having to search, the staff were beyond friendly (seeing us approach the tills, a till was immediately opened for us and we were packed and out quickly whilst a friendly assistant chatted). I made sure that no one in store knew I was coming as a Morrisons Mum so I could get a good idea of how it is for all customers. I was even given money off petrol!
I would usually have to pay for bags, but not in Morrisons, and I bought a more items and spent less than usual.
The store is a happy place to work in and none of the staff looked bored or disinterested. There was happy chatter where ever you went and staff happy to help.
We will update you in Part 2 on how the food tastes, but so far its a big thumbs up- they've certainly turned my head.