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Ready meals are not a bargain in terms of money or quality


A cake fresh off the supermarket shelf? Readymade fruit salad? A curry that only needs warming up for a few minutes? Convenience food, ready meals, or whatever you choose to call them, are growing in popularity. They’re quick and easy to heat up and serve, but much more expensive than buying the ingredients and preparing the dish yourself. This is the not unsurprising conclusion of a study by a German consumer organisation in Hamburg.

Testing ready meals


The consumer advice centre picked out 14 different convenience foods. For example, ready-to-drink coffee from the supermarket chiller was compared with self-brewed coffee. The list of test products included potato puree and chocolate pudding. Without exception, the home-cooked versions were judged to taste better and cost less. The cost savings were evident even when more expensive organic or Fair Trade ingredients were used.

7 strong arguments for getting out your wooden spoon

  • Home cooking saves money. If you spend 3 pounds more a day on ready meals, in the course of a year that adds up to roughly 1000 pounds.
  • If you cook yourself, the quality of the ingredients is in your own hands. If you want to, you can choose organic and Fair Trade products.
  • Fresh is best. When fruit and vegetables are peeled, sliced, stored and transported, their vitamin content plummets. In the worst case, they might become contaminated with bacteria because they’ve been stored incorrectly or too long. So if you do choose to buy convenience foods make sure you keep them chilled and use them quickly.
  • If you’re doing your own cooking, you can vary the recipe to suit yourself. More cream in your ice coffee, less sugar in your pudding – it’s your decision!
  • You can give your homecooked food a health boost. Use wholegrain flour for your pizza dough or low-fat cheese in a topping. Or make your salad dressing with high-grade salad oil full of essential fatty acids.
  • The more you cook, the more skilled you’ll become and the more fun you’ll have experimenting with special and exotic dishes.
  • Reward, value and pamper the people you love – not forgetting yourself. Treat your family and friends to a fantastic home-cooked meal – they’ll love it!

Source: IN FORM

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