Which meal is the BEST deal? As Pret a Manger is blasted for £7.15 cheese and pickle sandwich, MailOnline compares lunchtime bargains from M&S, Sainsbury's, Boots and Amazon Fresh

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  • Restaurants are offering lunchtime meal deals amid the cost of living crisis
  • WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL DEAL AND HOW MUCH DO YOU PAY FOR IT? Email jon.brady@mailonline.co.uk 

Pret A Manger has been slammed by Britain’s hungry workers for charging up to £7.15 for a ‘posh cheese and pickle’ baguette – as the country’s meal deals surge in price amid rising food costs.

The chain, beloved by Londoners for its widespread availability across the capital, has nevertheless invoked the ire of commuters after launching the sandwich for more than the cost of a McDonalds value meal.

It costs £7.15 to buy for consumption in a Pret branch, including VAT, or £5.95 to take away. Members of the £30-a-month Club Pret subscription scheme get 20 per cent off of both eat-in and take away prices.

But combining the baguette with a £1.75 bag of crisps and a £2.99 orange juice smoothie takes the total to £10.69.

It means the chain’s lunches are among the priciest in the UK compared with supermarkets and pharmacy chain Boots, which offer fixed-price meal deals on pre-packed sandwiches, wraps and salads.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL DEAL AND HOW MUCH DO YOU PAY FOR IT? Email jon.brady@mailonline.co.uk 

Pret A Manger has invoked the ire of customers after charging up to £7.15 for a 'posh' cheese and pickle baguette at a London Underground station store

Pret A Manger has invoked the ire of customers after charging up to £7.15 for a ‘posh’ cheese and pickle baguette at a London Underground station store

When paired with a £2.99 orange juice and a £1.75 bag of crisps, the meal comes to £10.69

When paired with a £2.99 orange juice and a £1.75 bag of crisps, the meal comes to £10.69

READ MORE: Is this Britain’s most expensive lunch? Pret A Manger charges £13 for a ‘posh’ cheddar and pickle baguette, bag of crisps and a smoothie (plus another £1.20 if you want to sit in and eat it)

 

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Since Boots launched the first meal deal more than 20 years ago, the combination of crisps, a sandwich and a drink has become a staple of British lunchtimes.

But the pharmacy has stiff competition from supermarkets offering their own meal deals – and chains such as Pret hoping to lure customers in with the promise of freshly made food rather than factory-produced sandwiches and salads.

So, where can you go to get the best deal for your meal?

MailOnline has compiled a list of lunchtime hot spots and how much you can expect to spend on your food.

UK Meal Deals: The Real Cost of a Sandwich, Crisps and Beverage 

Boots

Boots is credited with inventing the British meal deal – and has continued to set the standard of cut-price lunches for decades with sandwiches, wraps, pasta pots and more at a fixed price.

But even it is not immune to changes in the market – and last year bumped up the price of its meal deal not once, but twice.

And it has followed in the footsteps of shops such as Tesco by introducing members only prices for holders of its Advantage Card. as they pick up a main, snack and drink, with smoothies, energy drinks, crisps and healthier snacks included in the deal.

A standard Boots meal deal is £3.99 (£4.99 in London) – with the price cut to £3.60 (£4.50 in London) with a swipe of a points card.

The standard price of a Boots meal deal is £3.99. Customers who have signed up for the Boots Advantage Card loyalty scheme will get the deal for £3.60. 

The Boots meal deal has been a staple of the British high street for more than two decades and has spawned numerous copycat offers

The Boots meal deal has been a staple of the British high street for more than two decades and has spawned numerous copycat offers

Sainsbury’s 

Sainsbury’s now offers one of the cheapest meal deals on the high street – £3.50 gets shoppers a sandwich, drink and a snack such as a bag of crisps, a fruit pot or chilled products like a Pepperami.

The supermarket also offers a £5 meal deal, which upgrades the main to a premium Taste the Difference sandwich, salad or wrap – with the same range of drinks and snacks as its cheaper cousin.

The £5 deal also includes the option of a hot drink from a Costa Express machine instead of a cold beverage.

Sainsbury's now offers two tiers of meal deal - a £3.50 standard deal with sandwiches and wraps, as well as a £5 deal with Taste the Difference products and an optional hot drink

Sainsbury’s now offers two tiers of meal deal – a £3.50 standard deal with sandwiches and wraps, as well as a £5 deal with Taste the Difference products and an optional hot drink

Amazon Fresh

The American online marketplace giant is slowly growing its chain of Amazon Fresh convenience shops across London.

Fresh stores are known for their ‘just walk out’ gimmick, which sees shoppers scan a QR code tied to their Amazon account to walk in, before gathering their items while being monitored by an army of cameras and sensors.

They then walk out the store and artificial intelligence is used to figure out what they have picked up, and charges the card on their Amazon profile.

Like Sainsbury’s, Amazon offers two tiers of meal deal, each of which comes with a main, drink and snack such as crisps, chocolate or even chewing gum.

The £3.90 deal that includes sandwiches, wraps and salads, while the £5.50 deal includes premium cold dishes such as sushi platters and poke bowls.

But Amazon also offers some hot food, including hot wraps and sausage rolls, as both mains and snacks – as well as hot drinks, which can be made with oat milk.

Amazon offers two tiers of meal deal at its Fresh stores - costing £3.90 and £5.50 apiece depending on the main course chosen

Amazon offers two tiers of meal deal at its Fresh stores – costing £3.90 and £5.50 apiece depending on the main course chosen

Tesco

Tesco offers the same two-tier meal deal offered by the likes of Sainsbury’s and Amazon Fresh – but with a perk if you happen to hold a Clubcard.

The standard meal deal – with staple sandwiches, wraps and salads – is £3.90, or £3.40 on the Clubcard Prices promotion. Premium meal deals are £5.50, introducing nicer sandwiches and the likes of Yo! Sushi platters as mains.

As with Sainsburys, the range of sides and drinks remains the same – the premium being paid for the nicer main course.

Like Sainsbury’s and Amazon, Tesco stores also offer hot drinks as an option in the meal deal, with drinks served from a Costa Express machine. 

You can get a Tesco meal deal for less than one from Sainsbury's or Boots - as long as you have a Clubcard

You can get a Tesco meal deal for less than one from Sainsbury’s or Boots – as long as you have a Clubcard

Pret A Manger

At the start of the year, Pret launched a time-limited meal deal offering a wrap and a bag of crisps for £5.

But with the deal now gone, punters who want a freshly made wrap, sandwich or salad will pay a hefty premium compared to the factory-prepared dishes offered up elsewhere on the high street.

Sandwiches start from around £3.60 and can cost as much as £6 – more if you choose to eat in, as VAT must be levied on the sandwich if you don’t want to take it away.

Drinks vary from £2.15 for a bottle of water all the way up to £5 for a green smoothie – or £2.99 for a bottle of orange juice. A bag of crisps is £1.75.

Club Pret members can get a barista-made hot or cold drink free as one of their five free drinks each day, and 20 per cent off of their food bill – but it will still see them pay more than they would for a bundled meal deal elsewhere. 

Pret A Manger does not offer a meal deal - so there's no getting around the fact a bag of crisps costs £1.75, unless you have a £30-a-month Club Pret subscription

Pret A Manger does not offer a meal deal – so there’s no getting around the fact a bag of crisps costs £1.75, unless you have a £30-a-month Club Pret subscription

Marks & Spencer 

M&S doesn’t offer a meal deal at its normal shops – and only bundles certain sandwiches, drinks and snacks into meal deals at franchised stores like those found at transport hubs and service stations.

Otherwise, a balanced lunch of a ham and cheese sandwich (£3.20), a bottle of orange juice (£2.10) and a bag of crisps (£1.05) will set a hungry shopper back £6.35.

Expect to pay more for premium options or nicer sandwiches, from avocado and feta salads to salt beef deli rolls (£4.75 each).

M&S only offers meal deals at franchised stores - such as those found in transport hubs and service stations. Otherwise, expect to pay full price for wraps, salads and sandwiches

M&S only offers meal deals at franchised stores – such as those found in transport hubs and service stations. Otherwise, expect to pay full price for wraps, salads and sandwiches 




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