M&S 'Essentials' Food Box Under Fire for Bringing a Little Joy Into People's Lives

By Shabana Arif on at

Supermarkets are starting to capitalise on the need for 'essential' shopping by putting together boxes containing what they deem to be necessities, and the fact that M&S has chucked a few sweets into its package seems to have riled up some customers.

The retailer is offering a veggie and non-veggie box, similar to Morrisons' food box options, but the contents of its veggie box are being lambasted for including an array of treats, including everyone's favourite porker, Percy Pig. The boxes are priced at £30 and £35 respectively, with the veggie box in question featuring tea, coffee, cooking sauces, and four different types of sweets (we're not including the homebake style shortbread squares in that because no one believes that shortbread is a treat). Here's a rundown of what that £30 gets you:

  • Fusilli (500g)
  • Baked beans (220g)
  • Tomato and herb pasta sauce (550g)
  • Beef Bolognese pour over pasta sauce (340g)
  • Chunky vegetable soup (400g)
  • Basmati rice (500g)
  • Cream of tomato soup (400g)
  • Chunky steak (206g)
  • Rich roast instant coffee (100g)
  • English breakfast tea bags (125g/50 bags)
  • Scottish all butter homebake style shortbread squares (200g)
  • Dark chocolate (100g)
  • Milk chocolate (100g)
  • Prime corned beef (205g)
  • Wild Alaskan red salmon (213g)
  • Vegetable curry (400g)
  • Roasted and salted large peanuts (200g)
  • Giant milk chocolate buttons (150g)
  • Percy Pig™ (170g)
  • Soft white 2-ply toilet tissue (pack of 4)

A couple of chocolate bars, a pack of buttons, and Percy Pigs should be replaced with "much more appropriate including things such as long life milk and easy to cook bread." I think something is lost in translation here, because all bread is easy to cook. You just plop it into the toaster. I guess this particular food box reviewer means the partially baked stuff.

Another commenter on the site said they were "pleased to see this initiative but disappointed with the contents," adding that there were "far to many sweet items and not enough fresh produce or chilled ready meals." The items appear to be tins or packets with a longer shelf-life rather than chilled ready meals or fresh produce, which is perhaps what the store was going for. The Morrisons boxes on the other hand contain perishables like a loaf of bread, milk, cheese, and vegetables. A third person chimed in:

"Some good staples, but far too much sugar. I'd only order this in an emergency. We come to M&S for healthy food, because we care about what we eat. Please replace sweets and sweet sauces with fruit and veg. Tins are OK. A mix of fresh and tinned would be better."

If only there were some other way to buy groceries; groceries you could pick out yourself. The box was clearly a hit with everyone who isn't a miserable git, because it's currently sold out. M&S is giving ordering priority to customers over 70, identified through its Sparks loyalty scheme, and then everyone else can get a look in. We'll see if it rejigs the contents when it restocks. [Manchester Evening News]