Home / US & World / Free school meals: How much does £30 worth of food get you at the UK’s major supermarkets?

Free school meals: How much does £30 worth of food get you at the UK’s major supermarkets?

 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
(Getty Images/iStockphoto) 

Families have voiced their outrage after being handed “offensively meagre” food boxes by the government.

The boxes were sent to children who are eligible for free school meals in some areas instead of £30 vouchers. They were meant to provide a week’s worth of lunches during lockdown school closures.

However parents published pictures of the contents on social media when the boxes arrived containing a measly few pieces of fruit, a tin of beans, two carrots, malt loaf, a block of cheese and a loaf of bread.

Footballer and anti-poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford also criticised the hampers as “not good enough” and issued a challenge to the government to do better for those unable to get their usual free school meals because of lockdown.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman has since been labelled the parcels as “completely unacceptable” and Downing Street says the company responsible is being told that packages of this standard should not be offered to families

#FreeSchoolMeals bag for 10 days:

2 days jacket potato with beans

8 single cheese sandwiches

2 days carrots

3 days apples

2 days soreen

3 days frubes

Spare pasta & tomato. Will need mayo for pasta salad.

Issued instead of £30 vouchers. I could do more with £30 to be honest. pic.twitter.com/87LGUTHXEu

— Roadside Mum 🐯 (@RoadsideMum) January 11, 2021

“The Department for Education is looking into this urgently and the minister for children, Vicky Ford, is speaking to the company responsible. They will be making clear that boxes like this should not be given to families,” said a statement.

Many families took to Twitter saying they’d rather receive £30 worth of vouchers – the apparent cost of each hamper – so that they could go to the supermarket themselves.

So how much food could you get for £30? We take a look supermarket by supermarket.


Lidl is still stocking its ‘Too Good To Waste’ fruit and vegetable boxes at some branches nationwide.

They are subject to stock levels, but those able to grab one can get around five kilos of fruit and vegetables which have become slightly damaged, discoloured or deteriorated, but are still perfectly food to eat, for £1.50.

With £28.50 left over, you can still pick up the following:

Chicken drumsticks 1kg

Yoghurt lollies 100g

Soren sliced malt loaf

4 x veggie burgers

12 x eggs

Pasta 1kg

Non-branded Corn flakes 500g

Pesto jar

Loaf of bread

4 x croissants

6 x Heinz bean tins

4 x cod fillets

Bag of frozen peas

2 x cartons of orange juice

Cheddar cheese 400g

Raisin mini snack pack (6 packs)

Skimmed milk (4 pints)

Multipack of crisps (24 packets)


Contents of the Morrisons food boxMorrisons
Contents of the Morrisons food box 

Taking all of the hassle out of planning your weekly shop, Morrisons has created a ‘5 meals for 4’ box for £30

It’s filled with all the ingredients and recipes you need to cook up five dishes, including classics such as Spaghetti & Meatballs, Chilli Con Carne and Veggie Curry and can be ordered on their website.

The box includes recipe cards as well as the below:

British minced beef 12% Fat 500g

2 x packets of pork sausages 400g

Mature cheddar 350g

Puff pastry 375g

Trimmed leeks 500g

Chestnut mushrooms 250g

Loose garlic

Tomatoes 250g

Potatoes 2.5kg

Onions 1kg

Wonky carrots 1kg


Kidney beans 390g


Parsley 11g

Thyme 16g

Courgettes 240g

Spaghetti 500g

Rice 500g

Butter beans 400g

4 x tins chopped tomatoes

12 x vegetable stock cube

Canned reduced fat coconut milk 400ml

Medium curry powder 90g

Bunched coriander 100g


Getty Images
Getty Images 

Aldi recently discontinued their £24.99 food box, but you can still take home all of these products for just £30:

UHT Green Semi Skimmed Milk

4 x rice pudding

Salted peanuts 1 kg

Biscuit barrel assortment

Gold Label Tea

4 x Baked beans

4 x Tins of tomatoes

Bolognese pasta sauce

Tuna Chunks In Brine (4 pack)

Tomato Soup

Minestrone Soup

Basmati Rice 1kg

Pasta 1kg

4 x Brown rolls

Sliced Carrots

Bag of potatoes

4 x Apples

6 x Bananas

Non-brand choco puffs cereal

6 x Sausages

4 x Sweetcorn tins


Getty Images
Getty Images 

Tesco currently does not offer a food box, but you can get the below items for less than £30 – and even more if you are a clubcard holder:

2 x Margherita Pizza

Frubes (9 pack)

10 x apples

Blueberries 150g

Imperfect carrots 1.5kg

Tesco bran flakes

Skimmed milk (4 pints)

Loaf of bread

2 x Salad bags

2 x Packets of ham

6 x Heinz baked beans

4 x bean burgers

Carton of apple juice

Cashew nuts 250g

Pasta 1kg

Tesco pasta sauce 500g


Getty Images
Getty Images 

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s don’t offer a food box service, but they do offer discounts and freebies to Nectar card holders.

Here is what you can take home for £30:

Own-brand corn flakes

8 x Tangerines

Skimmed milk (4 pints)

Loaf of bread

Cheddar cheese 450g

Punnet of tomatoes

6 x tins of vegetables soup

Chicken nuggets 1kg

Raisin (12 packets)

Frozen peas 1kg

Crisp multipack

Chicken breasts 1kg

Vegetarian sausages

Mushrooms 250g


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Millions of children not getting enough food during lockdown

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