Discover the cheapest packed lunches using everyday items from all major supermarkets

When it comes to food shopping, there is one area where parents can save money and that is school meals.

Unless a child is entitled to free school meals, it is almost always cheaper to buy lunch than to pay for school dinners.

Most mums and dads would probably agree that it’s simple, but what is the cost of a typical school lunch box?

The Manchester Evening News set out to find the best deal for a lunch of a home-made ham sandwich including yoghurt in a tube, a packet of crisps and a Royal Gala apple for as little as possible using similar products .

Writer Emma Gill visited the six major supermarkets to find out where to find the best deal.

She went to Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Aldi and Lidl and opted for own brand products wherever possible. It was only at Sainsbury’s that she had to buy Frube and Tesco, Asda and Morrisons the Wildlife Choobs brand yoghurts. Aldi and Lidl sell their own versions.

Overall – with two pieces of bread, 40g (four slices) of ham and 6g of margarine used for comparison – these were the two budget retailers that came out the cheapest, at 62p apiece. lunch box set.

None of the shops charged more than £1 with Asda the most expensive at 92p – mainly because its own brand crisps (82p for a six-pack) were not available.

With his own brand of crisps he would have reduced the cost of the lunch box to 81p.

Apples varied in size in different supermarkets

If apples had been bought as part of the mix and match 2 for £2 offer on the fruit packs this would have gone down further and the retailer says it would have been cheaper to pick their Smart Price ham at £1, £59 a pack and its Pommes Farm Store at 72p for 500g.

An Asda spokesperson said: ”This survey does not compare like products or include low cost options on bread, ham, apples or crisps.

“Asda is still the cheapest large supermarket – a position recognized by independent surveys such as The Grocer 33 and the Which? basket comparison, which recently found Asda to be the cheapest traditional grocer each month over the past two years.”

Morrisons was slightly above Asda’s lowest price at 85p, followed by Tesco at 79p and Sainsbury’s at 75p.

This is how the supermarkets ranked in price – total product price / lunch box price


Bread – 58p loaf / 5.8p slices (cheapest 50p loaf unavailable)

Spread – 500g 84p / 6g 1p

Ham – 400g £2.25 / 40g 22.5p

Tube yoghurt – six pack £1 / 16.6p

Crisps – six pack £1.50/25p

Apple – six-pack £1.29 / 21.5p

Total 92p (would have been 81p with own brand crisps)

The soaring cost of living is putting household budgets under pressure, with some having to choose between heating and food.

Here are some resources available if you need help.

Advice to citizens

Citizens Advice is an independent charity providing free, confidential assistance with legal, consumer, housing, debt and other issues. Its website details the help available and where your nearest office is, for face-to-face advice.

Helpline : 0800 144 8848 in England / 0800 702 2020 in Wales (open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday)

The Trussell Trust

The Trussell Trust supports a national network of over 1,200 food banks, providing free emergency food to those in need. You can use its website to locate support wherever you live.

Hotline: 0808 208 2138 (open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday)


Turn2us is a national charity that provides practical support for people in financial difficulty. Its website includes a benefits calculator and details about programs and subsidies in your area, including for energy and water bills.

Hotline: 0808 802 2000 (open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday)


Bread – loaf 59p / slices 6.2p

Spread – 500g £1 / 6g 1.2p

Ham – 400g £2 / 40g 20p

Tube yoghurt – six pack £1 / 16.6p

Chips – six pack 85p / 14.16p

Apple – six pack £1.59 / 26.5p

Total 85p


Bread – loaf 59p / slices 5.9p

Spread – 500g 85p / 6g 1p

Ham – 400g £1.59 / 40g 15.9p

Tube yoghurt – six pack £1 / 16.6p

Crisps – six pack 77p / 12.8p

Apple – six-pack £1.60 / 26.6p

Total 79p


Bread – loaf 55p / slices 5.5p

Spread – 500g £1 / 6g 1.2p

Ham – 400g £1.59 / 40g 15.9p

Yoghurt in a tube – pack of nine £1 / 11.1p

Crisps – six pack 90p/15p

Apple – six-pack £1.60 / 26.6p

Total 75p


Bread – loaf 36p / slices 3.27p

Spread – 500g 69p / 6g 0.8p

Ham – 400g £1.59 / 40g 15.9p

Yogurt in a tube – nine pack 95p / 10.5p

Crisps – six pack 69p / 11.5p

Apple – six pack £1.19 / 19.8p

Total 62p


Bread – loaf 36p / slices 3.27p

Spread – 500g 69p / 6g 0.8p

Ham – 400g £1.59 / 40g 15.9p

Yogurt in a tube – nine pack 95p / 10.5p

Crisps – six pack 69p / 11.5p

Apple – six-pack £1.19 / 19.8p

Total 62p

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