Between house brands and the other “branded” products, which would you go for when shopping at your local hypermarket? House brands are usually cheaper and a bargain for your buck but does the lack of design on the packaging really mean that the product’s contents are in any way inferior?
Tesco stores in the UK offer a variety of product ranges for different budgets from the no-frills Tesco Value to the standard Tesco products and at the top of the chain are the Tesco Finest products which are usually packaged in silver and black for a more up-scale look. However, Tesco house brands in Malaysia only come in two varieties: Tesco Choice and Tesco Light Choice (for the weight conscious consumer)
Tesco house brands range from groceries to house cleaning items and while we rarely find ourselves dropping their products into our grocery carts, the recent festive seasons has gotten us feeling a tad bit poorer that usuals so we decided to give the house brand a try and see how it pit next to the other brands.
Who knows? We may continue to purchase them if they’re just as good and save money at the same time! We decided to try out Tesco’s food house brand because Malaysians love their food and we felt that it would be a good benchmark to see how their wares fared against other “branded” goods.
In this two part series, we’ll be trying out both their frozen microwaveable food as well their instant products such as cereal, soups and risotto.
In today’s article, we’ll be putting their frozen microwaveable food to the test and they are the Tesco Choice Lasagna Beef Bolognese and Chicken Spaghetti Carbonara. Both products come with the “Beli Barangan Malaysia” so yes, they are made in Malaysia. The nutritional values of each food item is stated clearly on the front outer packaging
Both the Lasagna Beef Bolognese and Chicken Spaghetti Carbonara retail for RM6.99 each which is probably what you’ll be paying for if you’re dining at affordable eateries with Western selections so we wouldn’t call it cheap but remember, you’re paying for the convenience.
Both items were packaged in thin microwaveable plastic boxes which I was worried might melt when exposed to high heat, but hey I’m no plastic expert.
This is what the Chicken Spaghetti Carbonara looks frozen, not too bad right? The sauce takes up almost half of the container while the other half is occupied by the partially cooked spaghetti topped with minced chicken.
According to the instructions on the back of the box, you should pop it into the microwave at Medium High temperature for 7-8 minutes with the lid of the food container slightly open. Don’t instantly remove the hot container from the microwave after heating because the container will be slightly soft, let it cool down first.
If you’re petty about heating up plastic like we are, you can remove the food item from the plastic container by cutting up the latter and placing its contents into another similar sized ceramic bowl.
To be honest, they smelled amazing especially while they were heating up in the microwave. Don’t judge by its looks just yet!
The Lasagna Beef Bolognese was cooked well from the first to the last bite. The lasagna sheets were of perfect thickness and the sauce was succulent with generous bits of meat. Our only qualm would be that the portion was rather small so most males might find this too little or it’ll work better for women or those who are looking to add variety to their meals.
Finally, we have the Chicken Spaghetti Carbonara, would it taste as good as it looked? Our first mistake would be to stir everything together because really, you don’t need all that sauce. Probably half of the sauce portion is enough for the spaghetti. The top of the spaghetti was dry from cooking so we recommend tossing the noodles halfway while cooking (at the 4th minute) or add two to three tablespoons of water to the noodles before popping them into the microwave.
I personally didn’t like the spaghetti because there were too much herbs and there was a funny aftertaste probably a result of using lower grade creams and too much of it I might add!
So here’s our verdict:
Tesco Choice Lasagna Beef Bolognese
Value for Money ★★★☆☆
Tesco Choice Chicken Spaghetti Carbonara
Value for Money ★★★☆☆
Overall, we like the convenience and ease of cooking (which practically requires no skill at all) but for the price paid, we feel that the portions can be bigger and the taste be improved but they’re good especially the lasagna and the pizza which we’ve tried before. We’ll be featuring more instant dry products next week so look out for that! Do let us know what your experience are like with hypermarket’s house brands and if they’re worth paying less for.