Credit: Viki Mohamad via unsplash

Meal deal or no deal?

By Nell Westbrook

The University of Glasgow students’ guide to the best West End meal deal

The meal deal, the classic British lunch, a make-or-break decision in a friendship, or perhaps best known as the biggest casualty of the cost of living crisis. That main, snack and drink combination is a convenient, cheap way to grab some grub. The possibilities are endless, as seemingly, are the places at which you can make your choice. So which is worth it? Which justify the money and, most importantly,  the trek from the library? Screw the Best University Guide, this may just be the most important ranking you read all year.

5. Pret-A-Manger: In last place is one that barely qualifies as a meal deal at all – the Pret ‘Lunch Deal’ is just a sandwich and crisps for £5, not even a drink included! I would skip this one all together. (Unless you have a drinks subscription, in which case… go ahead. I guess.)

4. Waitrose: In fourth is the recently introduced Waitrose meal deal. At £5 for the classic combo, this option is overly expensive for what is a fairly limited selection. There is not much that is special about this choice except they have options such as sushi and salad bowls in case you fancy something a bit more exciting than a sandwich. 

3.  Co-op: Despite being a little further out, the Co-op meal deal has a solid spread for £3.50 (£4 for non-members, 10% off with a Young Scot card), including pasties as a snack and a stellar drinks selection.

2. Tesco: Ranked second is the infamous Tesco meal deal. With its £3 glory days well and truly gone, the now £3.40 affair (£3.90 without a Clubcard) is an old favourite. Its drinks shelf may be subpar, but it is host to some impressive snack options. 10 minutes from both the Learning Hub and the library, Tesco is a reliable favourite. 

1. Sainsbury’s: In first place is Sainsbury’s. Whilst it might be a slight trek down Byres Rd, this £3.50 deal has a selection of mains to end all other possible competition. The wraps (shout-out to the mozzarella/pesto wrap especially) are elite and there are salads and pasta galore.

Honorary mention – Boots: Although perhaps not the first place that comes to mind when you think of lunch, this somewhat rogue entry is a bit of a hidden gem. With a selection that includes Gü pots, sushi platters, and heat-at-home mains for just £3.60 (£3.99 without a Boots card) it seemed ignorant to not include it on this list.

The main takeaway here (ha ha) is that wherever you choose to fuel yourself, meal deals are a cheap, tasty lunch option (that is, unless you go to Pret). Just remember to scan that membership card so that you can save money and enjoy the benefits of infinitely more meal deals.


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