Review of "Marks and Spencer"

published 25/11/2001 | seagulls-lost-horizon
Member since : 08/06/2001
Reviews : 79
Members who trust : 59
About me :
Excellent
Pro Great food
Cons Frequently unavailable, and products are moved around far too much
very helpful
Price
Value for money
Layout & presentation
Selection & range
Availability

"Hallowed be thy Foodhall"

So our Marks who art with Spencer's aren’t doing so well these days for one reason or another, we shop there every week (in Shrewsbury), in the food hall that is, the rest of the shop we don’t bother so much with, but in the food hall they do have quality foods, some great deals, some good vegetarian foods, and quite a variety.

I admit it, I love Marks and Spencer foods, it was my wife that used to go there for her food before we met and is why we shop there now, although what we do get from there is slowly decreasing - but more of that later.

As you may know I’m vegetarian, and Marks and Spencer do some really good vegetarian meals including, lasagnes, pasta bakes, ratatouille, a really nice vegetable curry and...... well so on and so fourth really. They also have vegetarian cheese (for those that may wonder, part of a calves stomach is used in ordinary cheese), as much as I’d like not to eat cheese and dairy products I just don’t want to (lets face it there’s nothing stopping me), so this cheese is a good half way point, there’s also stuff like, ready made stir fry, quiche, pizza’s....

My wife - sadly not a vegetarian (yet) - buys her chicken thighs there, also her yoghurts (of which there is a good range), also they do a lot of very fresh fruit and veg, which is very nice, but also it can be quite expensive.

One really great thing is that the foods in Marks and Spencer, tend to be, a lot of the time (though not all), either vegetarian, low fat or organic, for people like me this is great, as these three things are the kind I want to buy.

The food tends to be a little more exotic than perhaps you’d expect, or maybe its just I don’t go to many supermarkets. We have enjoyed Mediterranean bakes, Moroccan filo pies, we’ve just finished a nut loaf, also we’ve had, a salsa wedge melt, asparagus lasagne, vegetable moussaka - all very nice, so there’s enough not to be bored with.

They have a range of ‘count on us’ foods which is clearly marked with white labels as being low fat foods. They seem to do a lot of ready meals, and a number of ranges of foods, each labelled in their own colour schemes, which is very helpful, for quick reference.

On the subject of labels, these are also good, with just a quick look you can see if the product is suitable for home freezing, is suitable for vegetarians, the best before and sell by dates are also clearly present, as is the price. The cooking instructions are nicely laid out on the back, all of which makes for an easier shopping experience, and easier use at home.

When it comes down to it they do almost everything you’d expect a small
supermarket to do, wines, bread, bin bags, cakes (birthday cakes as well), tinned meats etc. and so on.

They do a lot of promotional stuff, we often see a stand with the opportunity of tasting a new product. There are always deals on foods; three for the price of two, buy one get one free, reduced prices - just like every other store.

The most important thing, as well as having good quality products, is that the food is always nice - its one thing I can’t fault them for (I wouldn’t shop there if it wasn’t).

The staff have always been pleasant and helpful when I’ve spoken to them, this is also good, I’ve been in shops (and never again) where the service has been very bad, so its definitely a reason to go back, as is the collect by car service.

OK, so its got a down side, I, that is, we, find that its best to get there early as the food seems to disappear very quickly, though this could be because there isn’t a lot of it, being only a small part of the whole shop.

Also if you find something you really like, you might find it not in stock for a considerable amount of time, if ever again, this can be a little annoying, or very annoying even, there are a lot of foods I’ve really liked, only to find that after a couple of months its never there again, the good side is that they do bring in new foods which I probably wouldn’t try otherwise, so its not so bad, and my wife’s just reminded me that some things are seasonal.

One thing I really hate about the shop is the fact that they move the products around far too much, I know that this is so shoppers discover things they hadn’t previously seen, and may buy them, but this happens almost on a weekly basis, I’ve even nearly got to the point of leaving my trolley and walking out, when your in a hurry and have to wonder about for half an hour just to find one thing its extremely annoying, and then next week its in another new place, it makes me feel like not returning.

Some prices
A lot of people seem to think that Marks and Spencer’s are expensive, but as they say you get what you pay for. The fruit and veg can be a little expensive, and some of the organic products, but otherwise I don’t find them too over priced (much like Holland and Barrett; my mother asked me to get a Soya spread from there to replace the Clover she uses, she was horrified at the price until she realised that, for the same weight she was paying more for her clover - makes you think).

I was hoping to do a bit of a price comparison, but after keeping my receipts for the last few weeks, I realise that we don’t buy the same things from different shops, and that the weight makes a difference, and if its organic. The fact that we shop in about three places means its hard to give a good overview of prices across the store, so here’s a couple of prices just to give you an idea,

4 Croissants 99p
Vegetable pasta bake £1.69
Vegetarian spring rolls £1.79
Ratatouille £1.79
4 Chicken legs £2.19
Vegetable bake £1.49
Organic chips £1.49
Chocolate mint mouse 39p

These being prices at the end of 2001.

So that’s my opinion, I like the shop, good quality food, nice staff and some really good ranges, and its got nothing to do with the fact that when we leave we go through the women’s underwear section.

Try it, you might be surprised.

Seagulls-lost-horizon

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Comments on this review

  • Disillusioned published 08/12/2001
    Great opinion mate, we often use M&S for food. :) Cheers, James.
  • Elainebaba published 01/12/2001
    A very good and supportive op. Avril
  • Infinity published 01/12/2001
    On the couple of ocassions that I have been to an M&S foofhall I have been pretty impressed. Justin.
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Listed on Ciao since: 09/11/2000