There are few things more universal in the UK than the humble meal deal.
Everyone will have strong opinions about the best supermarket sandwich-drink-snack combination, whether they care to admit it or not, and it has been the source of countless lunchtime arguments - and there were practically street parties when M&S started doing them.
The meal deal debate will often sneak up on you. What begins as a casual throwaway comment about a tuna and cucumber roll will have escalate into a 23-hour debate about economic and political models without you realising. Then suddenly it’s almost lunchtime again and the cycle continues.
But we’ve already been over debates about the best and worst crisps, or the best office biscuits (not part of most meal deals, I know, but a suitable accompaniment). What we’re lacking is a ranking of the main event: the sandwich.
The folks at Vouchercloud have done some hard-hitting research into the best sarnies out there, focusing on the meal deal classics of BLT, chicken salad, and egg mayo.
They’ve done so with the most scientific approach possible - weighing a bunch of sandwiches to find those with the best filling-to-bread ratio.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. All sandwiches have more bread than filling, because there are two bits of bread and one splodge (technical term) of filling in between. And you’re right.
However, there’s still a pretty huge disparity when it comes to how much more bread.
Sainsbury’s meal deals have the ‘best’ filling-to-bread ratio, according to the research - though admittedly no one has dug into how much bread is enough to adequately contain the filling.
The supermarket chain averages 44.15% filling, just ahead of Co-Op (43.98%), while Boots (34.53) brings up the rear.
However, Sainsbury’s is bottom of the pile for BLT, in a departure from its strong showings on egg mayo (47.4% filling) and chicken salad (a huge 51.85% - more filling than bread!).
Boots’ egg mayo offering, meanwhile, has just 32g of filling (25% of the total weight), less than half the weight offered by Sainsbury’s, Tesco and relatively recent meal deal entrants M&S.
That’s right, vouchercloud have looked at overall weights, too. Egg mayo and BLT both tip the scales at a maximum of 75-75g (Co-Op’s BLT and Sainsbury’s egg mayo), but if you want your lunch to literally weigh you down then chicken is your friend.
Even the lightest chicken salad sarnie (from Morrisons) has an average filling weight of 81g and an average full sandwich weight of 182g (that’s 44.02% filling, for all you mathematicians).
The heaviest, meanwhile, is Sainsbury’s 235g behemoth, of which a huge 122g is filling. Put into context, 235g is the weight of four Mars bars, two-and-a-bit Cornetto Classicos, or a McDonald’s quarter-pounder with cheese plus a couple of fries.
You can find out the full details of the research here, and make an informed decision on your lunch tomorrow.
Or, y’know, just make your own lunch and put in as much filling as you want. Who’s going to stop you?