Where is Britain when we get it wrong with yoghurt as the main part of a meal? | Imogen West-Knights

WWhen I lived abroad, one of the things I missed most about Britain was a meal deal. I really did it. It’s something we take for granted, the ability to go to any major supermarket and buy enough food to last us until dinner, edible on the go, at a bargain price. Generally, this is not done in other countries. I hear a Frenchman somewhere talking about how our food culture is so pitiful that we’re convinced we actually like eating an overly refrigerated supermarket sandwich from a cardboard box and calling it lunch. He’s right, but here we are. I like meal deals.

I don’t want a mathematician to email me about this, but my understanding is that there are several thousand possible combinations you can make from the main offering plus snack plus drink. In addition to being convenient, economical and quick, there is something deeply personal, perhaps even beautiful, about a meal deal. I experience it as a small buffet for one and get the same kind of satisfaction from purchasing a meal deal as I would from purchasing a selection of snacks at a train station for a long journey.

I like to have a sandwich or a wrap, the flavor depending on my mood, a bag of Quavers or a yogurt and a Diet Coke. You can learn a lot about a person from their meal selection. Let’s take the example of two people: one prepares salty chips, a BLT and a San Pellegrino, the other a pot of spicy chicken pasta, the two-pack of hard boiled eggs and a banana Yazoo. Who would you rather have as a babysitter?

Earlier this week, shoppers noticed that Sainsbury’s had quietly but unequivocally shaken the very foundations of the meal deal. Yogurt is no longer considered a snack. It is now classified as a main course.

“Yoghurt is not a main dish. You know it, I know it. The British people know this. Photograph: Jill Mead/The Guardian

Listen, I like yogurt. It’s good food. An easy, guilt-free dessert option after your dinner that’s also fun for breakfast. Versatile little guy, yogurt. But to say that we must now consider yogurt a main course within the sacred confines of the meal is to lie. Yogurt is not a main course. You know it, I know it. The British people know this. And we made our knowledge heard. Outrage followed the yogurt revelation, protests that it can’t be real, that the new classification goes against what everyone knows to be true: that yogurt is not, I repeat, a main course.

Is there any justification that yogurt can make up the bulk of a breakfast, which is after all a meal? Could be. But once again: we are being sold a puppy here. What kind of person buys a breakfast meal deal? The meal in question in a meal offer is lunch.

Everything is fine, I thought. Do as you wish, Sainsbury’s. I will purchase one of your meal deals with yogurt as the main course and see if it can be the main item for lunch. I bought their own Greek yogurt with a sprinkle of granola on top, a little panicked at the thought of having to choose a substantial savory snack and opted for the “olive trio”, and finished with a thick smoothie for more nourishment. . You don’t need me to tell you that I was hungry at 4 p.m. Don’t make me grovel here with the details of my second emergency lunch/early first dinner. Of course, that didn’t make for a meal. It’s a Yogurt.

Maybe it doesn’t really matter. I mean, clearly, it is not one of the great injustices of life to be deprived of the possibility of eating a sandwich as well as a yogurt and accompanying it with a soft drink or a juice , for just £3.50. But I hate it. Not just on principle, but because it is another stab in the experience of shopping to death by the thousands in the UK these days. Everything costs too much. The meal deal felt like one of the last bastions of good value. And now we all stand, helpless and hungry, watching it fall apart.

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