Monday, 29 October 2012

Marketing at its brightest – the sequel

“Auntie Bessie’s Perfect for sausage Yorkshire Puddings”. This was what I spotted on TV yesterday, while innocently watching Poirot.

Given the recent ad campaign for really easy instant coffee, you can be assured that I got my own little grey cells working and dug a little deeper.

This astonishing product weighs 220g, for which you get six of these small ‘boat-shaped’ puddings, each one of which will hold a single sausage.

They cost £1.65 at Ocado and £1.29 at and are, apparently, “ready in 4 minutes|”

They contain: “Wheat flour, whole egg, egg white, water, vegetable oil, skimmed milk powder, salt”.

Well, there’s nothing too bad there – so let’s do a little comparison.

The recipe I use is from Delia’s Complete Cookery Course. It is foolproof. Yes. I can do it easily.

Her original measurements, for four servings, are:

75g plain flour
1 egg
75ml milk
75 water
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons beef dripping

So let’s translate that into hard cash – using the best possible ingredients at the ‘poshest’ supermarket.

Duchy organic plain flour (British) from Ocado comes in at £1.89 for a 1.5kg bag. So for Yorkies as per St Delia of Norwich, it’ll be 0.094p.

Waitrose semi-skimmed milk at Ocado is £1.18 for 2.27l – so let’s call that 0.038p.

Duchy organic, large free range eggs at Ocado – a pack of 12 is £4.70, so that’s 39p.

Kerrygold lard – 49p for 250g. Let’s be generous here and call it 30g (approximately 15g per tablespoon). So that’s 0.05.

That’s £0.572.

We forgot the salt and pepper? Well, you can imagine what difference that would make.

So double the amounts you make and you’ll still be better off than either the Ocado or Tesco price.

You still need to heat your oven – and you still need to cook them. The Yorkshires might take longer when they’re made fresh, but if you’re doing a Sunday roast, then you’ll already have the oven on for far longer than that anyway.

And if you’re just planning a few sausages for midweek, then they’ll also need considerably longer than four minutes.

Mind, Ocado is currently offering a pack of these, plus six Waitrose “pork and red onion sausages” (400g and usually £2.79), plus a 500g tub of Waitrose Essential Gravy (usually £1.79) for just £5 the lot!

The thing is, I can get half a dozen good, basic pork sausages from my butcher – and I mean so good that they don’t shrink – for just £2.50.

So we’d be up to £3.72 on my own ingredients – and really, gravy will not cost £1.28 to make from a large sliced onion, a little fat and flour and some water or stock (if I have some homemade stock defrosted). In fact, I’ll probably still have money left over for a couple of large carrots to peel and slice and boil too.

That Waitrose gravy obviously does include more ingredients that I’d use:

Water, Onion, Beef Stock Paste, Cornflour, Vegetable Bouillon, Rapeseed Oil, Garlic, White Pepper, Celery Powder, Beef Stock Paste Contains Yeast Extract, Beef Bones, Water, Salt, Beef Extract, Vegetable Bouillon Contains Salt, Dried Onion, Sugar, Leek Powder, Sunflower Oil, Black Pepper, Turmeric.

Mind, via, there’s an “Auntie Bessie’s Homestyle Gravy”, at £1.70 for 150g.

Ingredients: Beef Stock (39%) (Water, Roast Beef Rib Bone, Onion, Tomato Puree, Carrots, Leeks, Garlic Puree, Parsley, Bayleaf, Thyme, Rosemary), Water, Onions, Corn Flour, Beef Fat, Muscavado Sugar, Salt, Colour: Plain Caramel, Garlic, Bayleaf, Thyme, White Pepper, Star Anise.

The final point is that the description of these Yorkshires serving six is also deceptive.

Each one is designed to hold a sausage. So if there are six Yorkshires in a pack that does six servings, that means one sausage per person.

In other words, this is either a side dish – or it’s hoped you’ll eat several at one go, thus increasing your intake of starchy carbs in order to make your amount of protein enough for a main meal.

So whether as a side dish or the heart of a main meal, this is more expensive than making such a dish from fresh.

The little grey cells tell me that Hercule would turn up his nose at such processed fodder. As in most cases, he’d be correct.

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