THE BIG EXPERIMENT:When’s Best to Stock Up? FINAL DAY 16:30

Piled high to the rafters - those pizzas had disappeared by the time I came back for my final check!

After a week of going to my same Tesco Express on City Road at different times of the day to check the reduced aisle, I’m sad to say the experiment has come to an end. But in more positive news, I’ve now got loads of food and indeed data to digest so I can give some great tips on how best to raid your local reduced aisle.

I’m going to spend the next week looking at the results to see any patterns but for now, have a look at what I found today at 16:30, following that coveted second reduction (for more info on this, see yesterday’s post):

Total items found: 14
Breakdown: 3 Fresh Vegetables/Fruit, 4 Meat/Fish, 0 Side Dishes, 1 Ready Meal, 6 Baked Goods, 0 Sandwiches, 0 Dairy/Yoghurt, 0 Inedible, 0 Drinks

All found in the aisle, as the staff were doing a great job of making sure it was all in one place:

  • Breaded Cod Fillets – £3 to £1.25 Saving of £1.75
  • Chicken and Gravy Pie – £2.98 to £1.19 Saving of £1.79
  • Cheese & Tomato Pizza – 48p to 19p Saving of 29p
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza – £2.35 ro 95p Saving of £1.40
  • Chicken & Stuffing Slices – £2.65 to £1.09 Saving of £1.56
  • Whole Roast Chicken – £5.25 to £2.09 Saving of £3.16
  • French Fancies – £1.87 to 49p Saving of £1.38
  • Lemon Bakewells – £1.77 to 45p Saving of £1.32
  • Pear – 44p to 19p Saving of 25p
  • Cauliflower – £1.27 to 55p Saving of 72p
  • Chicken and Broccoli Pie – £2 to 85p Saving of £1.15
  • Savoy Cabbage – 76p to 35p Saving of 41p
  • Finest Pappardalle – £4 to £1.65 Saving of £2.35
  • Chicken Fillets – £3 to £1.25 Saving of £1.75


Total potential saving: £19.28.

I couldnt resist this last time and boy did I get some bargains there!


Having come to the end, it’s most definitely time to get eating. I’ll be back very soon with a more detailed overview of my results.

Let me know if you can add to any of the results and analysis you’ve seen this week by posting a comment below and I’ll make sure to get back to you.

The BIG EXPERIMENT, signing off, for now…


THE BIG EXPERIMENT:DAY 6 15:30 The Manager Reveals!

Saturday, the lovely weekend, and not only did it bring a lovely summer’s day, it also brought in the weekend staff at the local Tesco, who were much more intrigued by what a strange lady was doing with a notepad and a cameraphone in their shop. The manager very politely asked me if I needed any help and in the end, she was more than helpful, but more on that later.

Here’s what I found in today’s raid at 15:30:

But as ever, more bargains to be had elsewhere in the shop!

Mini Chocolate Roll Bites - £3.07 to £1.99 Saving of £1.08

Tulips - £3 to £1.79 Saving of £1.21

Plums - £1 to 70p Saving of 30p (but they are usually £1.45 anyway)

Pleased to see theyve got the bread in the aisle as well as in the bread section.

Total items found: 12
Breakdown: 4 Fresh Vegetables/Fruit, 0 Meat/Fish, 0 Side Dishes, 0 Ready Meals, 4 Baked Goods, 1 Sandwich, 0 Dairy/Yoghurt, 1 Inedible, 2 Drinks

Found in the aisle:

  • Ploughman’s Sandwich – £1.55 to £1.09 Saving of 46p
  • Pineapple Chunks – £1.30 to 95p Saving of 35p
  • Mouthwatering Melon – £1.30 to 95p Saving of 35p
  • Cabbage – 76p to 55p Saving of 21p
  • Chocolate Birthday Cake – £4.16 to £2.75 Saving of £1.41
  • Tesco White Bread – 69p to 49p Saving of 20p
  • Carling (2 cans) – £4.67 to £2.10 Saving of £2.57
  • Strongbow (3 cans) – £3.64 to £2.18 Saving of £1.46

Found elsewhere:

  • Plums – £1 to 70p Saving of 30p
  • Hovis Wheatgerm – 60p to 45p Saving of 15p
  • Mini Chocolate Roll Bites – £3.07 to £1.99 Saving of £1.08
  • Tulips – £3 to £1.79 Saving of £1.21

Total Potential Saving: £9.75

But, more interestingly whilst speaking to the manager – a very helpful lady might I add – she revealed the thing that this experiment has been looking to find….the pattern and the Tesco protocol for reducing items.

In her own words:

We try to get all the reduced stock ready between 11 and 1pm but it depends on how busy we are with deliveries. The whole purpose is to avoid any waste.

I then asked her about why some items aren’t put in the reduced aisle but, rather left on their original shelf.

Good question, what we do quite often is put things in two places. Some people come in and go straight for the reduced items, others know what they want specifically and this gives us the best possible chance to sell them and reduce our waste.

So there you have it – that definitely makes a lot of sense. For those who don’t normally go specifically to the aisle, it means they get the chance to buy what they orginally came in for, for a bit less and for raiders like us, we also get the opportunity to look at all of what’s on offer in one place. Smart move. But that only works when there is more than one of the item in question so it’s not a hard and fast rule, certainly.

For me, the million dollar question was this: when do you then put an extra reduction on what’s left?

You should stick around because we’ll be reducing them again in about half an hour. We have to reduce anything that’s left between 3:30 and 4:30. The machine does it all automatically.

Right, so potentially the best time to go is between 15:30 and 16:30, particularly if you’ve seen that the reduction’s just happened. That’s certainly a step forward for me.

To add to that, my highly scientifc week-long research has shown so far that in most cases in Tesco on a first reduction, you’re looking at anything between 27% and 34% off but we’ll have to wait til tomorrow to find out how much off you can expect for that magic second reduction.

THE BIG EXPERIMENT:When’s Best to Stock Up? DAY 4 13:30

When’s best to stock up? 13:30 is!


Just to recap on the BIG EXPERIMENT: every day this week I’ve been going to my local Tesco Express’ Reduced Aisle at a different hour each day – so Monday 10:30am, Tuesday 11:30 am and so on.

13:30 has been the most prolific time to visit so far, only just pipping 12:30pm with a total of 29 different items found. And remember this doesn’t include duplicates. This means 29 different varieties of food were available reduced, what a result!

Slim pickings in the aisle but...

As predicted, the beauties and bargains were not to be found in the reduced aisle itself but elsewhere in the store.

Dotted around I found fruit, curry, moussaka, cheesecake and even flowers.

Once again I will let the pictures and the bargains speak for themselves…

Strawberries - £2.19 to £1.55 Saving of 64p

Baby plum tomatoes - £1.50 to £1.05 Saving of 45p

Whole Roast Chicken - £4.68 to £3.26 Saving of £1.42

Posh Curries - £4 to £2.79 Saving of £1.29 on each

Cadburys Buttons Chocolate Mousses - 82p to 59p Saving of 23p

Tulips - £5 to £1.25 Saving of £3.75 - the biggest mark-down so far.

Total items found: 29
Breakdown: 9 Fresh Vegetables/Fruit, 3 Meat/Fish, 1 Side Dishes, 5 Ready Meals, 7 Baked Goods, 2 Sandwiches, 1 Dairy/Yoghurt, 1 Inedible, 0 Drinks

Found in the aisle:

  • Sausages and Mash Ready Meal – £2 to £1.39 Saving of 61p
  • Roast Beef Slices – £2.20 to £1.55 Saving of 65p
  • Southern Fried Chicken Wrap – £2.08 to £1.45 Saving of 63p
  • Chicken Caesar Wrap – £2.30 to £1.65 Saving of 65p

but more so, look at the amount and variety of items found elsewhere in the shop:

  • Pineapple Chunks – £1.30 to 95p Saving of 35p
  • Mouthwatering Melon – £1.30 to 95p Saving of 35p
  • Juicy Fruit Twist – £1.30 to 95p Saving of 35p
  • Mini Fruit Platter – £2.08 to £1.45 Saving of 63p
  • Strawberries – £2.19 to £1.55 Saving of 64p
  • Avocado – £1.03 to 75p Saving of 28p
  • Red Grapes – £2.30 to £1.65 Saving of 65p
  • Baby Plum Tomatoes – £1.50 to £1.05 Saving of 45p
  • 2 Courgettes – £1.20 to 85p Saving of 35p
  • Finest Cumberland Sausages – £3 to £2.09 Saving of 91p
  • Whole Roast Chicken – £4.68 to £3.26 Saving of £1.42
  • Chicken Katsu Curry – £4 to £2.79 Saving of £1.29
  • King Prawn Red Thai Curry – £4 to £2.79 Saving of £1.29
  • Chicken Fajita Set – £2.80 to £1.95 Saving of 85p
  • Mini Indian Selection – £1.45 to £1.05 Saving of 40p
  • Finest Lamb Moussaka – £2.70 to £1.89 Saving of 81p
  • Braces Malted Grain Bread – £1.25 to 89p Saving of 36p
  • Hovis Wholemeal Bread – £1.05 to 75p Saving of 30p
  • Baker’s Soft White Bread – £1 to 69p Saving of 31p
  • Hovis Best of Both Bread – £1.05 to 75p Saving of 30p
  • 4 Birthday Cupcakes – £1.56 to £1.05 Saving of 51p
  • 2 Cheesecake Slices – £2 to £1.29 Saving of 71p
  • Cadbury’s Buttons Chocolate Mousse – 82p to 59p Saving of 23p
  • Cadbury’s Caramel Cake Bars – £1.35 to 89p Saving of 46p
  • Tulips – £5 to £1.25 Saving of £3.75

Total potential saving: £20.49 if you were really hungry. Personally I went for the curries as I’ve always wanted to try them, but one little tip from a seasoned reduced-aisle raider…

Don’t forget that when you’re looking for bargains, look carefully – I could have quite easily missed this hidden avocado or, more drastically the cupcakes!

Wheres the bargain?

Oh wait, there it is! Avocado - £1.03 to 75p Saving of 28p

Could have missed these birthday cupcakes as well! 4 Cupcakes - £1.56 to £1.05 Saving of 51p

THE BIG EXPERIMENT:When’s Best to Stock Up? DAY 3 12:30pm

It was a veritable frenzy at the reduced aisle today at 12:30pm as I noted down a massive 25 different items on offer, some with sizeable reductions.

As I arrived, the aisle looked almost fit to burst:

Practically overflowing compared to recent days!

Look at it all!


Not only have we got almost a dozen sandwiches, but oodles of cakes and desserts – it brings me to question whether Tesco knows what people who are popping out from work need to get through the afternoon!

But as I then took a closer look round the shop I found even more stuff on the shelves (as I predicted at the start of the week):

Green grapes - £2.67 to £1.89 Saving of 78p

2 Sweetcorn Cobs - £1.95 to £1.39 Saving of 56p

Bananas - £1.29 to 95p Saving of 34p


Mopping my brow, I returned to the meat section for a final sweep when a man brandishing a trolley load of reduced items ready to be put out, brushed past me. I have to say, I nearly squealed – where would he put them?!
Some got squished at the back, some I obviously snapped up, and then he had to stand and wait for the crowd to empty the shelf in order to create more room.

Take note of the oodles of pies and scotch eggs that are waiting for their moment. Also notice the dream machine that created the little yellow stickers of joy and the 2 gents who are looking excitedly at the potential bargains.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a buzz around this reduced aisle as today. It’s only one tiny shelf but people were hovering and jostling like old biddies at a Daniel O’Donnelly concert.

Total items found: 25
Breakdown: 8 Fresh Vegetables/Fruit, 1 Meat/Fish, 3 Side Dishes, 2 Ready Meals, 7 Baked Goods, 4 Sandwiches

Found in the aisle:

  • Pineapple Chunks – £1.30 to 95p Saving of 35p
  • 4 Cookies and Cream Cupcakes – £1.82 to £1.19 Saving of 63p
  • Selection of 4 Cream Cakes – £2 to £1.35 Saving of 65p
  • Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake – £3.39 to £2.25 Saving of £1.14
  • 2 Strawberry Jam Doughnuts – £1.09 to 75p Saving of 34p
  • 2 Apple Turnovers – £1.13 to 75p Saving of 38p
  • Apple Crumble – £2.27 to £1.49 Saving of 78p
  • Finest Moroccan Couscous – £2.10 to £1.49 Saving of 61p
  • Cheese Salad – £1.25 to 89p Saving of 36p
  • Juicy Fruit Twist – £1.30 to 95p Saving of 35p
  • Roast Chicken Sandwich – £1.70 to £1.19 Saving of 51p
  • Tuna Sandwich – £1.35 to 95p Saving of 40p
  • Smoked Ham and Mustard Sandwich – £1.35 to 95p Saving of 40p
  • Hoisin Duck Wrap – £2.40 to £1.69 Saving of 71p

plus these added later:

  • King Prawns – £3 to £2.09 Saving of 91p
  • Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Bake – £2.08 to £1.45 Saving of 63p
  • Scotch Eggs – £1.68 to £1.19 Saving of 49p
  • Pukka Steak Pie – £1.55 to £1.09 Saving of 46p
  • Chicken Tikka Massala and Rice – £3.20 to £2.25 Saving of 95p

and these found elsewhere in the shop:

  • Green Grapes – £2.67 to £1.89 Saving of 78p
  • Grape Selection – £2.38 to £1.69 Saving of 69p
  • Babycorn – £1.56 to £1.09 Saving of 47p
  • 2 Sweetcorn Cobs – £1.95 to £1.39 Saving of 56p
  • Bananas – £1.29 to 95p Saving of 34p
  • Cabbage – 76p to 55p Saving of 21p

Total potential saving: £14.10 a whopping number, reaching double figures!

The sheer volume of produce was astounding, I would estimate that in reality, forgetting duplicates, there was around 60 items reduced in store today – what a day!

Come back again tomorrow to see how I get on at 13:30 as the BIG EXPERIMENT goes post-lunch hour…

Also if anyone can think of a better way to categorize the food types, let me know as scotch eggs were really hard to place with the current system!

Cheap Smoothie Recipe for a Smooth New You

Strawberries, blackberries and blueberries £5 total from Tesco

I really am starting to get the idea that Tesco know exactly what I want at all times of the year. Case in point: currently trying to eat more healthily and they put an awesome deal on fruit which make delicious smoothies. They’ve got a 3 for £5 or 2 for £4 deal on fruits such as strawberries and the much under-rated blueberry. According to the blueberry has “The highest antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruit”. Not just that, it also has the following special power:

“Aid in reducing Belly Fat: A new University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study suggests that blueberries may help reduce belly fat and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.”


Now, I’m not one who finds fruit particularly tasty or hunger-satisfying but I do find that put into a smoothie format, I can definitely manage to gulp down quite a lot and even enjoy it.

So with that in mind, I knocked up a blueberry and strawberry smoothie and this is all you need to do the same:

No ketchup required.

Don’t worry too much about the tomato ketchup, you definitely won’t be needing that for this.

I’ve discovered that personally I much prefer smoothies that have milk in them rather than yoghurt or fruit juice but it’s worth experimenting to see what you like.

I also 9 times out of 10 make “breakfast smoothies” which as far as I am aware just means they have oats in them but it makes them much more filling and indeed tastier I reckon, just try not to focus on the whole this-is-cold-porridge aspect.

So I used 4 strawberries, about 20 blueberries, a handful of oats and a couple of dollops of honey. Honey isn’t a must, especially when you’re using strawberries which are almost sweet enough but if you’re like me, it’s a nice incentive to be having all that fuit alongside!

This is how it looked before I then added the milk.

I suggest then to add enough milk to just cover the ingredients you’ve already put in.

TOP TIP: It also helps when you’re blending if you’ve chopped the fruit as small as you possibly can before you pop it in the blender.

So blend it for up to 2 minutes depending on the speed and awesome power of your blender. If all else fails wait for it to go a lovely lilac-purple colour, which Grazia’s Christmas issue reliably informs me is going to be the colour highlights we shall be putting in our hair this year. Interesting.

Back to food though and what you have made will most likely look like this or even better:

The finished product - one actually delicious strawberry and blueberry breakfast smoothie. Enjoy!