A few weeks back we were asked by Lidl NI to visit one of their new concept stores in Banbridge. We were tasked with doing our weekly shop in Lidl, something we have to admit, we have never really considered doing. There is a Lidl in our home town of Newcastle, and if we’re honest, we don’t visit it too often. It’s not that we don’t think Lidl is a good shop, far from it in fact. We’ve just got settled into a routine of visiting Tesco for our weekly shop and it’s just become the go to for our weekly shop. So when the guys at Lidl NI dropped us a line, we were keen to see what the shop had to offer. It’s fair to say we were more than surprised by the variety and quality of food on offer.
Our weekly shop with Lidl
We won’t break down every item we bought as there were over 50 items, but as you can see from the photo below, we got all the essential food supplies to do us for seven days (and then some). Lidl has slowly but surely been changing its reputation in Northern Ireland in recent years. No longer seen as the ‘cheap German’ alternative, Lidl prides itself on using local NI suppliers and stocking quality produce in its stores, something we’d always heard from friends and family who raved about the meat, fruit and veg on offer at Lidl.
The first thing that hit us as we entered the store in Banbridge was the smell of the bakery, something that must be common with Lidl stores as it’s the same in the Newcastle store. While the layout is not as crisp as the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda or M&S, Lidl aren’t trying to do anything fancy. The concept store takes you seamlessly on a journey for your weekly shop, from baked goods and fruit and veg, to meat, fish and frozen goods, before ending up in the alcohol section.
If it’s household names and instantly recognisable brands you’re after, then Lidl will likely not tick all of the boxes. When it comes to food however, we shouldn’t think of the big brands. Big isn’t always better, and this was certainly the case with Lidl. To be honest, we hadn’t heard of 70% of the suppliers who’s products ended up in our basket, but that didn’t matter when it came to enjoying the goods throughout the week.
Quality doesn’t need to have a shiny package, recognisable name and big price
As previously mentioned, we didn’t recognise most of the brands that we purchased, but that didn’t make a difference when it came to enjoying the food back at the ranch. Without doubt, the highlights of the shop were the meat. The Deluxe duck breasts marinated in garlic and pepper, and the Strathvale collection of lamb steaks, beef mince and ribeye steaks were absolutely sublime when cooked. Obviously our cooking played a big part 😉 , but the quality of meat really shone through. So much so in fact that we’ve been popping into our local Lidl to get the meat over the past few weeks.
The fruit and veg also hit the spot, and it’s these staples that often define where you will shop. It’s what keeps our butchers and fruit & veg shops going. Once you establish quality suppliers and quality produce, you’ll often base your weekly shop around them, sometimes going from one shop to another, other times just doing it all at once. We have probably got lazy over time and stuck with the safety of Tesco and having everything under one roof, not to mention free and convenient parking.
This Lidl shopping experience has certainly made us view the weekly shop in a different light and start to look beyond the big beast that is Tesco. We’re starting to look at alternatives like Lidl and even shopping more locally with our local specialist suppliers. Shopping local and supporting your local suppliers is a big thing in Northern Ireland, especially in this the year of food and drink, so we aim to continue doing this and start moving away from the comfort of Tesco for a one size fits all shopping approach.
If you haven’t considered Lidl for a weekly shop, I’d certainly recommend trying it out. Lidl is no longer the ‘cheap’ shopping choice. It’s very much a ‘quality’ shopping choice, and caters for almost everything you would need for a weekly shop. Our advice, give it a go. You’ll even save yourself a few pound in the process.
Lidl vs Tesco – the price battle
We wanted to see just what the weekly shop in Lidl would mean for our bank balance, so we did a comparison with Tesco for a like-for-like shop to see if we saved much, if anything at all. Our weekly shop with Lidl came to £79.96 (which might seem a lot but we decided to do a large shop that catered for four adults) while the same shop with Tesco would have amounted to £86.55 (using Tesco value products where feasible). This is a weekly saving of £6.59. At 52 weekly shops in the year, this is a saving of £342.68 or approx. 4 – 5 free weekly shops. Just another reason to consider Lidl for your weekly shop!
Check back in a week for a special recipe
With the amazing produce on offer we couldn’t resist using some of Lidl’s finest produce to create a new recipe. We’ll be sharing this with you next week, so be sure to check back for the full recipe, complete with video.
Until next time guys, happy shopping!
We were invited along by Lidl NI to their Banbridge store for this review, but all thoughts expressed are entirely our own.