I signed up for the Brit Mums Morrisons challenge recently. It involved going to a Morrisons supermarket to do your shopping for the Bank Holiday weekend instead of using your regular supermarket. Morrisons have recently introduced many price cuts, and so it was an exercise in saving money and improving quality on your regular shop.
I think I should give you some background on my view of Morrisons. Basically, I have never been a fan! I have found their stores to be dingy and crowded. I do believe my negative view is as a result of that when one opened in my home town, the ceiling was extremely low, and the buzz of the lights really freaked me out, and so I just couldn’t shop in there. I have only been in the store in Aberdeen a couple of times, and found it rather old-fashioned compared to other stores. It was therefore a case of Morrisons starting on a back foot with me before I had even stepped foot in the store!
I did however decide to look at the store with as open a mind as I could muster, and try to push my negative thoughts to the back of my head for this exercise.
Usually our bank holiday shop would involve a roast meal, and all the trimming that went with it, but this year, I was shopping for a party for a 7-year-old, and food to barbecue and smoker for the Monday. I went armed with my list, and an idea of the prices I would usually spend.
The first thing I noticed was the store had been opened up at the entrance, no more barriers to pass through but instead straight into a vast fresh fruit and vegetable area. The poor quality of supermarket veg is one thing I have had many conversations with other Mums about as we try to find somewhere in our area to buy good quality, so I was very interested to see what was available. I was more than pleasantly surprised. The quality looked so much higher than I am used to from Asda, and the price was good too! What really impressed me was the display of fresh herbs – something I buy a lot and usually have to buy more than I need because of picking out wilting leaves, but here, they were in a misted display, keeping them fresh.
I then continued into the butchery department. The fresh display looked really appetising, and exceptionally fresh. Even the packaged meat looked freshly prepared, rather than wondering how long it had been sat there. I bought full racks of ribs at under £4 each, which I thought to be exceptional value. The fish counter looked amazing and there was little smell, which to me says how fresh it all was. I ordered a couple of herrings, and was very impressed with the service, as the assistant made sure I had exactly what I wanted, rather than the level of service I’m used to being lucky if they have what you want and if they do it’s just bunged into a bag and almost thrown at you.
I then entered the one department I had previously been impressed with and that was the freshly cooked counter. The display looked fresh with chickens, and other cuts waiting – I think if I had been going straight home I could have been convinced to purchase one of them. The availability of baked pies was amazing, both savoury and sweet. I think there must have been something for everyone there and the price was brilliant. I decided to order create your own pizza for our tea, as it’s always a popular one with the boys – especially M who is so fussy what he wants on his! The service was exceptional. When I do CYO at Asda, you choose your topping, but have it as they see fit after that and have to go away because it takes so long to make, but here, the assistant, was checking the amount of sauce, and cheese I wanted, as well as ensuring the toppings were as I wanted them. It was made in front of me so I saw exactly what went onto it. It really was created my way! When M ate it, he commented on how much tastier it was than usual which really is praise from Ceaser!!
The bakery was amazing! I happily choose bagels and rolls from the pick and mix, and at just £1 for 5, the value was brilliant. I was looking for cakes and biscuits for the party and the choice was vast. Everything looked so good that I could easily have filled my trolley in this department!
I had got half way around the store and was feeling as if I had totally got Morrisons wrong, and I should have believed Ant and Dec about the quality in the Market Place, but to be honest they are so annoying its hard to take anything they say seriously. I was totally blown away by how good everything looked and how competitive the prices were.
I then came back to reality as I entered the regular aisles of the store. The shelves were stacked high, and only a narrow walk way between them with just room for two trollies to pass.. The choice was far more limited than I am used to with only the major brands and own brand available. I was surprised to see kids clothes in there as I didn’t know they were now doing that. It was a real let down after the start of the shop.
It was therefore a shopping experience of two halves. The Market Place that Morrisons spend so much time advertising is amazing, with produce that is fresh, and great value for money. The traditional part of the shop though left a lot to be desired for me. I would definitely shop for my fresh food if I were in the area, or if they finally rolled out the online shopping across the country, I would use the service to get the value and quality offered.