Supermarkets threatening pubs' share of the Christmas dinner market

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Cut price: supermarkets are undercutting pubs with cheaper Christmas meals
Cut price: supermarkets are undercutting pubs with cheaper Christmas meals

Related tags: Roast potatoes, Sauce

Supermarkets are under-cutting pubs in the Christmas dinner market with food deals that are designed to encourage people to eat at home.

Pubs have already started their Christmas push with a wide range of festive menus and deals. Many branded operators are offering festive menus at different prices depending on their local areas.

Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) chain Vintage Inns is running its Christmas festive menus from 16 November until 30 December.

It is offering three courses for a minimum of £18.95 with prices varying depending on location. The menu includes starters such as king prawn and lobster cocktail; soup of the day; and oven-baked button and portobello mushrooms.

Its traditional turkey roast is hand carved and served with a clementine, tarragon and fig stuffing ball, a Cumberland and red onion pig in blanket, roast potatoes, honey-roasted carrots and parsnips, glazed sprouts and gravy.

Slow-cooked rib of beef

For those not keen on turkey there is also slow-cooked short rib of beef; sweet potato and vegetable mixed nut roast; pan-fried sea bass fillets; and 28-day-aged 8oz sirloin steak (+£2). Desserts include traditional Christmas pudding with brandy sauce; classic vanilla crème brûlée; and cheese board.

M&B’s Nicholson’s pubs are also offering a three-course Christmas menu with prices ranging from £19.95 to £28.95. Its starters include haricot bean and white truffle soup; classic prawn cocktail; and ham hock, mustard seed and wild garlic terrine. Its 'main event' includes the classic roast turkey; 10oz ribeye steak; fillet of salmon; slow cooked beef rib; and vegetable and cranberry nut roast.

To finish off, punters can go for the classic Christmas pud with brandy sauce as well as more exotic choices such as gin and tonic sorbet.

The Morning Advertiser​ priced up a similar meal using ready-made ingredients where possible at Tesco. This took into account suggested portion sizes and estimates in some cases of portions. This equated to £7.61 for a three-course meal.

The pricing was worked out by serving Tesco prawn cocktail, with two slices of bread for starter. The main was Tesco butter-basted turkey breast joint; Tesco Finest rosemary roast potatoes; Tesco pigs in blankets; Tesco veg portions, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. Dessert included Tesco classic Christmas pudding steeped in cider and brandy.

Meanwhile, Hungry Horse, the Greene King value food brand, has launched its festive three-course menu priced at around £13.99.

Traditional Christmas pud

Starters include tomato and basil soup and prawn cocktail, with its traditional turkey main meal served with roast potatoes, pigs in blanket, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, honey-roast parsnips, carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, peas and gravy. Other mains on offer include 8oz rump steak with peppercorn sauce; salmon with Hollandaise sauce; and Christmas-cracker beef burger. Desserts include the traditional Christmas pud as well as limoncello drizzled cheesecake.

By comparison, a Morrisons three-course meal was priced at £5.86. This included a starter of prawn cocktail with two slices of wholemeal bread; Morrisons basted turkey breast with its own-label goose-fat roast potatoes, pigs in blankets served with carrots and parsnips with apricot and cumin, stuffing balls, gravy and cranberry sauce. This was finished off with Morrisons rich fruit Christmas pudding. 

Meanwhile, Whitbread’s Beefeater has a festive menu boasting prawn and crab cocktail and tomato soup with balsamic vinegar as part of its starter menu.

Its mains include festive turkey with all the trimmings; festive 8oz sirloin steak; and grilled salmon with a Prosecco and crab sauce. Its range of desserts include Christmas pudding with a choice of brandy sauce, custard, ice cream or whipping cream. The prices are around the £20 mark depending on the location of the venue.

A similar meal at Asda, however, also came out dramatically cheaper at only £5.65. A starter of Asda poached salmon and crème fresh tart; a main of Asda roast turkey, Asda pigs in blankets, Asda extra-special parsnip, Chantennay carrots with honey, mustard and maple glaze, Asda frozen roast potatoes and cranberry sauce, gravy and stuffing. This was finished off with Asda Christmas pudding. 

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