Convenience-wise, they get top marks. You just grab the pack straight from the freezer and sling it in the oven for 30 minutes or the microwave for eight and a half minutes. Just time to kick your shoes off and grab yourself a drink if you're just in from a late night at work, or not enough time for the kids to start whining about being hungry if you've just dashed back in from the childminder's !
I was instantly impressed when I opened the packs because the vegetables are in a separate pouch to the fish or meat. One of my big gripes for frozen ready meals is that the ingredients cook at different rates so you frequently end up with fish that's still cold in the middle or vegetables that have turned to mush. The vegetables in the Fresher Taste packs are instantly recognisable and do look really fresh and appetising. As Findus explain, "Unlike conventional methods - including plastic wrapping and plastic containers - each product is sealed in a unique Flavour-Lock Pouch and is vacuum-packed to remove air and extend the life of the food beyond other frozen, bagged equivalents. The see-through packaging also acts like a mini roasting bag, retaining more of the natural moisture and flavours of the dish from the moment it is frozen to the time it is served up on a plate."
Findus UK & Ireland managing director, Leenndert den Hollander, has explained: “At Findus, our vision is to change the way that people think about frozen food. We’ve got an important job to do as people are reluctant to believe that frozen really can taste just as good, if not better, than fresh. The Findus Fresher Taste range will be challenging that perception; we’ve already tested ourselves against luxury, fresh equivalents and people have either struggled to tell them apart or in fact, prefer our Findus meals. The proof is in the pudding so to speak!”
Well, he's hit the nail right on the head. When I was offered the chance to review the Fresher Taste range, although I was seduced by the sheer convenience of the products, I wasn't really expecting to be overly impressed by the taste. I was expecting the usual mushy, sloppy, overcooked vegetables and bland meat or fish. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. Because they're cooked separately, the vegetables actually retain their crunch and taste and are perfectly tooth-tender. I did find (and in particular, Mike commented) that the portions were a bit on the small side but quality-wise, you really do get tasty meals full of flavour that could easily pass for home-cooked meals. I was actually really impressed. As they come in single-serve packs, they won't be something that we eat regularly together as a family but for those occasions (like the coming week) when I have parent-teacher evenings or other work commitments and will be getting home at ridiculously late hours, they're absolutely perfect as a way of getting the family to eat something tasty and healthy with no effort at all.
They are more expensive than many other ready meals on the market but the taste and quality of the ingredients are incomparable. It really is a case of getting what you pay for and for once, I agree with the "luxury" label.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £3.99 (introductory price of £2 per pack if you're quick !)
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