Surely it is not just me who feels like they probably need to ‘get out more’, but as the UK perches on the cusp of easing ‘stay at home’ lockdown restrictions, popping to the shop remains a bit of a treat and break from the norm. That said, I was seriously unprepared for the amazing shopping experience I had at the M&S Hedge End flagship store. I only meant to ‘nip in’ to pick up dinner | Kate Harding, Editor C-TALK reports

I was greeted with a sparkly disco-ball pizza oven, seriously tasty freshly prepared pasta to try before you buy, loose eggs, refill stations and neon light signage in the food to go area – reminiscent of bars I’d visited the Meat-packing district of New York – I felt like I was in another country or an international trade show perhaps, but certainly not somewhere you can just visit anytime. Amazing.

Engaging | Hand on heart I don’t think I can say any previous trip to a food store with my now 4year old has previously ever been as engaging for the two of us before. She was so fascinated with the colourful fruits and vegetables in the well presented fresh department that she was more than happy to help pick out some ‘tricolor’ potatoes to try later. Great way to get kids interested in new foods or foods they haven’t tried before.

Convenient meal prep & ‘next level’ quality | I’ve never been so interested in pasta before. But the ‘Pasta Evangelist’ counter had my mind spun. The Lobster & Crab parcels were packaged in to a premium cardboard box, accompanied with sage infused butter and samphire. £1.50 for a single parcel is not your average but totally worth every penny when you consider how easy it us to make when you get home (3minutes) and just how delicious it truly was.

*We have asked Pasta Evangelists if they are looking to expand in to Convenience but at the time of publishing this article we have not yet had a response*

Value perception | Tasty treats were not the only items we stumbled across… 45p for a sweet potato the size of my daughters head went straight in the basket. That one giant potato will probably feed us twice. That type of value perception at the front of the store had me thinking I’d saved so much money on entry to store… that I ended up trading up in other food categories quite mindlessly.

Here are a few more pics of around the store.

YEAH BABY! I totally dig how each category has it’s own signage. There is no ‘one size / font / colour / format fits all’ principle here at all.
I can imagine Ella’s Kitchen were particularly pleased with this contract.
BEHOLD… a wall of hot chickens… bag one for a fiver
Pick your own eggs and distract children with the instore ‘theatre’ aka noisy button
More cheese than you can shake a bread stick at
Great displays | Helping Mummy choose which potatoes to have for dinner later
Prettiest pizza oven in town
Choosing a cereal without any unicorn cartoons on has never been more fun for this Mummy. Great experience.
Only disappointment was the lack of wine to taste. But that is to be expected.

M&S Hedge End, Southampton, Hampshire


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