Shelf-stable ready meals can be found in supermarkets alongside instant noodles and soups, and cost between $3 and $5. Designed for office workers, single households and busy people, they don’t need refrigeration and are ready to eat after a quick zap in the microwave; you don’t even have to add water. While they don't have the healthiest image, CHOICE found most are okay. They're reasonably nutritious and the best ones taste surprisingly good.
CHOICE analysed four of the most popular flavour categories of shelf-stable meals:
- Chicken curry with rice
- Beef- and tomato-based pasta
- Meaty casseroles, chillis, roasts and stews
- Vegetarian pasta.
We also put the lowest fat products to the taste-test and found some clear winners (see What to Buy)