Incredible Iceland

In November 2013, I wrote a piece about the documentary Iceland Foods: Life in the Freezer Cabinet (BBC2).

In November 2014, we saw that they offered free delivery on orders of £35 and over, provided one is in their catchment area.

As luck would have it, we were. We had intended on ordering their lobster tails, 2 for £10 along with the Five Bird Roast, also £10.

N.B.: Before I go into detail, I have no commercial connection or financial interest in Iceland. I speak purely as a customer. Also be aware that product lines and prices are subject to change.

How it works

The Iceland website is nicely laid out and easy to follow.

However, it is like Waitrose’s in the sense that one sees items listed that disappear once one logs on. Items are area- or depot-specific. In our case, we were unable to order the lobster tails and Jules Clairon brandy (£13).

When one starts the online shop for home delivery, it is necessary to key in one’s postcode. Iceland then confirm immediately whether they deliver to that area.

Customers can book a slot only one week in advance. Slots have two-hour windows.

The food products have an excellent amount of information, including country of origin and customer reviews.

The deliveries are the quickest I’ve ever experienced, each one lasting no more than a minute. The drivers are courteous and presentable.

Delightful food

We have tried Iceland’s free home delivery twice now and will certainly order again.

Our two orders totalled just over £35 apiece.

The fresh vegetables were marvellous and last for several days. We ordered a huge cauliflower for £1.69, nearly twice as large as those from the leading British supermarkets. The broccoli (£1) was also huge and equally delicious. The leeks were also generous (89p for 500g). Each vegetable could easily serve a family of four or five. The Irish mushrooms (£1 for 300g) were every bit as good as an Iceland customer described them online: firm and buttery.

Iceland’s dairy products are of high quality. The double cream is comparable in price to that of leading supermarkets: £1.00 for 284ml versus £1.10 or so for 300ml. The Meadow Churn butter from Cheshire is outstanding and a bargain at 89p for 250g. It compares most favourably in taste and texture with my favourite, Président, which costs twice as much.

The cured meats are very good. The Serrano brand Tapas Mix was £1.50 for 125g. It featured 28 slices of chorizo and salami. The Dutch bacon slices (14 slices for £1.50) was also tasty, as were the British Smoked Streaky Lardons (£1.00 for 200g). The lardons lasted forever and came in handy for various dishes.

We had the Five Bird Roast for Thanksgiving and a few days afterward. It was £10 and we got the suggested eight portions from it. The roast was chicken stuffed with turkey, duck, goose and guinea fowl. It was generously wrapped in bacon and came with a good portion of port glaze. All the meat came from Hungary except for the guinea fowl which was French. The roast was produced and packed in Hungary. If Iceland have this again later in the year, we will certainly buy it.

On our second order earlier in 2015, we ordered some of the speciality meat. Iceland’s supplier Kezie do a great line in exotic offerings such as crocodile burgers (2 for £3), ostrich burgers (2 for £2.50) and kangaroo burgers (2 for £1.50).

Although we were unable to get lobster tails, we did order Arctic Royal’s line-caught Swordfish Loins Skinless and Boneless (4 huge steaks for £7). We have not yet tried them.

After having seen the documentary in 2013, we were curious about Iceland’s Posh Grub (2 chicken breasts for £2.50, origin Poland). We bought the ones stuffed with garlic and herb as well as the ones filled with cheese and ham. They were all right and a decent size but nothing special. The unctuous sauce pictured on the label is at odds with the reality of a small amount of semi-solid filling. That said, for £2.50, we couldn’t really complain.

In short, our favourites are the vegetables, butter and the Five Bird Roast. Kezie’s burgers were also fun to try and would be great for a barbecue. The chocolate covered ice cream ‘donuts’ also look good.

I wish CEO Malcolm Walker and his employees much continued success. Iceland have an excellent selection of fresh food, including meats. They are also always adding new product lines, including ostrich fillets, large scallops, Italian deli meats and gelato. May the Power of Frozen — and fresh — be with them.

11 comments for “Incredible Iceland

  1. May 28, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    The only sharp note in the whole documentary was the CEO stating that he grew all his own vegetables, and, as far as I remember, would not go near one of his own shops for any food at all.

    • May 29, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Yes, I remember that segment.

  2. May 28, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    We use our local Iceland quite a lot for frozen food, they are the best value and the best quality, no yellow peas in their own brand, unlike Tescos!
    We don’t use home delivery as it is literally a 3 minute walk.
    We purchase most of our frozen Christmas products from Iceland including our Turkey, sadly we were too late to request home delivery as they were booked solid, but that is where having a 6 foot 6 inch 21 year old son comes in handy.
    We really like Iceland and it is the only large size multi chain shop we use for any shopping.
    I agree about labeling being clear, concise an easy to follow.
    All I can say is Iceland “that’s why this mum goes there”
    *NB I also have no financial interests in Iceland, however I sort of wish I did*

    • May 29, 2015 at 10:19 am

      Thanks for the review — brilliant!

      It’s really good to read other satisfied shoppers’ opinions. (I don’t know anyone offine who goes there.)

  3. May 29, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Having had some revolting “chicken fillets” from Iceland, I’ve stopped buying meat there. Grapes are still good, the cauli was nice, cabbage rubbish. It does do some things well.

    • May 29, 2015 at 10:13 am

      You didn’t say, though, here or in your previous mention of the chicken fillets whether they were fresh or frozen or how they were prepared. Were these the ones — cooked and ready to eat?

      http://groceries.iceland.co.uk/iceland-roast-chicken-breast-fillets-380g/p/52135

      What was wrong with the cabbage? I ask out of curiosity.

      • May 29, 2015 at 12:21 pm

        Yes, the bad ones were pre-cooked, the second worst were fresh fillets. On the other hand, the topside slices are good. I went there just now for the grapes [best around] and coleslaw, plus the £2 honey. Their mince was fine. The cabbages are savoy, which are fine but I prefer tenderheart or white – that’s just preference. They do better bananas than anywhere, white onions in the three packs are excellent. I don’t buy apples there.

  4. May 29, 2015 at 9:05 am

    I can vouch for their £12 bag of giant roeless scallops! Great value and they really are huge.

    • May 29, 2015 at 10:14 am

      Thanks, Julia, we will definitely try those next time!

      • May 31, 2015 at 6:10 am

        A good marinade for the swordfish steaks:

        2 tablespoons orange juice
        2 tablespoons soy sauce
        1 tablespoon olive oil
        1 tablespoon tomato puree
        I crushed clove of garlic
        squeeze of lemon
        salt, pepper & chopped parsley to taste

        Marinate steaks for no more than an hour.

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