The prawns fight it out for supremacy

Prepacked supermarket prawns put to the test

€6.30 for 140g, €45 per kg
M&S is famous for its prawns; for years the retailer has produced consistently excellent products with various enhancements. On this occasion we went with the plain, unadorned prawns, and they were very good indeed. They had a lovely meaty texture and a gentle saltiness. They are responsibly sourced in Honduras under the retailer's Forever Fish umbrella, which is reassuring. At €6.30 they are expensive, but you can buy three packets for €14, which makes them much better value (the per-kilogram price falls to €33.33, making them second cheapest). And they are suitable for freezing.
Verdict: Always very good.
Star rating: ★★★★★

€4.99 for 140g, €35.64 per kg
Three words on the front of the packaging stood out: "Irish premium selection." Naturally we assumed that we were getting a premium selection of Irish prawns. On the back of the packaging we learned that the prawns actually came from Ecuador. That is not necessarily bad – the other prawns reviewed here come from Thailand, Honduras and Ecuador – but the packaging is misleading. It's a shame because the prawns are perfectly nice: big and juicy and full of flavour.
Verdict: Good, if a bit misleading.
Star rating: ★★★

€2.85 for 160g, €17.81 per kg
In pure price terms these prawns are untouchable. They are substantially cheaper than any of their rivals – less than half the price, in fact. You also get more in each packet. They come from either Vietnam or Thailand and taste fine. They are not as good as the M&S option, but they represent good value for money. They would do just fine served in a sauce.
Verdict: Good value.
Star rating: ★★★★

€4.50 for 90g, €50 per kg
The first thing that struck us about this product was the word "organic". We have a soft spot for organic food, even if the jury is out on its actual merits. The second thing that struck us was the price – at €50 per kg they are, by some margin, the dearest of the prawns. And the third thing was the size of the packet: at 90g, these prawns will not go far. There are barely enough in the pack to satisfy one moderately hunger person. The do taste great, however. They are juicy and meaty and bursting with flavour. They are almost certainly the best of the prawns we tried. And we will definitely go back for more.
Verdict: Excellent but dear.
Star rating: ★★★★