Waitrose Comes Under Fire for Bougie ‘Student Essentials’ List

“Mama, to the condiments aisle!”
Photo via Flickr user Harry Lawford / Waitrose.

Did you ever have one of those debates at uni, where everyone gets super-emotionally involved over which supermarket is the best because everything is boring and there’s nothing better to talk about? You know—someone doesn’t know the difference between Lidl and Aldi, you suddenly find yourself vehemently defending Tesco’s fresh pasta range, and there’s one fool who argues that Waitrose is “actually cheaper than other supermarkets if you buy their essential range.”


Which is clearly not true, especially when you consider what, exactly, Waitrose deems as “essential.”

The high-end supermarket came under fire this week after including ingredients such as harissa, bouillon, and organic cider vinegar in a list of kitchen staples for students heading off to university for the first time.

According to The Telegraph, the supermarket recommended the five key kitchen items for students in its in-house magazine this month. The publication lists a rose harissa, costing £4.25, organic cider vinegar for £1.70, Waitrose Italian seasoning for £1.89, Clearspring organic tamari soya sauce for £3.15, and of course, something called “Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder” for £2 (£2!! For vegetable stock!!). Waitrose explains that this is the perfect “starting kit for the fledgeling cook” because hey, what says “fledgeling” like rose harissa and tamari soya sauce?

Given that most students are happy tolerating dinners of pasta, hot sauce, and a single fish finger, many on social media were quick to criticise Waitrose’s idea of what makes an essential kitchen item for those starting uni. “Uh oh…my son has just gone off with 3 jars of coffee, 4 packs of Super Noodles, 2 Pot Noodles and a bottle of Nandos peri peri sauce…” wrote one Twitter user, while another tweeted, “yeah, my housemates and I couldn’t get enough of Bouillon power and Belazu rose harissa after a night out.”

Don’t forget the truffle oil lads!!