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Tastes better than it looks?

A look at some unappetising finds

One of the main occupational hazards at Sainsbury Archive HQ when working on food packaging is pre-lunch hunger pangs. Food packaging, photographs of food packaging and packaging design constitutes a large percentage of the Sainsbury Archive collection. Seeing food at regular intervals throughout the day is unavoidable. You might find us hungrily staring at cake boxes or longingly looking at casserole recipes. That said, now and again a piece of packaging or a recipe will come our way that looks so unappetising it might put us off lunch altogether. Here is a selection of some of the items in the collection that caught our eye and turned our stomachs.


This is the label that inspired the theme of this article

Sainsbury's Meatballs in Brown Sauce label, 1976


I like to think this started off as a fruit salad but just got out of hand

Chicken with Lemon and Grapes recipe card, [c. 1975-1985]


This reminds me us of an emoji but we can’t quite put our finger on which one

Sainsbury's Supreme Dessert Whip, 1973


I’d go straight to the main course if I was served this as a starter

Sainsbury's Vegetable Soup, 1969


If you've forgotten to buy wine just throw some grapes directly into the meal as this recipe suggests

Plaice with Grapes recipe card, [c. 1975-1985]


Tomato and Kiwifruit Layer Cheesecake recipe, also known as how to ruin a cheesecake

Image for Tomato and Kiwifruit Cheesecake recipe, 1984


If you are trying to impress someone why not serve them unidentifiable brown substance on a bed of frozen mixed vegetables?

Sainsbury's Stewed Steak with Gravy label, 1976


I thought pineapple was how to ruin a pizza, until now

Bramley and Three Cheese Pizza recipe leaflet, 1990s