Sainsbury’s has infuriated shoppers by quietly removing a number of items from its £3 meal deal, highlighting how the simple offering helped build a legion of loyal shoppers.

The supermarket has rebranded the three-item deal as ‘On the Go’, removing its premium sandwiches, pasta pots, cakes and other products from the offering.

Customers took to social media to let Sainsbury’s know that the changes had not gone unnoticed.

Some shoppers were outraged:

While some tweeted to express a sense of loss:

Others declared that the supermarket had lost their loyalty:

Convenience retailers around the country are increasingly seeing the benefits of meal deal promotions. Marc and Wanda Winchester, owners of a Bmorelocal store in Swansea, South Wales, have offered a meal deal since they opened their store in June this year.

“A lot of local businesses – such as the bank opposite – come to us for their lunch and pick up coffees and snacks for the office,” Wanda said.

In their store, shoppers can buy any sandwich or hot food-to-go item with crisps or a piece of fruit for £3.25.

The deal has helped to drive footfall in the store, attracting residents from the surrounding university apartments. The couple are also hoping it will appeal to the 2,000 government employees who are about to be relocated to a building five minutes away.

Kully Sandhu, who owns a Nisa Local in Heathfield, East Sussex, told Retail Express that getting behind Nisa’s evening meal deal promotion helped her to shift slow sellers and improve frozen sales by £300 a week.

“We’ve put pasta and sauces in front of the chillers,” she said. “We’ve done some Indian deals and I’ve never sold so many poppadoms. They used to always go out of date but we got behind the promotion, put them next to the chillers and everything sold quickly.”

To find out how you can improve your meal offering, see our Fit For The Future series here.