By Aimee Chanthadavong

Coles has received the shonkiest services award for its ‘Feed Your Family for Under $10” campaign as part of the 2010 Choice Shonky awards.

Choice said: “We decided to give the Shonky for its loaves-and-fishes $10 meals, where you can supposedly make some Curtis Stone MasterCreation to feed four people for less than $10 – provided, it turns out, if you happen to have some of the stuff in your pantry already and you manage to convince Coles to let you buy two cloves of garlic or one bay leaf.”

“We calculated Curtis’ $7.76 Coq au vin would cost $37.74 if you bought all the necessary ingredients – including the integral half-litre of vin, which somehow wasn’t included in the $7.76 (though you’d perhaps hope not for that price). And it wasn't just that recipe – the $9.99 Chicken Tikka Masala set us back $39.74,” the consumer group said.

However, Coles spokesperson Jim Cooper has told Retailbiz that the recipe campaign has in fact been a “huge success” with over nine million recipe cards having been collected by customers since the launch in April.

“We’ve been completely upfront about how we have created and costed the recipes. In terms of Choice’s claims around pantry item exclusions, we’ve clearly stated that we assume households have basic ingredients such as salt, pepper and oil already in their pantry to help create these recipes,” Cooper said.

“We believe the vast majority of our customers are comfortable with the recipe calculations, especially as we’ve had only a handful of customer queries about pantry exclusions out of the millions of Australians who have tried a recipe.”