Today, Which? unveils its first-ever guide to festive sandwiches and declares Pret’s Christmas Lunch Sandwich its pick of the 2017 season.
Which? recruited 36 tasters to blind taste popular turkey Christmas lunch sandwiches, to find out which ones really delivered the festive flavours. The Consumer Champion also uncovered some surprising facts that connoisseurs should know before choosing their Christmas sandwich.
In recent years, there’s been a proliferation of festive-themed sandwich varieties, from beef wellington, to brie and cranberry. For the purposes of our tasting, the Which? panel stuck to the standard festive Christmas lunch style turkey sandwich; choosing retailers with easily accessible outlets across the country. Each sandwich has been scored with marks out of ten based on appearance, aroma and flavour.
Nikki Stopford, Which? Director of Research, said:
“Christmas sandwiches have become an important part of the build-up to the festive season for many of us, so it’s time for Which? to add them to our festive tasting calendar.
“We’re delighted to be able to announce the Pret Christmas Lunch Sandwich our pick of the 2017 selection, thanks to excellent flavours and a generous amount of filling.”
Which? Best Christmas sandwich of 2017: Pret Christmas Lunch Sandwich (£3.75) – 8.5/10
British free-range turkey breast on granary bread with port & orange cranberry sauce, crumbly pork stuffing (minced pork, streaky bacon and apricots), topped with crispy onions and fresh baby spinach.
Our tasters said: “Nicely moist.” “Great balance of flavours, well seasoned… lots of filling.” “Generous filling, the turkey tastes of turkey.’”
Nutritional information: 482 kcal, 16.2g fat, 2.3g salt
Worth knowing: 50p from the sale of each Christmas sandwich is donated to the Pret Foundation Trust to help the homeless. Not a meat eater? Pret launched its first festive vegan baguette in 2016 and has expanded into other vegan and vegetarian options for Christmas 2017.
M&S Help Shelter Turkey feast sandwich (£4.25) – 8/10
On soft malted brown bread with pork, sage and onion stuffing, cranberry chutney, smoked British bacon, mayonnaise and fried onions. M&S describes it on Twitter as ‘Our crunchy, iconic sandwich’.
Our tasters said: “It’s a good sandwich, meaty, tastes of Christmas. Perhaps a bit light on the cranberry sauce.” “Filled evenly, bread not soggy. Tasty and well balanced.” “Stuffing could have been more flavoursome.”
Nutritional Information: 502 kcal,16g fat, 2.23g salt.
Worth knowing: 5% of the cost from every pack is donated to Shelter to help people struggling with bad housing or homelessness. We paid £4.25 for this sandwich at a central London station M&S, making it by far the most expensive sandwich we tasted, but it will be cheaper in other stores.
Waitrose Turkey, stuffing and bacon sandwich (£2.40) – 8/10
Made with turkey breast, pork and chestnut stuffing, cranberry, port and orange chutney, mayonnaise, smoked bacon and spinach.
Our tasters said: “The sandwich had all the ingredients I would expect, the stuffing was tasty and had a little crunch because of the salad. The bread was soft and malty.” “Good depth, well filled, little too much mayo.”
Nutritional information: 459 kcal,12.8g fat, 2.04g salt.
Worth knowing: We paid £2.40 for this sandwich but it was on offer with 25% off the usual price of £3.25 until 21/11/2017.
Greggs Christmas Lunch Sandwich (from £3.00) – 7.5/10
The Greggs’ sandwich is turkey with pork, onion and sage stuffing, smoky sweetcure bacon and cranberry and port sauce, spinach leaves and mayonnaise on malted bread.
Our tasters said: “Very nice stuffing, good amount of cranberry.” “Bit dry, especially the crusts. Not enough cranberry and the bacon was fatty.”
Nutritional information: 495 kcal, 11.8g fat, 2.1g salt
Worth knowing: This sandwich only launched on the 8th November.
Sainsbury’s Turkey Feast Sandwich (£2.35) – 7.5/10
Butter basted British turkey breast, British pork and chestnut stuffing, maple cured smoked British bacon, cranberry and port sauce, mayonnaise with spinach on malted bread.
Our tasters said: “Decent balance of flavours, quite herby. Slightly too much spinach, good for colour but not Christmassy.” “It was tasty, just the right amount of meat.”
Nutritional information: 543 kcal, 20.9g fat, 2.44g salt
Tesco Turkey & Trimmings sandwich (£2.35) – 7.5/10
Turkey breast, chicken stock mayonnaise, pork sausage, cranberry sauce, sage and onion stuffing and beechwood smoked bacon in malted brown bread.
Our tasters said: “Bread is a little over-moist. Good portion of cranberry sauce and turkey.” “It didn’t look great but it tastes pretty darn good.”
Nutritional information: 589 kcal, 26.2g fat, 2.5g salt
Worth knowing: This sandwich had the highest calorie count out of all the sandwiches we tested, as well as the most salt and fat.
Lidl Meadow Fresh Festive Feast (£1.69) – 7/10
Billed as containing ‘British turkey with pork, sage and onion stuffing and cranberry sauce’.
Our tasters said: “It looks good, but actually lacks a bit of taste. Nothing very distinctive about it.” “Too moist.” “Good turkey, could smell more Christmassy.”
Nutritional information: 441 kcal, 11.4g fat, 1.96g salt
Worth knowing: This is the second ever Lidl Christmas sandwich and it’s the cheapest sandwich of the selection we tasted.
Co-op Turkey & Trimmings Sandwich (£2.95) – 7/10
Turkey, cranberry sauce, smoked bacon, stuffing and mayo on malted bread.
Our tasters said: “Very onion-y, too much for me, very moist.” “Despite looking a bit of a mess, it had a Christmassy aroma thanks to the stuffing. Texture was good and the turkey was moist.”
Nutritional information: 467 kcal, 15g fat, 2.01g salt
Worth knowing: For those who prefer the after-party to the main event, Co-op has also created a Boxing Day lunch sandwich.
Costa British Turkey Feast Sandwich (from £3.50) – 7/10
Costa’s Christmas sandwich combines sliced turkey breast, Cumberland sausage, British smoked streaky bacon with sage and onion stuffing, mayonnaise and cranberry sauce on malted bread.
Our tasters said: “Bread a bit dry, too much mayo. Flavour very sweet, not well balanced.” “It’s tasty and smells good but it wasn’t very attractive – I could make something similar myself!”
Nutritional information: 508 kcal, 16g fat, 2.2g salt
Worth knowing: The Costa sandwich was the only sandwich of those we tasted that’s cut into rectangles rather than triangles – if that makes a difference to you.
Notes to editors:
How we tested Christmas sandwiches
- All of the sandwiches in our tasting were pre-packed and had a similar bread outer layer, meaning no baguettes, wraps, ciabattas etc. Where possible, we opted for the premium version.
- Due to timing, several key retailers didn’t have their full festive sandwich range out in stores at the time of our tasting.
- The 32 Which? tasters blind-tasted and scored each sandwich out of ten for flavour, content and appearance. We then calculated the average score for each sandwich.
- For the full results online, please visit: which.co.uk/xmassarnies