New Which? research reveals consumers don’t have to splash out this Christmas as some of the cheapest festive foods and drink in our tests came top, and we identify the best time to buy popular Christmas favourites to save money.
Sainsbury’s came out top in both our Champagne and Christmas pudding taste tests this year, with its Blanc de Noirs champagne (£20.99) rated highest and costing a third less than the best selling Champagne brand Moët & Chandon (£31.99). Some of the best bubbles this Christmas are supermarkets’ own label champagnes and sparkling wines, with Morrisons, Tesco, Aldi and Asda champagnes all scoring well and coming in at under £20.
Which? also awarded Sainsbury’s top spot for its Taste the Difference Cognac Laced Christmas Pudding (£12). Aldi’s Luxury 12 Month Matured Specially Selected Christmas Pudding (£6.99) and Tesco’s Finest Christmas Pudding with Courvoisier VS Cognac (£7.99) came second and third and are half the price of the bottom two puddings, M&S’s Intensely Fruity Traditional Christmas Pudding (£15) and Waitrose’s Cherry and Almond topped Christmas Pudding with Edible Glitter (£14.99).
We also studied the prices of more than 100 festive favourites from last year and found that December is the best time for pudding and Christmas cake as many dropped in price, especially close to Christmas. Several packs of mince pies dropped in price one or two weeks before Christmas, and crackers were cheapest in the 10 days leading up to Christmas. The price of turkeys, however, stayed the same through November and December.
Across all Christmas food, Asda and Morrisons prices tended to stay the same more often, while Tesco and Sainsbury’s were more prone to changing prices and introducing offers during the Christmas period.
In a consumer survey we also found that only a fifth are thinking of buying a new Christmas tree this year and, on average, they will spend £33. Nearly half (49%) are planning to have a realistic artificial tree compared to just 13% having a real tree chopped at the trunk. The shape (93%), size (91%) and price (90%) of a tree are the most important factors for consumers.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd said:
“At the end of a really tough year for household finances, our research shows that people can still enjoy the best food and drink at Christmas without breaking the bank. This will be welcome news for hard pressed families and confirms that it’s always better to shop around for the best deal.”
Notes to editors:
1. To see a PDF of any of the Christmas magazine articles please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Best Christmas puddings:
We asked each of the nine biggest supermarkets to nominate a premium, own-label traditional Christmas pudding. Our experts rated each on appearance, aroma, taste and texture. Scores were weighted: 50% to taste, 20% each to aroma and texture, and 10% to appearance. The scores were averaged to give an overall percentage for each pudding.
1. Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Cognac Laced Christmas Pudding £12, 900g or £5, 450g (74%)
2. Aldi Luxury 12 Month Matured Specially Selected Christmas Pudding £6.99, 750g (72%)
3. Tesco Finest Christmas Pudding with Courvoisier VS Cognac £7.99, 907g (72%)
4. The Co-operative Truly Irresistible Christmas Pudding £10, 907g (66%)
5. Morrison M Wonderfully Fruity Brandy & Cognac 12 Month Matured Christmas Pudding £5, 454g (65%)
6. Lidl Deluxe Matured Christmas Pudding £3.69, 454g (61%)
7. Asda Extra Special 6 Month Matured Luxury Christmas Pudding £5, 907g (59%)
8. M&S Collection Intensely Fruity Traditional Christmas Pudding £15, 907g (58%)
9. Waitrose Cherry and Almond topped Christmas Pudding with Edible Glitter £14.99, 907g (51%)
3. Best champagnes:
We asked the biggest supermarkets to nominate one own-label, non-vintage Champagne costing up to £35. We also included the bestselling Champagne brand (Moet & Chandon).
1. Sainsbury’s Blanc de Noirs £20.99 (86%)
2. M&S De Saint Gall Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru £28.00 (83%)
3. Morrisons The Best Champagne Brut £19.99 (76%)
4. Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne NV £19.99 (76%)
5. Aldi Champagne Philizot et fils £12.99 (75%)
6. Asda Extra Special Louis Bernard Champagne Brut £19.97 (74%)
7. Moët & Chandon NV £31.99 (73%)
8. Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Brut NV £20.99 (70%)
9. The Co-operative Les Pionniers Champagne NV £19.99 (70%)
Lidl Comte de Brismand Champagne Brut £12.99 (66%)
4. Best sparkling wines:
We also asked the nine leading supermarkets to nominate one own label or exclusive sparkling wine costing between £5 and £15.
1. Morrisons Pongrácz Brut South Africa £13.99 (74%)
2. M&S Single Estate Chardonnay Cava 2009 £13.99 (73%)
3. Sainsbury Taste the Difference Vintage Cava Brut 2009 £10.49 (72%)
4. Asda Extra Special Prosecco £7.98 (71%)
5. Lidl Prosecco Spumante di Conegliano £6.99 (70%)
6. Tesco Finest Bisol Prosecco de Valdobbiadene £9.99 (69%)
7. The Co-operative Prosecco NV £8.99 (69%)
8. Aldi Philippe Michel Crémant du Jura £6.99 (68%)
9. Waitrose San Leo Prosecco Brut £9.99 (58%)
5. We studied the price of more than one hundred items from the same time last year using 2011 prices from independent shopping website mysupermarket.co.uk.
6. We surveyed 1,126 members of the general public on Christmas trees
7. Consumers can get more advice, as well as gift ideas for the perfect festive season by visiting our Christmas hub: http://www.which.co.uk/christmas/