Which? testing has found great value food and drink that could help shoppers save money on their BBQ menu this summer.
Cheaper supermarket own-branded foods have given pricier branded rivals a run for their money in a series of blind taste tests by the consumer champion, proving that shoppers needn’t spend over the odds to get a great-tasting product.
1. Shop at the cheapest supermarket
First, it often pays to look in different supermarkets for the best prices. Every month Which? analyses hundreds of groceries at the biggest supermarkets and often finds big price differences. For example, in April 2023 Which? revealed that Aldi was the cheapest supermarket, with a basket of 39 groceries costing an average of £69.99. The same or equivalent items from the priciest supermarket, Waitrose, cost £87.33 – that’s £17.34 more.
2. Get the best banger for your buck
Which? asked a panel of consumers to blind-taste and rate pork sausages from 12 different brands, including Aldi, Lidl, Sainsbury’s and other supermarket options, plus branded versions such as Heck. Tesco Finest scooped the top spot, but cheaper options from Lidl and Aldi tied for second place and received Which?’s Great Value recommendations. Both options excelled in terms of meaty flavour and moist texture. Meanwhile, pricey Heck sausages came last overall, as three-quarters of the panel felt the pork flavour was too weak, the seasoning lacklustre and the texture too coarse.
Aldi and Lidl’s offerings were the cheapest sausages tested, each costing £2.49 for 400g (62p per 100g), while the most expensive option tested from M&S cost £5 for 480g (£1.04 per 100g) and didn’t score as highly.
3. Better beef burgers
In its blind taste test for beef burgers, Which? asked a panel of 67 consumers to blind-taste 10 premium burgers from supermarkets including Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, alongside branded offerings from Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Heck.
Aldi’s option was the cheapest in the test and clinched the top spot, securing a Best Buy and Great Value recommendation, costing £2.89 for 2 burgers (£0.85 per 100g). Gourmet Burger Kitchen’s option didn’t perform as well, coming near the bottom of the table.
4. Best vegan burgers
Beyond Meat triumphed in Which?’s test of meat-free burgers, however the panel found other great-tasting options that won’t break the bank.
Meat-free burgers from Meatless Farm came in third place and were awarded a Great Value endorsement. They cost £3.50 for four burgers (88p per 100g), while Beyond Meat’s offering costs £4 for two burgers (£1.77 per 100g).
5. Thirst-quenching cola
Popular brands Pepsi and Coca-Cola couldn’t be beaten in the taste test, and Pepsi edged it to the top of the leaderboard. Most tasters thought the amount of fizziness, strength of flavour and sweetness were spot on.
Aldi’s Vive Cola, however, is a savvy pick for shoppers looking to save money and was the cheapest included in the test (49p for 2L which works out at 3p per 100ml). It was on par with the brands for flavour, mouthfeel and appearance and was awarded a Great Value recommendation. Aldi’s cola, along with other supermarket branded options, contain far less sugar than branded options.
Ele Clark, Which? Retail Editor, said:
“Many of us will be planning a barbecue now that the weather has warmed up, so shoppers will be delighted to know they don’t have to pay over the odds for great-tasting burgers, sausages, veggie burgers and drinks.
“Supermarket own-label foods will not only save you money compared with the big brands but often taste better too, meaning people can enjoy a top-notch barbecue without spending a fortune this summer.”
Notes to editors:
- Each product category was tasted and rated by a panel of 60+ consumers who regularly buy and consume that product. The make-up of the panel broadly represents the demographic profile of adults in the UK. The panellists rate each product in a fully rotated order and the taste tests are conducted blind, so they don’t know which brand they are trying. Each panellist has a private booth so they can’t discuss what they are tasting or be influenced by others.
Links to the full results for inclusion in online content:
- Best cheap supermarket food and drink
- Best beef burgers: the two supermarket offerings that came top for taste
- Best vegan burgers: the big brands that triumphed, and the best value options
- Best pork sausages: the cheap supermarket bangers that beat Heck and The Jolly Hog
- Cola vs Pepsi vs supermarket brands: which tastes best?
- Which? taste-tested a range of everyday food items between April and May 2023, pitting supermarket own-branded products against popular brands in consumer taste tests. Prices were correct at the time of testing.
Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. Our research gets to the heart of consumer issues, our advice is impartial, and our rigorous product tests lead to expert recommendations. We’re the independent consumer voice that influences politicians and lawmakers, investigates, holds businesses to account and makes change happen. As an organisation we’re not for profit and all for making consumers more powerful.
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