As grocery prices continue to rise, many shoppers are looking for ways to save money on festive favourites in the lead up to Christmas
Which? has uncovered a selection of cheaper options that scored highly in its festive taste testing – proving that shoppers can save money without compromising on taste.
1. Champagnes and sparkling wines
Shoppers can save significantly on fizz by opting for cheaper sparkling wine rather than pricey champagne. The most expensive bottle of champagne Which? tested cost £39, but in its sparkling wine test, the consumer champion found great-tasting options for as little as £8.99 – a potential saving of £30 by switching to sparkling wine over expensive champagne.
Aldi’s Specially Selected Crémant Du Jura tied in first place in the sparkling wine test, securing a Which? Best Buy endorsement. It was also one of the cheapest bottles tested costing £8.99. The panel commended it for its crisp and refreshing taste, hints of green-apple, guava and grapefruit and its smooth, creamy finish.
Another supermarket bottle that impressed the judges was the Co-op’s Irresistible Prosecco, costing just £9. The judges enjoyed its zesty aroma and notes of ripe peach, pear and jasmine. They also noted that it was fresh-tasting and decent value, branding it a ‘crowd-pleasing’ choice. However, crémant is a closer match to champagne if you want a similar-tasting drink for less.
2. Red wine
While some supermarket red wines can cost more than a bottle of fizz, our panel found that shoppers needn’t spend a lot to get a good quality red, uncovering a Best Buy bottle for just under £8. Aldi’s Chateau les Trois Manoirs Medoc 2019 was awarded a Best Buy and scored an impressive 77 per cent – costing £7.99 per bottle. The panel commended its smoky oak aromas, which contrasted well with notes of ripe redcurrants and a peppery finish.
3. Christmas pudding
In the Christmas pudding category, Asda’s ‘Extra Special’ Christmas Pudding stood out from the crowd and was awarded a Which? Best Buy and Great Value endorsement. Coming in just behind Which?’s overall winning pud, it received high scores for aroma and texture, with tasters enjoying its sweet smell, moistness, and great taste. It was the joint-cheapest pudding on test costing £8 (£1 per 100g) and was noted as a worthy pick if you’re after a brilliant budget pudding.
Which?’s expert cheese-tasting panel blind-tasted seven premium supermarket Brie de Meaux cheeses for the 2022 festive season. They tested brie from supermarkets such as Asda, Aldi, M&S, Sainsbury’s and more, and uncovered a cheaper brie that impressed the judges with its well-balanced flavour: Asda’s Extra Special Brie de Meaux, £3.20 for 180g. This near-champion cheese missed the top spot but came second overall – it was marked as a solid, cheaper pick by the panel.
5. Mince pies
Which? also put mince pies to the test. Waitrose’s Brown Butter Mince Pies with Cognac came top for taste. However, proving that paying less does not have to mean compromising on quality, Aldi’s mince pies also earned a Best Buy award as well as Which?’s Great Value endorsement. Aldi scored an impressive 73 per cent in Which?’s test, just a fraction behind the top-rated premium pies. As the cheapest tested, Aldi’s Specially Selected Mince Pies are almost 50 per cent cheaper than those sold by Waitrose, costing just £1.75 for 6, or 29p per pie.
Which? pitted supermarket versions of Irish cream liqueur against popular brand Baileys. While Baileys couldn’t be beaten on taste – coming top with 76 per cent – the panel of 72 consumers were impressed by several supermarket options and crowned a Great Value pick costing less than £8. Aldi’s Specially Selected Irish Cream Liqueur scored an impressive 74 per cent and costs just £7.99 per bottle – £8.51 cheaper than a full-price bottle of Baileys. While its smell might not be quite as enticing as Baileys, tasters thought its appearance, flavour and mouthfeel were on par with the branded version.
Which? only awards its Best Buy logo to those products that hit the gold standard for quality in its independent tests. The consumer champion recently launched a Great Value award for items which cost significantly less than the typical price in a category but still score well overall.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said:
“No one wants to overpay for festive treats, especially with so many households under huge financial strain in the run-up to this year’s Christmas.
“Our taste testers sampled festive favourites from the biggest supermarkets in the UK to find out which ones will make the holiday season extra festive this year and found some great options which won’t break the bank.”
Notes to editors
- The Which? expert judging panels for our red and sparkling wine, champagne, cheese, Christmas pudding, and mince pie tests consisted of 3-4 experts in each field, in a blind taste test run in-house at Which? HQ.
- Our Irish cream liqueur taste test was a blind taste test using a panel of 72 consumers who were fans of the drink, run at our taste testing lab.
- The Christmas pudding testing was also a blind taste test with a consumer panel of 64 tasters, run at our taste testing lab.
- Prices are correct as of November 2022.
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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