'Tastiest' tomato soup - and it isn't from Heinz!

Heinz soup

Fresh from their humiliating defeat in the Which? ketchup taste test, Heinz has been put through the mill again in the consumer group's cream of tomato soup test. Shockingly, it fell short again, taking joint-fourth place.

So which was voted the tastiest soup, and what should we take from this test?
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Winners

Which? tested 11 cans of cream of tomato soup. They asked 100 members of the public to rate the soups for taste, texture, appearance and smell.

The winner was Sainsbury's Cream of Tomato, which scored 76%, followed by Tesco Cream of Tomato which scored 74% and Aldi Soupreme Cream of Tomato, which was given 72%.

Heinz Classic was joint fourth with Waitrose Cream of Tomato, with 67%. Baxters also disappointed with 61%. And Campbell's Condensed and M&S came joint last at 55%

Which? named the top three as its best buys. It noted that the Sainsbury's and Tesco soups both cost 65p - much less than the 89p Heinz soup, or the 95p Baxters and Campbell's soups. However, they highlighted that Aldi's cost just 42p.

Own brand winners

This is far from the first time that Aldi has scored highly in the Which? tests. In August we reported that a 59p Aldi washing up liquid had won its test (although it should be noted that Fairy wasn't tested as the new formula wasn't available). Its dishwasher tabs were also named a best buy, as was its Bio washing powder. Recently, Aldi has also taken the title for best orange juice and best mayonnaise.

Other own brands have fared well too. Sainsbury's beat Heinz in the ketchup test - taking the top spot. It also won the category for premium steak - with its Taste The Difference sirloin, best champagne with is Blanc de Noirs, and was joint winner of the balsamic vinegar test.

So what do we learn about the brands?

What's clear from all these tests is that sometimes the own label foods - which don't have a marketing budget adding to their costs - can be both cheaper and tastier than their branded alternatives.

However, it's not as clear cut as making the switch across the board and getting better, cheaper food. Sometimes the brands prove to be the best products. Which? tested milk chocolate digestives and McVities took the top spot- ahead of Lidl, Waitrose and Sainsbury's. When it tested ground coffee Taylors of Harrogate took the title, and for olive oil Napolina was voted best.

And no supermarket own brand comes top of the list or bottom of it in every category. While M&S Soup performed poorly, its tomato ketchup was in the top three, and it took the title for best boxed chocolates.

It means that we all ought to at least try the own-brand versions of products and see if we can taste the difference. There will be some disasters along the way, but with some perseverance and some research, you could make the switch on at least ten of the things you regularly put in your trolley and save hundreds of pounds a year on your shopping.

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Supermarket champagne taste test
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'Tastiest' tomato soup - and it isn't from Heinz!

Score: 2/5

"Nice taste but not enough fizz."
"It's harsh at the back of the throat."
"This one's rather flat for me."

The Sainsbury's Taste the Difference might have been one of the priciest bottles of supermarket champagne but the tasters picked up on how quickly it went flat and scored it the same as the other bottle from Sainsbury's at 2/5.

Score: 4.5/5

"Oohh it's like drinking the stars."
"It has a lovely crisp, dryness."
"Well balanced, I could drink more of this."

This champagne had the tasters waxing lyrical and even going on to jokingly quote the forefather of chamagne, Dom Pérignon - "Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!" was falsely attributed to the monk in the late 19th century. They even tried to come back for more after scoring it a near-perfect 4.5/5.

Score: 4/5

"This is tart without being harsh."
"What a deicate flavour."
"This is the most distinctive and bold."

The Asda extra special might have been the cheapest bottle on trial but it packed the biggest flavour punch, scoring highly with the testers on aroma and depth putting it in second place with an average mark of 4/5.

Score: 3.5/5

"This tastes of luxury."
"It's very rich."
"Very smooth and slightly creamy."

Co-op's second offering was well received with all of the tasters praising its rich flavour notes and texture. Co-op's cheaper bottle scored highly enough to secure third place with an average mark of 3.5/5.

Score: 3/5

"Easy to drink and the most citrusy of the bunch."
"It's the most acidic."

"A bit too gassy - burping isn't great for a dinner party!"

The Waitrose champagne might have been one of the cheapest in the trial but it wasn't a favourite with the tasters who consistenly commented on its acidic aftertaste and scored it a mediocre 3/5

Score: 2.5/5

"Pungent smelling and a bit harsh."
"Fruity with very little acidity and quite well balanced."
"It's overpowering, I couldn't drink a lot of it."

Before the labels were hidden the tasters were the most excited to get stuck into this bottle from Marks and Spencer. Despite being the most expensive bottle in the trial, it only scored an average of 2.5/5 putting it in third place.

Score: 2/5

"It's not crisp at all, or fizzy enough."
"It's light, almost too light in fact."
"It tastes like cava to me."

This offering from Sainsbury's fell flat with our tasters, literally. All the testers commented on the lack of fizz and depth leaving the Blanc de Noirs with an average score of 2/5 and in jint bottom place.

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