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

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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?

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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