Marks & Spencer tops independent Christmas food taste test

Marks & Spencer has come out top in an independent taste test of the main British supermarkets’ Christmas foods for 2017.

Good Housekeeping has revealed the results of its annual Christmas taste test, awarding M&S top marks for its turkey, cranberry sauce and sparkling wine, and taking more high ratings than any other supermarket.

However, budget retailer Aldi also scored highly, with nine of its products either winning a category (Christmas Pudding, meat stuffing, vegetarian alternative and port) or being shortlisted. 

Tesco won the battle for best mince pies and Iceland came out top for its pigs in blankets. 

The taste test assessed 16 Christmas staples: Christmas pudding, pigs in blankets, prosecco, champagne, smoked salmon, Christmas cake, mince pies, stilton, turkey, mulled wine, Christmas stuffing, cranberry sauce, brandy butter, sparkling wine, LBV port, vegetarian Christmas stuffing, vegetarian Christmas dinner and gluten-free mince pies.

It’s a list that is bound to have everyone wishing it could be Christmas every day. And envy the testers.

The rankings were decided by a panel of experts who blind-tasted 316 products with the packaging removed – it was a 50 per cent increase in the volume of food and drink tested compared to 2016. 

This year also included vegetarian alternatives, pigs in blankets and port for the first time. 

Christmas Fast Food Crawl: Rachel rates festive food of the High Street

Angela Trofymova, Food Testing Manager, Good Housekeeping says: “Supermarkets understand that consumers tend to trade up over Christmas and many have focused on their premium ranges. 

“Luxury supermarket Marks & Spencer has proved that shelling out a little more where possible can take your festive dining experience to the next level, while budget supermarket Aldi shows you can get cost-effective quality without breaking the bank.”

The full results of Christmas Tried & Tested are:

NV Brut Champagne under £40 (26 tested)

Winner: Taste the Difference NV Champagne Brut (79/100), £18, Sainsbury’s (available 11th November)

Runners up: by Sainsbury’s Winemaker’s Selection Blanc de Noirs Champagne Brut NV (78/100), £20, Sainsbury’s

Oudinot Brut Champagne NV (78/100), £27, Marks & Spencer

Nicolas Courtin Brut NV Champagne (78/100), £20.99, Majestic.co.uk

Champagne Gremillet Brut Selection NV (78/100), £23.99, Virginwines.co.uk

Budget buy: Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut NV (77/100), £10.99, Aldi

Prosecco under £15 (24 tested)

Winner: Marks & Spencer Prosecco (82/100), £10

Runners up: Tesco Finest* Valdobbiadene DOCG Prosecco NV (78/100), £10

Allini Prosecco Spumante Conegliano (78/100), £7.99, Lidl

Fillipo Sansovino Prosecco (77/100), £7.98, Asda

Co-op Irresistible Prosecco (77/100), £7.99

Freixenet Prosecco (77/100), £12, Ocado.com

Smoked salmon (23 tested)

Winner: Waitrose 1 Chestnut Smoke Salmon (86/100), £5.99

Runners up: Lidl Deluxe Scottish Smoked Salmon with Ben Bracken Whisky & Honey, Beetroot and Orange & Champagne (83/100), £5.99

Morrisons The Best Whisky Bronze Smoked Salmon (84/100), £4.50

Marks & Spencer Scottish Lochmuir Oak & Applewood Smoked Salmon (79/100), £4.50

Inverawe Organic Scottish Smoked Salmon (79/100), £7.99, Whole Foods Market

Frozen turkeys and crowns (16 tested)

Winner: Marks & Spencer British Oakham Turkey Crown with Pork, Sage & Onion Stuffing with Bacon Lattice (88/100), £27 (serve 4-5)

Runners up: Marks & Spencer British Whole Turkey (87/100), £11.25/kg (serves 4-5)

COOK Stuffed Crown of Turkey (83/100), £45, Cookfood.net

Tesco’s British Frozen Medium Turkey Breast Crown (80/100), £13

Sainsbury’s Large Whole British Turkey (77/100), around £19.50

Meat stuffing (16 tested)

Winner: Aldi Specially Selected 6 Pork & Carmelised Red Onion Baubles Wrapped in Bacon (90/100), £2.29

Runners up: Tesco Family Festive Christmas Tree Stuffing (85/100), £4.50

Aldi Specially Selected Outdoor Bred Gingerbread and Apricot Stuffing Portions (80/100), £2.29

Waitrose Cranberry Burst Christmas Pudding Stuffing (78/100), £5.99

Morrisons The Best Apple & Cranberry Pork Stuffing Bacon Wrap (75/100), £3

Vegetarian alternatives (23 tested)

Winner: Aldi Specially Selected Vegetable Parcels – Spinach, Leek & West Country Cheddar (81/100), £1.99

Runners up: Aldi Specially Selected Vegetable Parcels – Mushroom Trio (80/100), £1.99

Marks & Spencer Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Rosti (79/100), £6

Lidl Deluxe Luxury Nut Roast (78/100), £3.99

Vegetarian stuffing (5 tested)

Winner: ​Tesco Cranberry, Apricot and Clementine Stuffing (69/100), £3.00

Cranberry sauce (24 tested)

Winner: Marks & Spencer Cranberry & Port Sauce (80/100), £3

Runner up: Stokes Cranberry & Orange Sauce (78/100), £3.50

Pigs in blankets (14 tested)

Winner: Iceland Luxury 10 Pigs In Blankets (82/100), £3

Runners up: Aldi’s Butcher’s Select 12 Bacon Wrapped Sausages (81/100), £1.99

Marks & Spencer 16 British Outdoor Bred Pigs In Blankets (79/100), £5

Aldi Specially Selected 10 Sausages Wrapped in Bacon (76/100), £2.19

Co-op Irresistible Cocktail Sausages Wrapped in Bacon (73/100), £3

Christmas Pudding (33 tested)

Winner: Aldi Specially Selected Golden Topped Christmas Pudding (80/100), £7.99

Runners up: Aldi Specially Selected Exquisite Vintage Christmas Pudding (78/100), £9.99

Marks & Spencer Collection 12 Month Matured Vintage Christmas Pudding (78/100), £14

Morrisons The Best Pedro Ximénez Sherry and Pear Christmas Pudding (78/100), £8

Selfridges Selection Traditional Christmas Pudding (77/100), £11.99

Brandy butter (13 tested)

Winner: Marks & Spencer Christmas Brandy Butter (78/100), £3

Runner up: Marks & Spencer The Collection Brandy Butter (76/100), £2.50

Stilton cheese (19 tested)

Winner: Sainsbury’s TTD Tuxford and Tebbutt Blue Stilton (83/100), £2.50

Runners up: Co-op Long Clawson Dairy Potted Blue Stilton (81/100), £4

Tesco Finest* Mature Blue Stilton (78/100), £4

Morrisons The Best Blue Stilton (77/100), £3.72

Booths Potted Blue Stilton (77/100), £13

Late bottle vintage port (13 tested)

Winner: Maynard’s LBV Port 1992 (82/100), £9.99, Aldi

Runner up: Taylor’s LBV 2011, (80/100), £14, Amazon.co.uk

Mince pies (26 tested)

Winner: Tesco Finest* 6 Mince Pies (82/100), £2

Runners up: Iceland 6 Luxury Mince Pies (81/100), £1.50

Gail’s Mince Pies (76/100), £1.50 each, £8 for 6 pack

Lidl Deluxe 6 Luxury Mince Pies (74/100), £1.49

Marks & Spencer Collection 6 Mince Pies (73/100), £2.50

Mulled wine (11 tested)

Winner: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Mulled Wine (78/100), £5.50

Runner up: Ocado Mulled Wine (74/100), £4.99

Christmas cake (23 tested)

Winner: Betty’s Soft Iced Star Christmas Cake (84/100), £30 (or £40 with a tin)

Runners up: Marks & Spencer Collection 6 Month Matured Snowflake Bauble Cake (78/100), £20

Morrisons The Best Poinsettia Cake (73/100), £12

Iceland Luxury Christmas Cake All Over Iced (72/100), £7.50

Meg Rivers Large Fully Iced Classic Christmas Cake (72/100), £40

Read the full Good Housekeeping Christmas Tried & Tested results in the December issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale 25th October.

Click here to Read from the source