Flavoured, plain, full-fat or light? How do you like your mayo?

by , Senior Home Researcher Consumer Rights 19 April 2012
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Do flavoured mayonnaises appeal to you? When the waiter delivers my pub lunch and asks if I’d like any sauces, I know I’d be sending the mayonnaise back if it tasted of bacon, mustard or pesto.

mayo and chips zoom

And if you’re anything like Which? Convo editor Patrick Steen, you might even hate mayo whatever the flavour.

Yet, despite my not liking it, flavoured mayos are on the rise; Hellmann’s sells four flavoured varieties and Branston sells five. And there are plenty more to choose from if you like your mayo a little out of the ordinary.

A quick look at Tesco’s site shows that you can buy mayo flavoured with aioli, chilli, dijon mustard, garlic, lemon and garlic, mustard and onion, pesto, piri piri, roast garlic and black pepper and sweet chilli.

Hellmann’s is mayo-market leader

Despite the emergence of exotically flavoured mayos, traditional full-fat and light varieties still dominate the market with Hellmann’s real and light varieties accounting for more than 60% of all mayo sold in the UK.

There’s a big difference in fat content between the two types, but is there a difference in taste between the two?

To find out, we asked 36 staff from our Customer Service Centre to taste Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise and Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise to tell us which one they liked the taste of best.

Full-fat mayo versus light

Each mayo was tested blind and 26 of our tasters told us that they preferred Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise’s ‘richer taste and thicker consistency’ to Hellmann’s Light, which one tester told us was ‘nice but a bit bland’.

So despite the popularity of light mayo (more than a third of Hellmann’s sales are Hellmann’s Light), it seems that real, full-fat mayo is still the people’s favourite.

But where do your preferences lie? Are you a full-fat fan or a lover of light? Have you been adventurous enough to dip into any flavoured mayo varieties?

65 comments

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ArgonautoftheSeas

Hellmann’s brought out a (mildly) garlic-flavoured version some years ago as it did
a more expensive version with premium olive oil much further back, both
got withdrawn, guess they didn’t sell well. So-called Mediterranean version I cd
live with, better than ‘Light’ to me.

Someone once said Waitrose’ organic is a close second to
Hellmann’s Real…. anyone tried it?

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ArgonautoftheSeas

You shd never have to pay the full price as all of
the supermarkets stock Hellmann’s Real that if you time yr
purchases carefully between various outlets, shd pay no more than
50-66.66% of full price or RRP.

Better still, make it yourself as Delia and Keith Floyd have
shown how in cookery books of theirs, no doubt instructions
on the web and/or YT too.

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wavechange

Mayonnaise. Processed ‘food’ at its worst. Ghastly grease that should not be fed to dogs.

NO MAYO the first thing I look for when buying a sandwich.

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richard

We agree again – Can’t stand the stuff – Interesting mayo is the only thing my dogs won’t eat – and they’ll eat meat buried for months!

Me three! I like my mayo in the bin. Mayo should taste like egg, oil and seasoning. Make fresh? Yum! Get it in a jar, yuk!

Still, the results of our full taste test into mayos are interesting – Aldi and Lidl come out on top: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2012/04/aldi-and-lidl-bag-best-buys-in-which-mayo-test-283062/

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Dean

me 4!

I’ll weigh in with a lengthy quote from the author Tom Robbins, who’d disagree with you all :)

“The mystery of mayonnaise is how egg yolks, vegetable oil, vinegar (wine’s angry brother), salt, sugar (earth’s primal grin-energy), lemon juice, water, and, naturally, a pinch of the ol’ calcium disodium EDTA could be combined in such a way as to produce a condiment so versatile, satisfying, and outright majestic that mustard, ketchup and their ilk must bow down before it (though at two bucks a jar, mayonnaise certainly doesn’t put on airs) or else slink away in disgrace.

Who but the French could have wrought this gastronomic miracle? Mayonnaise is France’s gift to the New World’s muddled palate, a boon that combines humanity’s ancient instinctive craving for the cellular warmth of pure fat with the modern, romantic fondness for complex flavors: mayo (as the lazy call it) may appear mild and prosaic, but behind it’s creamy veil it fairly seethes with tangy disposition. Cholesterol aside, it projects the luster that we astro-orphans have identified with well-being ever since we fell from the stars.

All Carolina folk are crazy for mayonnaise, mayonnaise is as ambrosia to them, the food of their tarheeled gods. Mayonnaise comforts them, causes the vowels to slide more musically along their slow tongues, appeasing their grease-conditioned taste buds while transporting those buds to a plane higher than lard could ever hope to fly.

Yellow as summer sunlight, soft as young thighs, smooth as a Baptist preacher’s rant, falsely innocent as a magicians handkerchief, mayonnaise will cloak a lettuce leaf, some shreds of cabbage, a few hunks of cold potato in the simplest splendor, recycling their dull character, making them lively and attractive again, granting them the capacity to delight the gullet if not the heart…”

Home-made mayo is what he’s talking about. Not the gloop you get in a jar…

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Nikki Whiteman

No, Patrick! He says “at two bucks a jar, mayonnaise certainly doesn’t put on airs) or else slink away in disgrace.”

I think this is conclusive proof that mayonnaise is objectively delicious =)

Rich – that is, without a doubt, the most beautiful mayo-prose I’ve ever read. If I’d had any doubts before, I certainly wouldn’t now.

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M.

An Ode to flavoured lard, if I didn’t already detest the stuff, this would put me off for life!

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wavechange

Rich is definitely referring to the commercial processed rubbish, since it includes calcium disodium EDTA. That’s ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, a chelating agent used to help stabilise the emulsion of grease and water. It’s classified as a persistent organic pollutant. Yummy!

I can’t believe there are so many Mayo-haters out there – I can’t live without it!!!! Sarnies just don’t taste the same to me without a good dollop of the stuff. And my other half is also a firm fan of the flavoured varieties too. Resident in our fridge at the moment is garlic mayo and mustard and onion mayo.

And despite popular belief, Hellmann’s mayonnaise didn’t come top of the Which? taste test – Aldi and Lidl scored higher. So, I know where I’ll be going for my next pot of mayo…

I have to weigh-in too – I love mayonnaise! But Patrick has inspired me to try making my own at home.

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ArgonautoftheSeas

Also use it in place of evaporated milk/cream in desserts and
on salads to accompany curried dishes re my Hellmann’s Real
… their flavour complements rather than conflicts…. also as
ingredient in dressings for both (roast) meats and salads, all yum!

Can’t think of eating meat/tuna/egg etc sandwich w/out some
mayo!

I like mine with bacon in – baconnaise :-)

It is possible to make mayonnaise at home, but it’s a bit tricky because you have to carefully add the ingredients together so they emulsify properly, and if the mixture gets too warm it will ruin. But if you’re into baking and cooking, and like making your own stuff, it is very possible to do – and it’s nothing like the stuff you get in a jar.

During our food preparation tests (food processors, jug blenders, hand blenders etc…) we have our lab experts make mayonnaise with the products, to see how well the products cope – and we do see quite different results.

Using the knife blade of a food processor, for example, to make mayo will give a more liquid consistency whereas making mayonnaise in a kitchen machine gives it a more yellow appearance.

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M.

Hate Mayo…Love salad cream [especially in a fish finger sandwich].
The other half swears by something called Hellmans classic light [I Think].
Mayo has always seemed like putting axle grease into a meal, I just cannot stand it; it makes coleslaw taste insipid, and taints any sandwich making it soggy and greasy…I just cannot understand why people use it, the flavour is so light it doesn’t add to the taste of anything, unlike salad cream with it’s distinctive creamy tang.
The only way I can ever use Mayo is to mix it with mustard, which reduces the fierceness of it for certain salads, this works better than French mustard which is too bland.

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rich835

I like mayo on some things, but I limit myself to only a very small amount and always go light, cos it’s clearly not the healthiest thing to eat. It serves a purpose when you don’t like things too dry. Everything in moderation, as they say :)

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wavechange

Has the processed food industry created anything more evil than mayonnaise? Maybe, but I cannot think of example that is harder to avoid if we think of coleslaw as simply mayo with bits.

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M.

Mayonnaise made with hydrogenated fat!

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par ailleurs

Shop bought mayo is nothing like the real thing but rather tasty anyway. I had no idea it aroused such Marmite type passions. One thing of course-only full fat please. ‘Lite’, ‘low’ or similar is daft. It’s still oily, just a bit less so.
The only thing to replace mayo is…sandwich spread and then only in a fish finger sandwich made with sliced white. Loverly!

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Nikki Whiteman

My thoughts exactly – I assumed most people could take it or leave it! I’m a fan in certain sandwiches (am very upset that Tesco has stopped putting it in their ham, cheese and pickle sarnies) but I don’t tend to buy it at home as I don’t think I’d use the whole jar before it went off.

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ArgonautoftheSeas

When I feel too mean or miserly to buy even a sandwich when in town
or for that matter, anywhere else for any length of time, wd bring a 900ml
tub (ex Carte D’Or) of steamed baby potatoes bathed in Hellmann’s Real
(what else better?).

How’s that for thrift and frugality? And of course my own thermos
of hot coffee or (freshly squeezed) chilled orange or pink grapefruit
juice as occasion warrants.

Come to think of it, only thing I don’t use mayo for is in oriental/Thai
stir-fries. Oh so very versatile the mayo!

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ArgonautoftheSeas

Mayonnaise made with hydrogenated fat! [M]

Good heavens, NO….. Hellmann’s Real is made from only:

1. Vegetable oil
2. Water
3. Pasteurised free range egg and egg yolk
4. Spirit vinegar
5. Salt
6. Sugar
7. Spirit vinegar
8. Lemon juice
9. Flavouring
10. Antioxidant (Calcium, Disodium EDTA)
11. Paprika extract

[Luxuriously rich chocolate brownies made with
Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise]

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ArgonautoftheSeas

An Ode to Joy! (sorry, Beethoven)

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ArgonautoftheSeas

Correction: 10 ingredients as spirit vinegar got mentioned twice.

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ArgonautoftheSeas

If calcium disodium EDTA as oxidant, then Hellmann’s got it wrong by
putting a comma after ‘calcium’, have to google to find out more, probably
harmless.

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ArgonautoftheSeas

Correction: shd be ‘antioxidant’ re above.

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wavechange

I have been looking up the ingredients and nutritional information for Hellmann’s mayonnaise. On one of their websites it mentions rapeseed oil and another refers to soybean oil. Maybe the formulation depends on country.

It’s the first time I have seen nutritional information for a serving without specifying the portion size. Perhaps Unilever, the manufacturer, should stick to making cleaning products.

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ArgonautoftheSeas

Hellmann’s Real mayo:

Vegetable oil 77%, the egg stuff mentioned on label 8% out
of the ten ingredients listed in total…. other nutritional info too
per 100 g…contains both good Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.

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Laz

I prefer mine homemade with my bamix.
Just a few seconds and a third of the price.
Most have too much vinegar for me anyway.
My fav is with garlic and basil…Yummy.

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ArgonautoftheSeas

At least no MSG or E-numbered stuff, that wd have
me worried a bit.

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wavechange

Calcium disodium EDTA is E385.

It’s not needed for homemade mayo.

I think Sainsbury’s French style mayo is pretty close to the homemade stuff, and has a better texture than Hellmann’s.

Tesco’s came joint third in the Which? blind taste test – it was Aldi’s and Lidl’s mayos that come out on top: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2012/04/aldi-and-lidl-bag-best-buys-in-which-mayo-test-283062/

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Tim

All commercially available sunflower oil, canola oil etc (except olive) has anti-oxidants already added, including alpha tocopherol (vitamin E) or TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone),anti oxidants have to be added otherwise the shelf life of the oil is only a few months… so all home made mayonnaise is contaminated. Hellmans et al also add ‘natural flavourings’ or ‘flavourant’ which is foodspeak for hydrolysed yeast extract which conatins a large quantity of glutamic acid, which is really just another name for MSG.

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Sean

I quite agree that Sainsbury’s French style mayonnaise tastes something like the real thing (unless homemade using olive oil), at least its taste is similar to French mayo brands such as Amora or Benedicta which of course use Dijon mustard rather than mustard powder/seeds.
As a rule of thumb I try and avoid mayonnaise made in Belgium because it is too bland and oily for my palate. Supermarkets constantly change their sourcing, so read the label and look for the words ‘Dijon’ and ‘France’ to avoid disappointment. I have recently found them on a jar of ASDA’s own label mayonnaise which, perhaps unsurprisingly, now tastes much better than the old recipe.

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ArgonautoftheSeas

On food flavourings and If not too off-topic, can anyone enlighten on MSG that I
have a 500g bag of still unopened and unused. (premium so-called aji-no-moto
from Japan).

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M.

Just mix it with some Mayo, I am sure it will make that vile goo taste better :-)

Company website here http://www.ajinomoto.com/
Wickapedia article on MSG here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosodium_glutamate

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Geo

Having had heart problems and a consequent need to watch fat intake, I use Light or Extra light mayo in relatively small portions and both Aldi’s and Lidl’s seem excellent value for money.
To answer Wavechange’s question on whether the processed food industry has made anything more evil than mayo. Yes – hydrogenated vegetable oil must be a chart topper! Banned in Denmark as a “metabolic poison” and some states in USA, our FSA has allowed the food industry to phase it out over a number of years. Not sure when the end date is but think it is relatively close.

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wavechange

Agreed, Geo. Fortunately, hydrogenated vegetable oil (which contains trans fats) is now declared on product labels and the large manufacturers have done pretty well in removing it from their products. I’ve long since stopped spreading grease on my bread. I buy bread that has plenty of taste and texture, and enjoy it as it is.

When margarine was introduced because of butter shortage, the problem with trans fats was not appreciated.

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Sue

A pity you didn’t test Morrisons own brand. It’s good, cheap and made with free range eggs.

Thanks for this Sue. We wanted to test Morrisons own brand mayo but they were re-formulating it when we were buying and testing. If we’d tested the old stuff, it wouldn’t have been available to buy by the time we published the magazine. This was the only reason for Morrisons mayo not making the final cut.

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H003521211

Unless these types of mayonnaise (not mayo please!) were tested against a real version of mayonnaise made in France by a French housewife you have no idea what it should taste like. For a start there should be no sugar whatsoever (ugh!) in a real mayonnaise which should be made with olive oil, eggs, touch of vinegar, salt and pepper and nothing else.

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ArgonautoftheSeas

Keith Floyd’s recipe seems fine by me. Use BEST olive oil you can afford,
he advocates, and all done in a food processor. Use:

* 6 free-range eggs, at room temperature
* Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
* One tbsp wine vinegar
* Salt and pepper
* 1.75 pints or 900 ml olive oil (or corn or nut oil), at room temperature

He knew a thing or two abt French culinary arts, hence absence of sugar
presumably following the French way.

Let me know if anyone shd want to know the detailed steps taken which
is simplicity itself.

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Sandy

Why would you put sugar/sweetener in mayonnaise, which the Aldi tester seemed to like? Why is mayo in a jar so white, when egg yolks and oil are generally golden? Why would you think mayo is French? I was under the impression it was named after Mahon. Aioli is a sauce in its own right, not a flavour. Delouis make a garlic one in a jar which is not bad, but nowhere near as good as home-made.

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Jim

Buy mayonnaise made from cold-pressed rapeseed oil. It is delicious, flavoursome, and absolutely trumps all others. In Waitrose and, I expect, elsewhere. Standard mayo tastes bland bland bland after this. Expect to pay about £3.50 for a 350g jar but it is worth every penny.

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M.

I cannot believe that you are describing an insipid egg / oil emulsion, what’s next:
Mayonnaise clubs
Mayo’ tasting evenings
Mayo’ cook off’s
Masterchef the Mayonnaise edition.
I am just waiting for one of you to tell us how a to make marvellous Mayonnaise ice cream…….

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ArgonautoftheSeas

This is a recipe from Floyd’s book word for word, believe Delia’s
is along similar lines.

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Robertino

Break two eggs, put yolks into a mixing bowl carefully removing the albumen; add a little extra vergin olive oil to start and whip by hand adding more oil as you go. When the emulsion is stiff, add the juice of a real untreated half lemon and a pinch of salt, while still whipping. It’s ready. Total time 4minutes. The result is outstanding and no commercial product can match it for flavour and quality.

Why, oh why, are commercial mayonnaise ersats copies so pupular? Are English palates really so poor and cooks so lazy?

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Robertino

“I like salad cream” is a comment that befits commercial Mayo so well. When I came to the UK you could only get olive oil from a pharmacy (then called Chemists) to clean your ears out…so I understand the yearning to use heavily promoted oils in such banal products that harp back to “them days”. A poor show that still plays to enthusiastic imperial self sufficiency in our kitchens?

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H Randall

Love mayonnaise. But are the Aldi and Lidl brands made with free range eggs? I do have a conscience, especially wrt animal welfare and health. Intensive farming is not healthy for anyone in the food chain….

The Aldi mayonnaise is made with free-range eggs but the Lidl mayonnaise isn’t. All of the other mayonnaises tested from Asda, Co-op, Heinz, Hellmann’s, M&S, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose were also made with free range-eggs.

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ArgonautoftheSeas

The possibilities are endless, desserts et al too with recipes galore
free from Hellmann’s, if ever my local Waitrose holds a mayo
tasting session much as they had as to wine, shall probably turn
up.

Waitrose’ Organic is very good indeed.

No conflict of taste in case of good/quality mayo used as I’d said, flavour
complements whatever you eat as to most savoury dishes. As ubiquitous as
the coconut in South/East Asian cooking/dishes/desserts.

Am sure (vanilla) mayo ice cream tastes very nice minus the salty bit.

Shall ask a certain ‘queen of cook’ if she wd demonstrate that
on YT or maybe ask Hellmann’s for it or create such a recipe.

I’m sure mayo ice cream

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ArgonautoftheSeas

Typo: incomplete last sentence above to be deleted.

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Careful Kathie

I like Stokes mayo or their garlic version available from Farm shops with cold chicken breast /sandwiches and then straight from the jar because it tastes so good. Home made only takes a short while if you have electric mixers. Try making it by hand and then when your arm is dropping from the beating and its curdled because you got fed up drip, drip, dripping the oil and added too much you’ll realise why it comes in a jar!

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M.

Some one brought a lovely BLT Mayo baguette into the office for me, well stuffed with full sized rashers jutting out, I licked my lips and took a big bite, about a quarter pint of Mayonnaise spilled down the front of my shirt and pooled in my lap.
I just want to know which one of you Mayo’ lovers works in my office, your p45 is waiting…grrrrrr

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M.

Obviously I didn’t know there was Mayo in it at the time :-)

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Mervyn Winstanley

I think you missed a good one in your mayonnaise survey. We’ve tried all the ones you tested, but our favourite is Maille with a hint of mustard. And it’s YELLOW!! How come all the ones you tested are white? Where does the white come from if the ingredients are olive oil, egg yolk, vinegar or lemon juice and seasoning?

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ian tanner

What a pity there was no taste testing of light mayos as we can’t make them at home!
My (nearly weekly) batch of full-cal is made in*, and served from, a 1 pint beer mug

*using an hand-held (Bamix) blender. Recipe has growed like topsy, and varies with mood etc, but is roughly
1 egg (whole, and I know the purists won’t like that!)
1/3 pt ev olive oil (Aldi/Lidl!)
1/3 pt veg oil
2 tsp lemon j
2 tsp wine v
2 gloves garlic -crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard flour (sometimes!)

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ian tanner

ps Try 2 cloves garlic rather than 2 gloves (which might be rather heavy handed, Haha!)

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Matthew field

I’ve always enjoyed mayonnaise on the side of my meals. Just something to dip in to. I enjoy making my own though, using an old recipe found in one of my mums old cook books (French naturally). The homemade always turns out pale yellow, and quite a lot stonger than store-bought mayo, but this because I tend to use Organic extra virgin Olive oil. It really does lend the mayo a richer, creamier texture and, of course it is much much healthier.

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ian tanner

Mathew Field isn’t reading his Which reports! “…Organic extra virgin Olive oil. It really does lend the mayo a richer, creamier texture and, of course it is much much healthier.” There’s no “of course” about it and, in fact, it’s a myth! Google on Which site. First item gives an exposition.
Regards

Ian

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ian tanner

On above post I put Google ‘organic healthier’ but with subject between (V shaped brackets if they don’t appear, which seems to have called up invisible ink!

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Karon McCarthy-Sadd

Are these all made with Free Range Eggs? If not then they can hardly be comparable products? So how can the Lidl product even be on here? Which should look in to their processes when comparing products as this is not a fair or ethical comparison.

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