/ Food & Drink, Health, Shopping

Are you a chocolate brand snob?

Chocolate bars

It’s difficult to avoid chocolate Easter eggs at this time of year, but we wanted to taste test something a little different. Something that’s available all year round.

We’ve done a snapshot taste test pitting branded KitKat, Penguin and Twix bars against similar, easy-to-find supermarket chocolate which bear more than a subtle resemblance to the real deal.

Our chocoholics blind-tasted seven different Kitkat-style bars, five Twix-style bars and five Penguin-style bars. Would they be able to taste the difference?

Crunching the numbers

When it comes to KitKats, the nation’s favourite break-time snack, the branded bar came out on top. Three quarters of our tasters immediately identified the correct branded bar, complimenting its rich chocolate taste and delicious wafer. We did find, however, that Tesco’s Snappy Milk Chocolate Finger Biscuits were almost as tasty, receiving only a fractionally lower score.

Turning our attention to Twix, we can reveal that branded is most definitely best. None of the Twix-equivalent bars came anywhere close. Although you could pocket a hefty saving by switching to a much cheaper supermarket own-brand version (just avoid Aldi’s equivalent, described by one taste tester as tasting like cardboard).

If you enjoy picking up a Penguin, the branded bar received quite a cold reception. Our chocoholics described the chocolate bar as having a banana or even citrus taste (not what you want when it comes to chocolate). Not a single taster recognised the branded chocolate.

Could Aldi’s Seal bars get the seal of approval from our tasters (see what they did there?)? Not quite – both Aldi and Morrison’s own-brand Penguin equivalents were described as too sweet, scoring 5.1 and 4.9 out of 10 respectively.

Sainsbury’s Polar bars (noticing a pattern emerging here!) were the unanimous favourite, with their great biscuity and chocolatey taste, and costing 28p less per 100g than branded Penguin bars (that’s a 42p saving on an average multipack of eight bars).

Is this enough to convince you to switch?

So those are the results of our snapshot taste test, and it’s convinced me to look at the supermarket own-brand alternatives. We want to know – would you stray into the world of brand-equivalent chocolate bars? Or do you ignore the price and choose branded every time?

And do you think your discerning taste buds would be able to tell the difference between a branded chocolate bar and a supermarket own-brand equivalent?

Would you buy supermarket own-brand chocolate bars over the branded bars?

Yes - I already do (54%, 589 Votes)

Yes - I might consider it after this taste test (31%, 338 Votes)

No - branded chocolate is always best (14%, 154 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,081

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Viewed in terms of price per gram of chocolate, Easter Eggs are a criminal waste of money.

In an ideal world, I would only ever buy fair trade organic chocolate – but I do often sin and buy other types.

I seldom every buy Cadburys now – my usual challenge is to explore other available options.

Raphe says:
26 March 2016

Almost all chocolate bar manufacturers are dragging their feet about getting their products approved as FAIRTRADE or UTZ approved. I see only one in your above photo! If they are not approved they are likely to have involved child SLAVE labour in their harvesting. Even if they are delicious, I will not buy any non-approved chocolate product . Full stop!!
I don’t want to be a “spoil sport” but the manufacturers behaviour is indefensible.

I had a Kit Kat recently and found it to have a strange after taste and not a nice chocolate taste I have had before. Plus I have recently bought from Lidl “Snicker & Mars” equivelent and found them to be great value and more than acceptable for the money, I consider the Snickers equivelent had less nuts but for the money I still enjoyed them. Also Lidl do some great dark chocolate bars. One I particularly like is the”AMAZONAS” 60%” bar it has a nice smooth taste to it

i have recently discovered LIDL CHOCOLATE i love dark chocolate & its the best ive tasted & far cheaper than all other brands

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You had some good fun with the descriptions there, Natalie – certainly put the Kat among the Penguins.

I must break out more and try some of the favoured alternatives to the regular brands. I usually avoid the sweets aisle but I’ll give it a whirl next time.

The Indian consumer charity Consumer-Voice have done a very detailed review of six dark chocolates available in India and it is interesting to read their reviews, and the detail they go into.

Lindt and Ritter rated top for dark and dark bitter chocolate respectively.

I note that Which? ” How we tested chocolate bars
To taste test branded chocolate alongside supermarket own brands, we asked seven tasters to score each bar out of 10. Our tasters were not shown the packaging or name of each bar, and the bars were given to each person in a different random order. We then averaged these ratings to calculate an overall score for each bar.”

When I was a professional taster we would be given blind repeated samples of the same product as individuals tastes could change depending on the amount of chocolate they had tasted so far. Always amusing when a product scored highly at the beginning of a session dropped remarkably when tasted as item four. We had a panel of 12.

I am sure you are correct that the big brand names are probably over-priced or certainly easily substituted. However as we no analysis of the products we may find some are considerably less chocolate or more sugary which might also be buying considerations. They may mean that Kit Kat is actually by quality a more expensive product to make so one should not be too ready to assume profiteering on the back of high advertising spend.

DT, since Which? invested so heavily in India perhaps it could relay informative reviews from their consumer organisation?
We shop at M&S and enjoy their chocolate – whether Swiss or their selection of other bars that range up to high-content dark. When you buy such chocolate you do not need to consume much to be satisfied, so while it may be a little more expensive than some other chocolate flavoured concoctions I’d suggest it offers better value and is probably healthier (my excuse).

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charlie says:
27 June 2016

I really love ALDI chocolate bars especially the seal bars and the choco break bars!!

Somewhere in Which? Conversation I bemoaned the passing of Bournville Fruit & Nut Chocolate following the take-over of Cadbury by Kraft.

I am happy to report that I have found an excellent replacement. Sainsbury’s Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut bars are possibly even better than Bournville were and I have noticed that they are flying off the shelves. Totally toothsome and magnificently more-ish.

Sainsbury’s have also produced an exquisite Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cream bar that is utterly and únbelievably divine. In my opinion it is superior to Fry’s as the chocolate is not so cloying and the peppermint flavour is fresh and tangy.

The dentist should see you now, Mr Ward.”

Years ago Cadbury’s made a Bournville with roasted almonds. Anyone seen anything like it? It was a favourite. I currently like M&S Swiss chocolate with hazelnuts – a nice milk chocolate with plenty of nuts.

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duncan, not hazelnuts – roasted almonds in dark chocolate. I am not a fan of Cadbury’s milk chocolate. Decent chocolate is expensive but you don’t need as much to satisfy your taste buds, I have found.

I am often disappointed by mixed chocolate boxes; I like a real mixture of flavours but so often, no matter how much is paid, they don’t seem that exciting. M&S (again) do a Swiss collection that I find as good as any for “ordinary” chocs, but I like their Florentines as an alternative. However Christmas and birthday produced a Hotel Chocolate selection with a really interesting and enticing collection of flavours.

Malcolm – Within an hour of reading your enquiry about dark chocolate with almonds I was in Sainsbury’s and checked that while they do not appear to have an own-label chocolate bar with just almonds, they do have a Whole Nut Dark Chocolate bar containing almonds and hazelnuts. It might suit your tooth. They also have a Milk Chocolate version but I noted that, like me, you don’t care so much for milk chocolate. I am not a big fan of high cocoa content chocolates either as they can be a bit bitter, but there are various makes of rich dark German chocolate with marzipan enclosures that seem to be an ideal bitter-sweet combination.

Thank you John 🙂 I’ll have a look.

In homage of World Chocolate day, I’ve decided to take note on some of these chocolaty suggestions for an indulgent sweet feast tonight. 😀 Any recommendations, all?

Hi Andrew, All;

1) For true chocaholics, too much is never enough;

2) To help save the planet and/or free the slaves, look for organic and/or fair trade offerings;

3) Don’t skimp on the expense – remember: you ARE worth it!



Hi Andrew – I recommend going to a small shop that sells hand-made chocolates and picking the ones you fancy. Enjoy. 🙂

Too late for tonight but get a selection box from Hotel Chocolate would be my advice.

Belated thanks for the suggestions, all! We resulted in a trip to our local Aldi and raided their chocolate aisle! Of course, I would’ve certainly visited Hotel Chocolat if there was one nearby too. 😉

There’s a Hotel Chocolate on your computer, Andrew! 🙂

Alas, it was a spur of the moment event – I don’t think I could’ve justified the extreme postage fees for same-day delivery! Next time, most certainly.

I have been given a lot of Hotel Chocolat products in recent years. Most of it was nice, though their solid chocolate Christmas wreaths are a bit over the top.

I can imagine, wavechange! Although, I’m rather intrigued to see what one of these wreaths look like now 😮

It’s a good thing they only sell them around Christmas because in this hot weather they might run to meet you, Andrew. I’m not referring to little wreaths that they also sell but big ones that are quite difficult to break into pieces. I prefer their other products.

Many people store chocolate etc. in the fridge in hot weather but that does nothing for the flavour and texture. Keeping chocolate happy is a good enough reason to address the problem of global warming – and might help more people relate to this important issue. 🙂

Speaking of Christmas, although slightly off-topic (sorry Lauren and Patrick!), I’ve already seen Christmas cards on sale at my local Card Shop! Perhaps I’ll get see one of these wreaths rather soon! 😮

Choc heaven for me is a dark Belgian chocolate Magnum on a stick. I have at last mastered the art of catching the bits of flakey chocolate as they break away from the ice cream before they fall onto the floor, which all adds to the joy of eating it.

Andrew why not treat yourself to a chocolate fountain and a few marshmallows to celebrate World Chocolate Day. You could of course invite some of the regulars to join in the fun. 🙂

I like choc ices as well – plain preferably. M&S boxes of 8 – the choc coating still flakes off and melts on your best clothes.

I agree that M&S choc-ices are very good – and much better than Sainsbury’s whose chocolate coating is not on a par with their own-label chocolate bars. I have not tried other supermarket choc-ices nor any big brand products. Magnum are extremely nice and although there are similar own-label products I have never felt a desire to try them.

On the occasions when I have had a fuzzy mouth after a few drinks the night before a choc-ice restores the tissues and cleanses the palate perfectly.

Cheers Beryl, Malcolm and John, although, I’m not a huge ice cream lover, I’m afraid to say! However, if I must eat ice cream, I’d definitely go for mint choc chip 🙂 Perhaps I’ll give choc-ices another try when the weather eventually brightens up!

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Yet another Kinder Surprise! I think the big worry for grandparents has always been that the Kinder children’s chocolate products are so addictive requiring further pocket money. They are actually an Italian product made by Ferrero [of ambassador’s reception fame].

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