/ Food & Drink

Will our taste tests convince you to ditch your fave brands?

Tomato soup

Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Aldi cream of tomato soups have beaten the iconic Heinz Classic variety in the latest Which? taste test. Would you swap a much-loved brand for a supermarket label?

I must admit I was surprised when the results of the latest taste test arrived at the Which? offices. I didn’t think for one minute that a supermarket own label soup would measure up to the nation’s favourite soup brand.

But three supermarket soups were voted tastier than Heinz – which came joint-fourth in the rankings.

Supermarket soups beat Heinz soup

Which? soup taste test resultsTo find the tastiest soup, we pitted 11 supermarket labels and best-selling brands against each other in a blind taste test. The soups were rated on taste, texture, appearance and aroma, according to the palates of 100 members of the general public.

Sainsbury’s cream of tomato came top for flavour and scored 76% overall; Tesco’s version came a close second with 74%; and Aldi’s Soupreme cream of tomato scored 72%.

And because there was a clear distinction between these three and all the rest – we’ve made them Best Buys.

Blinded by big brands

Before seeing these results in black and white, nothing would have tempted me away from Heinz Classic Cream of Tomato soup. Until now, it’s always been my soup-of-choice, bringing to mind a comforting snack on blustery autumn days, with a freshly-baked white crusty roll. On the other hand, if someone said ‘supermarket soup’ I’d imagine a thin, vinegary and unappetising poor substitute by comparison.

This kind of unconscious ingrained bias is the main reason we carry out ‘blind’ taste tests. Not one of our soup tasters could identify any of the soups they were sampling. But are these indisputable findings enough to make me switch the soup I buy?

Even when you consider that all three soups are a lot cheaper than the brands – Aldi’s soup is less than half the price of a can of Heinz – I have to admit I’m not sure I’ll reach for the own-label tomato soup the next time I’m in Sainsbury’s. OK, I will try it; but the pull of my affinity to Heinz might stop me from enjoying it.

Would you switch soups?

This all got me thinking about other brands I wouldn’t dream of ditching. I mean, I’ll happily switch my bank, insurance or energy supplier at the drop of a hat if it means I’d get a better deal, but choose cola over Coke, or generic chocolate over Cadbury’s? Never!

I’m curious to see whether our taste test results would encourage any Heinz Classic Cream of Tomato Soup fans to give our supermarket Best Buys a try. Or will you stick with what you love? And more generally – which brands would you be happy to sacrifice, and which brands won’t you be parted from?


I keep some cans of soup etc. for use when I get back from holiday and have not been shopping or explored the freezer. After a can of Heinz tomato soup I realised that I had consumed 2.4 g salt – 40% of the maximum daily intake recommended for an adult.

When restocking the cupboard I might pay attention to the salt content of the products on offer or be patient enough to defrost something interesting and healthy than tinned soup.

liam mitchell says:
16 March 2015

ill always eat heinz no matter what yall sayyyyy

hornett says:
19 March 2015

Have you ever tried the other brand as I have not. Its all about the positioning and packaging. What deters you from supermarkets own brands?


Also just found out there’s 4 teaspoons of sugar in a can Heinz tomato soup wow 👎


It’s been a long time since I had any canned soup although there’s the odd tin or two at the back of the cupboard “just in case”. When I was partial to soup, especially in the winter, I always rated Sainsbury’s highly and preferred it to Heinz and M&S [which scored only 55%!]. I am not surprised that Baxters scored low [61%] – their cream of tomato was never their best. I think it was the sugar content rather than the salt content that put me off canned soups; nowadays we make our own, both toothsome and nutritious.


These soups are salty. Baxter’s was the saltiest soup we tested, with 2.6g salt per can. The recommended daily intake of salt for an adult is 6g.

They’re also sugary: the sweetest soups contain almost six teaspoons of sugar per can. Interestingly, the three Best Buys voted tastiest were the sweetest soups we tested.

When you think about it – this is a lot of sugar and salt. If I were making my own soup and the recipe told me to ‘stir in in six teaspoons of sugar’ I’d wonder if I were reading it right. And although I can’t quite image what 2.6g of salt ‘looks like’, I’m guessing it’s more than the light dusting of seasoning I would add.


Looking at a can of Heinz soup, it contains 12g of fat, in addition to the sugar and salt. I wonder what has happened to the ‘traffic light’ labels we heard about a few months ago.

Time to make some soup, I think. Mine will not contain any sugar and not much salt.


… and maybe avoid a ‘cream of’ recipe, Wavechange?!


You are right about that, Jess. 🙂

Incidentally, Heinz ‘Cream of Tomato Soup’ contains more salt by weight than cream. Since the amount of cream is not declared despite being mentioned in the name, I presume the amount is below the threshold for this to be necessary. Most of the fat content is from vegetable oil.