Marks and Spencer beat Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose in Christmas taste test

Marks and Spencer has claimed the top spot in the ultimate Christmas taste test, beating competitors such as Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.

The supermarket came out as the overall winter of Good Housekeeping’s annual taste test, scooping the top position in four categories.

The taste test saw a team compare 470 products in categories focusing on a range of Christmas products such as mince pies, turkey and yule logs.

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Marks and Spencer was named the overall winner in four categories: Mince Pies with a Twist, Bottled Cocktails, Dessert Centrepieces and Yule Logs — making it a clear favourite for sweet treats.

Sainsbury’s yule log came in second place

As mince pies are the go-to treat at Christmas, the Good Housekeeping Institute were on the hunt for the best traditional and alternative bakes.

In the Mince Pies with a Twist category, M&S’s Sticky Toffee PudPie, £2 for 240g, was the firm favourite, scoring 94/100, thanks to its combination of rich, buttery caramel notes, and jammy mincemeat bursting with currants.

However, on the traditional Mince Pie category, Betty’s Classic Mince Pies, £13.75 for 12 came out on top with an impressive score of 84/100 thanks to its traditional mince pie recipe, and was praised for its buttery pastry and boozy mincemeat.

Coeliacs will want to head to Costa for their Gluten-Free Vegan Mince Tart, £2 each scoring 84/100 making it the tastiest gluten-free mince pie for the third year in a row.

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For other traditional festive sweet treats, it was Harvey Nichols Classic Christmas Pudding, £9.50 for 454g that nabbed first place in the Christmas Pudding category with a score of 88/100.

In the Alternative Christmas Pudding category, Tesco were worthy winners for its Tesco’s Finest Blackforest Christmas Pudding, £10.00 for 800g, which scored 79/100.

For the second year running, Waitrose was named the best supermarket for own-label Champagne, with its Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Brut NV Champagne, £23.99, impressing the panel with its smooth bubbles and beautifully balanced, rich and fruity flavour, scoring 78/100.

Perrier Jouet, Champagne Grand Brut, however, sold for £35.00 at Amazon was the winner in the category, scoring 82/100 for its iconic bubbles.

In the Prosecco category, La Gioiosa, Prosecco DOC, £10 for 75cl sold at Majestic took the crown scoring 84/100, but when it came to supermarket own brand Prosecco’s Aldi won that battle, scoring 78/100 for its Aldi Prosecco DOCG Millesimato, £8.99 for 75cl.

When it came to turkeys, online meat retailer Pipers Farm clinched the top spot.

Pipers Farm turkey came out on top

Pipers Farm turkey came out on top

For the first time, the Good Housekeeping Institute tried a mix of both fresh and frozen whole birds and turkey crowns, and Pipers Farm came out on top for both.

Pipers Farm Free Range Bronze Turkey, £16.30 per kilo, scored 81/100 in the Whole Turkey category, while the Pipers Farm Properly Free Turkey Crown, from £71 scored 76/100 in the Turkey Crown category.

Of course, as more people move towards a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle, there is huge demand for different kinds of main dishes on Christmas Day.

COOK’s Portobello Mushroom Wellington, £10 proved most popular in the Meat-Free Main category, scoring 82/100 with its winning combination of creamy garlic mushrooms in buttery puff pastry.

For a fully plant-based feast, Morrisons Vegan Vegetable Wellington, £5 for 460g and Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen No Turkey Roast Crown, £5 for 500g were the highest-rated fully vegan options within this category, both scoring 78/100.

Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen No Turkey Roast Crown, £5 for 500g was the highest rated fully vegan option

Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen No Turkey Roast Crown, £5 for 500g was the highest rated fully vegan option

Angela Trofymova, Head of Food & Drink Testing at the Good Housekeeping Institute said: “As we head towards Christmas 2021, in the hopes that it will be with more friends and family than last year’s, we really wanted to source the best-tasting products for the public.

“We’ve made sure we haven’t missed any of the key festive favourites, as well as including new and innovative categories, ensuring consumers get the best deals, treats and drinks they can this year!”

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The full results of Christmas Taste Test:


Winner: La Gioiosa, Prosecco DOC, £10 for 75cl sold at Majestic 84/100

Runner-Up: Della Vite, Prosecco Superiore DOCG, £25.95 for 75cl sold at Ocado 82/100


Winner: Perrier Jouet, Champagne Grand Brut, £35.00 for 75cl sold on Amazon. 82/100

Joint Runners-Up:

Dom Perignon, 2010 Vintage Champagne, £155.00 for 75cl sold a Selfridges. 81/100

RARE, Champagne Millesime 2006, £210.00 for 75cl sold at Selfridges. 81/100

Pigs in blankets

Winner: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Truffle Pigs in Blankets, £3.50 for 210g. 84/100

Runner-Up: Jolly Hog, Outdoor Bred Pigs In Blankets, £3.50 for 210g sold through Ocado. 81/100

Smoked salmon

Winner: London Smoke & Cure, Sashimi-grade smoked salmon, £14.95 for 200g sold directly through London Smoke & Cure. 78/100

Runner-Up: Tesco’s Finest Scottish Smoked Salmon, £4.80 for 120g. 77/100

Flavoured smoked salmon

Winner: Morrisons The Best Smoked Salmon with a Twist (orange & clementine, £4.00 for 120g. 79/100

Runner-Up: Tesco Finest Smoked Scottish Salmon with Maple and Rum £4.80 100g. 82/100

Mince pies

Winner: Betty’s Classic Mince Pies, £13.75 for 12. 84/100

Joint Runners-Up:

Cutter & Squidge Mince Pies, £10.20 for 6 sold directly through Cutter & Squidge. 77/100

Morrisons The Best Mince Pies, £2.00 for 6. 77/100

Mince pies with a twist

Winner: M&S Sticky Toffee PudPie, £2.00 for 4. 94/100

Runner-Up: Betty’s Speciality Mince Pies, £16.75 for 12. 86/100

Christmas pudding

Winner: Harvey Nichols Classic Christmas Pudding, £9.50 for 454g. 88/100

Runner-Up: Cartwright & Butler’s Traditional Christmas Pudding (with Marzipan Centre), £18.00 for 454g sold directly through Cartwright & Butler. 85/100

Alternative Christmas pudding

Winner: Tesco’s Finest Blackforest Christmas Pudding, £10.00 for 800g. 79/100

Runner-Up: Aldi Specially Selected Damson Plum & Pink Gin Pudding, £8.99 for 800g. 73/100

Pre-bottled cocktails

Winner: M&S, The Marksologist – Madagascan Vanilla Espresso Martini Cocktail, £18.00 for 50cl. 85/100

Runner-Up: Harvey Nichols, Mai Tai Cocktail, £6.00 for 12.5cl. 83/100

Roast potatoes

Winner: Aunt Bessies, Home Style Roast Potatoes, £1.80 for 800g sold at Waitrose. 80/100

Runner-Up: Waitrose & Partners Babylon Goose Fat Roast Potatoes with whole garlic cloves and fresh sage £3.50 for 800g. 77/100

Dessert centrepiece

Winner: M&S Sticky Toffee Crown, £20.00, 1.4kg. 85/100

Runner-Up: Waitrose & Partners, Heston Giant Chocolate Penny, £20.00 for 700g. 84/100

Yule log

M&S Collection Triple Chocolate Yule Log, £20.00, 900g. 85/100

Runner-Up: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Chocolate Fudge Yule Log, £4.00 for 442g. 81/100

Turkey crown

Winner: Pipers Farm Properly Free Turkey Crown, £71, 3-4kg. 76/100

Runner-Up: Iceland, Luxury Extra Tasty Turkey Crown, £17.00, 2kg. 75/100

Whole turkey

Winner: Pipers Farm Free Range Bronze Turkey, £16.30/kg. 81/100

Runner-Up: Tesco Finest British Free Range Heritage Narragansett Whole Turkey, £10/kg, 5.26-6.51kg. 79/100

Meat-free mains

Winner: COOK’s Portobello Mushroom Wellington, £10.00 for 360g. 82/100

Joint Runners-Up:

Morrisons Vegan Vegetable Wellington (Vegan), £5.00 for 460g. 78/100

Tesco’s Wicked Kitchen No Turkey Roast Crown, £5.00 for 500g. 78/100

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