Affordable mince pies from Asda and Iceland topped a festive taste test, while a ‘claggy’ effort from Sainsbury’s languishes at the bottom of the poll.
Consumer group Which one? said the ranges of Asda and the frozen food specialist in Iceland both scored 73% in the year, winning the best buy award.
Its consumer panel – comprised of members of the public – blind tested 12 high-end supermarket own-brand chopped pies to determine the most delicious, bland and least appetizing.
Asda’s Extra Special Mince Pies (£ 1.75 for six, or 29p per pie) performed excellently for flavor, texture and overall appearance. The tasters distinguished between “crisp” and “buttered” pastry as well as the complex design of the pastry. The supermarket chain was the first in the UK to start stocking chopped pies, putting them on its shelves in the first week of September.
Iceland’s luxury all-butter mince pies (£ 1.89 for six, or 31p per pie) also scored the highest score of 73%. One panelist said they tasted like “a more expensive product.” The pies were also crowned the best supermarket mince pie in Good Housekeeping’s recent Christmas taste test.
Iceland has returned to the drawing board to create a whole new recipe for its luxury line. The new version – again without palm oil – has a long list of exotic ingredients. It includes a buttery dough filled with spicy minced meat made from currants, raisins and raisins, then brandy, port and yuzu juice (a small Japanese citrus fruit), as well as lemon zest. and orange zest just to increase the tang ratio.
Turning to the bottom of the table, Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Chopped Pies (£ 2 for six or 33p each) came out worst with a 58% rating. Some panelists complained that they were “claggy” and tasted “stale” and “overcooked”.
Positive recommendations in these national taste tests can empty supermarket shelves. Awaiting an impending lockdown Christmas, consumers stocked up on chopped pies and confectionery earlier than usual.
Harry Rose, editor of Which? magazine, said: “While this Christmas year is a little different, we want to make sure that at least your chopped pies don’t disappoint.”
Elsewhere in the poll, Tesco’s Finest All Butter Mince Pies (£ 1.75 for six or 29 pence per pie) missed a Best Buy with a 72% score, as the pastry was hailed as ‘melt in your mouth’ Some of the panelists were not keen on the firmer garnish.
Marks & Spencer, who this year took a bite out of tradition by launching Percy Pig (or Percymas) chopped pies, scored 71% for their M&S Collection pies (£ 2.50 for six or 41p each), which were among the most expensive in the survey.