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6 Mar 2022

Best baked beans: the supermarket own-brands that beat Branston, Heinz & HP

We spill the beans on which tins deserve to top your toast, and the cheap baked beans that triumphed in our test
Baked beans on toast

Whether spooned over a jacket potato, or served with a full English Breakfast, baked beans in tomato sauce are a store cupboard staple for many.

So with grocery prices on a seemingly unstoppable rise, it's welcome news that you can cut back on the cost of beans without compromising on taste.

We asked a panel of consumers to blind-taste and rate 12 different brands of baked beans, from Heinz, Branston and KP to Aldi, Tesco, Lidl and more.

Cheap Lidl and Morrisons baked beans took the top spot in our test, tying for first place and seeing off competition from the big brands.

Both are less than half the price of Heinz beans, so if you're feeding a crowd, the savings will quickly stack up.

Read on to find out what our tasters thought of each brand and how the winning beans impressed them - plus the supermarket beans that missed the mark.

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Best baked beans

These are the cheap and cheerful beans worth buying.

Best Buy: Lidl Newgate baked beans - 78%

32p for 420g (8p per 100g)

Lidl Newgate baked beans

Lidl Newgate baked beans were a joint-top choice for our panel, scoring highly for their appearance, smell and texture.

Around three quarters of tasters thought the colour was perfect, and 81% thought the texture of the sauce was just right.

Plus, at only 32p for a tin, buying these beans will leave your wallet happy as well as your stomach.

Available to buy from Lidl (in-store only) and Ordrs.

Best Buy: Morrisons baked beans - 78%

39p for 410g (10p per 100g)

Morrisons own-brand baked beans Best Buy

After narrowly missing out on a Best Buy in last year's test, Morrisons beans have pulled ahead and earned a joint-first spot this year.

Tasters were impressed with Morrisons baked beans across the board, and they were the only product to get the full five stars for being just the right tomato red colour.

While not quite as cheap as Lidl's, they're still a good value option.

Available to buy from Morrisons.

Other high-scoring supermarket baked beans

Competition for the top spots was very tight, with several other budget-friendly supermarket beans coming in just behind our Best Buys.

These include:

  • Aldi Corale Baked beans - 76%. One of the cheapest tins we tested. Our panel were fans of the appearance and smell of the beans, but a quarter thought they weren't sweet enough. 30p for 420g tin (7p per 100g). Available from Aldi.
  • Waitrose Essential Baked Beans - 76%. Came joint-second with Aldi. Rated well overall, especially in terms of texture. 40p for 400g tin (10p per 100g). Available from Waitrose.
  • Tesco Baked Beans - 75%. Rated well for texture and smell, but the flavour could be stronger. 32p for 420g tin (8p per 100g). Available from Tesco.

Hungry for more? Head to our guide to the best food and drink for top-rated picks on everything from cornflakes to mature cheddar cheese.

Heinz, Branston and KP vs supermarket baked beans

Lineup of branded and own brand baked beans

Our test showed that not only will you save money with supermarket beans, you could also get a tastier tin.

The highest scoring branded beans were Branston, which came a middling joint-fourth place and were the second-most expensive. Heinz and HP came joint-fifth, ahead of only Sainsbury's, Co-op and M&S.

How the rest of the baked beans fared:

  • Branston Baked Beans - 74%. Ok, though around a third found the sauce too thick. 65p per 410g tin. Available from Sainsbury's, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Iceland, Waitrose or Ocado.
  • Asda Baked Beans - 74%. Generally ok, but 42% of tasters found the sauce too thick. 32p for 410g tin. Available from Asda.
  • Heinz Baked Beans - 73%. The most expensive beans we tested and nothing particularly stood out taste-wise. £1 for 415g tin. Available from Sainsbury's, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Co-op, Iceland, Waitrose or Ocado.
  • HP Baked Beans in a Rich Tomato Sauce - 73%. Ok for aroma and flavour, but below average on appearance. Almost half found the sauce too thin. 55p for 415g tin. Available from Asda.
  • Sainsbury's Baked Beans - 71%. Average marks for most categories, and cheaper than most. 42% of tasters found the beans too hard. 35p for 400g tin. Available from Sainsbury's.
  • Co-op Baked Beans - 71%. Over half of tasters found the sauce flavour too weak, and average elsewhere. 36p for 400g tin. Available from Co-op.
  • M&S Baked Beans - 64%. These M&S beans underwhelmed out tasters. Over half found the sauce too thin and the beans overly hard. 35p for 400g tin. Available from M&S (in store) or Ocado.

Are baked beans healthy?

Woman in a supermarket browsing nutritional inform

Tinned baked beans usually contain haricot or cannellini beans, and are typically quite healthy according to NHS guidelines.

They're high in protein, fibre and nutrients, and are a good contribution towards one of your five-a-day.

The salt and sugar content in baked beans can sometimes be high as a result of the rich tomato sauce, though of the baked beans we tested, all were low sugar and low fat by NHS reference intake standards.

It's also important to note that some of the sugar will come from tomato puree, so it won't be all artificial sweeteners.

If you're concerned about salt and sugar intake, brands such as Heinz and Branston (as well as some supermarket labels) make reduced-salt and reduced-sugar baked beans.

How we tested baked beans

We asked a panel of 65 testers to blind-taste 12 different brands of baked beans in tomato sauce in February 2022, including three from big brands and nine supermarket own-labels.

Reduced-sugar and reduced-salt varieties were excluded.

Each baked bean brand was rated by our panel based on taste, texture, aroma and appearance. They also told us what they liked and disliked about each one.

As this taste test was conducted blind, participants did not know which product they were sampling, and the order they received the baked beans in was randomised.

*prices correct as of 4 March 2022