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6 Apr 2022

Best cheap supermarket food and drink: the own-labels that beat the big brands

We reveal the tastiest and best-value supermarket staples from our recent consumer taste tests, including baked beans, chocolate spread and honey nut cornflakes
Great value food and drink line up

With grocery prices on the rise, swapping to cheaper supermarket own-label options can be an effective way to cut your food bill.

Switching from your beloved brand favourites might seem like a wrench, but our taste tests have uncovered plenty of great-tasting supermarket own label alternatives worth trying, which we've rounded up below.

Ditching the brands can add up to some surprisingly big savings, with some of our top own-label picks costing less than a third of the price of branded options. Swapping from Innocent orange juice to our recommended 'Great Value' orange juice, for example, could save you nearly £100 a year alone (based on one bottle per week).

Not every supermarket serves up cheap and cheerful budget picks - those near an Aldi or Lidl may have more choice at their fingertips, but that doesn't mean you can't find tasty, cheap alternatives elsewhere. We've found plenty of acceptable own label options that might fall just outside of our top picks, so it's worth checking the full results for each test to discover the best options near you.

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Best cheap baked beans

Heinz baked beans and Lidl Newgate baked beans
  • Brand score: Heinz baked beans, 73% - £1 per 415g tin (24p per 100g)
  • Our value pick: Lidl Newgate baked beans, 78% - 32p per 420g tin (8p per 100g). Available from Lidl (in-store only).

Heinz baked beans are a store cupboard staple for many, but our taste test results show that opting for an own label could get you a tastier tin.

Lidl's budget-friendly beans were rated well across the board by our consumer tasting panel, beating Heinz on appearance, aroma and texture. Plus, at only 32p a tin, savings can quickly stack up - if you buy two tins a week, switching from Heinz to Lidl could save you more than £70 a year.

See the full results from our baked beans taste test.

Best cheap honey nut cornflakes

Kellogg's crunchy nut and Aldi Harvest Morn Honey
  • Brand score: Kellogg's Crunchy Nut, 73% - £3 per 500g pack (60p per 100g)
  • Our value pick:Aldi Harvest Morn Honey Nut Crunchy Cornflakes, 76% - 85p per 500g pack (17p per 100g). Available fromAldi.

If you shop at Aldi, opting for its own label honey nut cornflakes is a no-brainer.

There's a whopping £2.15 saving per pack compared to Kellogg's Crunchy Nut (that's over £51 per year if you get through two packs in a month). Plus, they contain around 20% less sugar and, according to our consumer panel, they're tastier too.

Aldi wasn't the only supermarket cereal that stood out though. Plenty of others impressed, so it's worth trying the own-label option wherever you shop.

See the full results from our honey nut cornflakes taste test.

Best cheap orange juice

Innocent Orange juice Smooth and Aldi The Juice Co
  • Brand score: Innocent Orange Juice Smooth, 69% - £3.60 per 1.35L bottle (27p per 100ml)
  • Our value pick: Aldi The Juice Company Smooth Orange Juice, 74% - £1.69 per 1.75L carton (10p per 100ml). Available fromAldi.

Innocent was one of the priciest orange juices we tested, but compared to others, our panel found it lacking on the flavour front. More than a quarter of tasters said the flavour was too weak and not sweet enough for their liking.

For a tastier and cheaper alternative, Aldi is our best value pick. It's a great affordable option at just 10p per 100ml, which could add up to savings of just under £100 over the course of a year if you tend to get through one bottle per week.

See the full results from our orange juice taste test, including our top-scoring option, which is a little pricier, but still cheaper than Innocent.

Best cheap chocolate hazelnut spread

Nutella chocolate spread and Lidl Choco Nussa Spre
  • Brand score: Nutella, 77% - £2.90 per 350g jar (83p per 100g)
  • Our value pick:Lidl Choco Nussa Spread, 81% - £1.09 per 400g jar (27p per 100g). Available from Lidl (in-store only).

If Nutella is your (hazelnut) chocolate spread of choice, then it might come as a surprise to hear that it was beaten by a supermarket spread less than half the price in our taste test.

Not only did our consumer tasting panel think Lidl Choco Nussa looked better than Nutella, they also liked its texture and aroma more too. Plus, it contains less sugar and saturated fat per 100g.

See the full results from our chocolate hazelnut spread taste test.

Best cheap yeast extract spread

Marmite and Aldi Grandessa Mighty Yeast Extract

  • Brand score: Marmite Yeast Extract, 65% - £2.49 per 250g jar (£1 per 100g)
  • Our value pick:Aldi Grandessa Mighty Yeast Extract, 75% - £1.69 per 240g jar (70p per 100g).Available from Aldi.

If you're a lifelong Marmite fan, you might not have considered an own label before. But our taste test results show there are plenty of reasons to branch out.

Aldi's yeast extract spread, the cheapest on test, tied in joint first place with Morrisons. Tasters thought its flavour, texture and aroma was superior to Marmite, which fell behind all four of the own labels we tested.

However, if you like a really thick spread, you might not like the slightly runnier consistency of own-label options.

See the full results from our yeast extract spread taste test for more on how the different spreads compare.

Best cheap peanut butter

Sun-Pat Crunchy peanut butter and Lidl Mister Choc
  • Brand score: Sun-Pat Crunchy Peanut Butter, 67% - £2.50 per 400g jar (63p per 100g)
  • Our value pick:Lidl Mister Choc Crunchy Peanut Butter, 75% - 85p per 340g jar (25p per 100g)

Lidl's Mister Choc was one of the top-rated peanut butters in our taste test, scoring high marks for its great nutty flavour and crunchy texture.

Despite costing just 85p a jar, it outshone big brands including Sun-Pat, KP and Whole Earth, showing that paying more doesn't necessarily get you a tastier snack.

See the full results from our peanut butter taste test.

When is it worth paying more for brands?

Man shopping in supermarket

There are some cases where the big brand holds its own against cheaper rivals. For example, Nescafe was our top-rated instant coffee, while Galaxy and Cadbury were the overall favourites in our instant hot chocolate taste test.

It's worth knowing when you can safely save without compromising on taste, and when it's better to look out for offers on the branded version. It's also always worth checking out our full results, because there's usually a more affordable own-label not far behind, even if a brand takes the top spot.

Here are some more of our great value picks that don't quite match up to the winning brand, but still offer excellent value for money:

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*Based on typical price, excluding special offers. Prices correct as of 5 April 2022