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5 May 2022

Best premium beef burgers: GBK and Finnebrogue vs supermarket own labels

Our taste test panel munched their way through 10 varieties of beef burgers to find out which ones you should be barbecuing this summer
Beefburger in a bun

If you’re stepping up your grilling game this summer, you might be considering opting for a premium beef burger such as wagyu or chuck steak.

But with some premium burgers costing nearly double the price of their standard range alternatives, upgrading can be an expensive choice - particularly if you've got lots of guests to feed. 

To find out which burgers are worth spending more on, we asked 71 burger fans to rate 10 premium offerings from the likes of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Aldi and Tesco in a blind taste test.

Finnebrogue stole the show with its flavoursome wagyu burger impressing our panel. But we also uncovered some pricey options that were lacking in flavour, including an expensive supermarket burger costing £5 per pack.

Read on to find out which crowd-pleasing patties we recommend, including our pick of the best own label burgers.

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Best beef burgers

Finnebrogue's wagyu burger was judged the overall favourite in our taste test, though we also found several supermarket own label options well worth considering. 

Asda, Co-op and M&S tied in second place as joint runners up, just a few percentage points behind the winner.

Best Buy: Finnebrogue Wagyu Burger – 77%

£4 for 2 burgers (£1.18 per 100g)

Finnebrogue Wagyu Burger

Finnebrogue boldly states on the front of its pack that it's 'probably the best burger in the world'. While our testing isn't quite extensive enough to verify that claim, there's no doubt it's one of the tastiest supermarket premium burgers you can buy.

Its flavour-packed patty was the best rated burger on strength of flavour and it got top marks for texture too, with most finding it to have just the right level of juiciness.

As the only wagyu burger we tested, it’s on the pricey side at £4 per pack of two, but if you're looking to impress your barbecue guests this summer, it's a great choice.

Available from Ocado and Sainsbury’s.

Asda Extra Special Aberdeen Angus Beef Steak Burgers – 74%

£3.20 for 2 burgers (94p per 100g)

Asda Extra Special Aberdeen Angus Beef Steak Burgers

Although it didn’t smell as appetising as Finnebrogue, Asda’s Extra Special burger was still a hit with our panel, satisfying most tasters with its succulent texture and well-balanced flavours.

Not only does it taste delicious, but it also contains less fat and saturated fat than nearly all the other burgers we tested (though it's still classed as high in saturated fat overall).

Plus, Asda’s are the cheapest of our high scoring burgers, at around 80p less than our Best Buy, so they're ideal if you’re looking for a slightly more affordable option.

Available from Asda.

Co-op Irresistible Hereford Beef Burgers – 74%

£3.50 for 2 burgers (£1.03 per 100g)

Co-op Irresistible Hereford Beef burgers

The texture of Co-op’s beef burgers didn’t quite match up to our other top scorers, but they're still a tasty option overall.

They were some of the best-looking burgers we tested and they impressed tasters on the flavour front too, with more than two thirds finding the strength of flavour spot on.

While they’re more expensive than most other own labels we tested, they’re still a good option if you’re after a cheaper alternative to Finnebrogue.

Available from Co-op.

M&S Our Best Ever Beef Burger – 74%

£4.80 for 2 burgers (£1.41 per 100g)

M&S Our Best Ever Beef Burger

M&S’ burgers were another top-rated own label option, receiving high marks across the board for their appealing colour and moist texture. However, the flavour wasn’t quite as impressive as some, with nearly half of tasters finding they lacked seasoning.

Of those we tested, M&S burgers contain the most fat and saturated fat, with nearly double the amount of saturated fat compared to Asda’s burgers - so if you’d prefer a burger with a slightly lower fat content but don’t want to compromise on taste, Asda's might be a better option.

Available from Ocado and M&S (in store only).

Best tomato ketchup - find out how supermarket own labels measured up to big brand Heinz in our tomato ketchup taste test.

How Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Aldi, Tesco and other supermarket beef burgers fared

Premium supermarket beef burgers - Aldi, Tesco, Morrisons, GBK, Sainsbury's and Waitrose

The rest of the burgers we tested still scored reasonably well overall, although our results show that spending more doesn't necessarily get you a tastier burger, with some of the most expensive falling behind on flavour.

  • Aldi Specially Selected The Best Ever Burger - 70%. The cheapest on test. Aldi's burgers are a decent choice if you’re after a budget-friendly patty. £2.69 for 2 burgers. Available from Aldi.
  • Tesco Finest The Ultimate Brisket & Chuck Burger - 70%. Scored well overall, though their appearance and aroma were less appealing than others we tested. £3 for 2 burgers. Available from Tesco.
  • Gourmet Burger Kitchen Gourmet Beef Burgers - 67%. Not bad, but you may have expected better things from this big brand. More than half thought it’s burgers lacked flavour and seasoning. £3.76 for 2 burgers. Available from OcadoTesco and Waitrose.
  • Morrisons The Best British Chuck Steak Burgers - 67%. Morrisons burgers did okay overall, but just over half thought they were too dry. £2.99 for 2 burgers. Available from Morrisons.
  • Sainsbury's Taste the Difference 30 Day Aged British Beef Burger - 65%. Tying in joint last place, some found Sainsbury’s burgers bland in flavour with an overly coarse texture. £3 for 2 burgers. Available from Sainsbury’s.
  • Waitrose No.1 Dry Aged Hereford Steak Burgers - 65%. Pricey but far from perfect, these premium burgers were lacking when it came to flavour and texture. £5 for 2 burgers. Available from Waitrose.

Looking for meat-free alternatives? Complete your barbecue with our pick of the best vegan burgers and vegan sausages

What is wagyu beef?

Wagyu beef

Wagyu is a Japanese breed of cattle which has high fat marbling, giving it a unique, rich flavour and mouthfeel. It’s known for being one of the most expensive types of beef in the world because the cattle have to be reared and fed according to strict guidelines.

If you want to try a wagyu beef burger, you may have to search around as they aren’t widely available in all major supermarkets at the moment. 

The winning burger in our taste test, Finnebrogue, is the only beef burger we tested that’s made with wagyu beef. 

See our round-up of the best pork sausages

Beef burgers: food assurance labels

Beef cattle in field

Several of the beef burgers we tested don’t carry any food assurance labels. However, Aldi, Asda, Co-op and Tesco state the beef they use is Red Tractor certified, and Finnebrogue says it uses grass fed beef.

Higher welfare beef burgers are not always readily available in supermarkets, so you may need to buy from a butcher instead. If you can, it’s best to opt for RSPCA assured or organic beef where possible.

Watch the video below to find out more about how animal welfare standards compare for accreditation schemes including Red Tractor, RSPCA assured and Soil Association (organic).

Video: the animal welfare behind the meat you buy

Alternatively, see our guide on decoding food labels for more information. 

How we tested beef burgers

The products were assessed by a large panel of consumers who regularly buy and consume beef burgers. The make-up of the panel broadly represents the demographic profile of adults in the UK.

Each burger was cooked following pack instructions for best results. The panellists rated the taste, texture, aroma and appearance of each product and told us what they liked and disliked about each one.

The taste test was blind, so the panellists didn’t know which brand they were trying. The order they sampled the beef burgers was fully rotated to avoid any bias. Each panellist had a private booth so they couldn’t discuss what they were tasting or be influenced by others.

The overall score is based on:

  • 50% taste
  • 20% appearance
  • 15% texture
  • 15% aroma

Are burger packs recyclable?

Only some councils will accept plastic trays in household recycling waste, so it’s best to check beforehand. Make sure to give the tray a quick rinse to prevent contamination. Plastic film isn’t recyclable, so you’ll need to remove it before putting the tray in your recycling bin.

Some packs also have a cardboard sleeve, which you can put in your household recycling bin.

Prices correct as of 3 May 2022