Shoppers looking to cut costs amid the cost of living crisis do not need to compromise on flavour when it comes to baked beans, with cheap supermarket brands proving tastier and better-value options.
Asda baked beans came top of the pile, with joint cheapest Aldi coming a close second. Branston took third place, according to Which?.
Asda's own-brand baked beans “were a cut above all the rest for flavour” – three-quarters of our tasters thought they had the perfect tomatoey taste, the consumer body said. They were also some of the best rated beans for colour and sweetness.
Most tasters enjoyed the texture of the beans, although the sauce was thicker than some other tins we tested. Also, at £0.50 for 410g it is less than half the price of a Heinz can.
The products were assessed in February by a panel of people who regularly buy and eat baked beans. Each brand was assessed by 82 people. The overall scores were based on 50% flavour, 20% appearance, 20% texture and 10% aroma.
Aldi's own-brand Corale baked beans is Which?’s best value pick, scoring top marks for their appetising colour and texture. Although they didn't quite match up to Asda's beans on flavour, they were considered “a tasty option.”
These are the joint cheapest on test, and offer excellent value for money at only 45p for a (slightly larger) tin. You can also buy them as a multipack if you're looking to save even more.
Surprisingly, none of the branded beans tested – Branston, Heinz and HP – wowed Which?’s tasters.
“Branston beans scored highest, so could be worth picking up when they're on offer, especially if you like a bit of bite to your bean. Heinz trailed Branston, while HP was bottom of the pile,” Which? said.
Looking at supermarket baked beans, Sainsbury's and Lidl are the cheapest of the also-rans, but the prices don't vary wildly. Tin sizes differ slightly though, with Aldi, Lidl and Tesco giving the most beans for your buck with a 420g tin.
Here's what the panel of regular baked bean eaters had to say about each brand.
Co-op Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce – 73%. The texture of the beans and sauce were just right according to three-quarters of our panel. But more than four in 10 thought them too weakly flavoured and not sweet enough. 55p for 400g tin (£1.38 per kg).
M&S Baked Beans – 73%. These beans are pretty good across the board although 38% found the texture of the sauce too thin. 50p for 400g tin (£1.25 per kg).
Sainsbury's Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce – 73%. The thickness of the sauce was rated highly, but more than a third felt the tomato flavour wasn't strong enough and nearly a quarter found them lacking sweetness. 43p for 400g tin (£1.08 per kg).
Lidl Newgate Baked Beans – 72%. These split our panel. Half loved the flavour, but the rest found it either too weak or too strong. Most agreed that the texture of both beans and sauce was about right, though. 45p for 420g tin (£1.07 per kg).
Morrisons Baked Beans – 71%. Half of our testers found these beans lacked flavour and more than a third wanted them to be sweeter. The texture of both beans and sauce was good, though. 49p for 410g tin (£1.20 per kg).
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Tesco Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce – 71%. The beans themselves were a good texture, but some thought the sauce too runny and most found the flavour too weak. 50p for 420g tin (£1.19 per kg).
Waitrose Essential Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce – 71%. The texture of the sauce was just right according to most, but thought too weakly flavoured by nearly half our panel. Around a third also found the beans too firm and not sweet enough. 55p for 400g tin (£1.38 per kg).
Reena Sewraz, Which? retail editor, said: "Our latest taste tests reveal that supermarket own-label baked beans have beaten the established brands including Heinz, and the great news for shoppers is that the winning products cost less than half the price compared to the offerings from some rivals.
"Many households are looking for ways to cut their spending due to the ongoing cost of living crisis. Opting for supermarket own-label groceries is not only a great way to save money, but you often get tastier products as well."
A Kraft Heinz spokeswoman said: “Our loyal consumers are at the centre of everything we do, and we remain committed to providing them with tasty, nutritious and high-quality Heinz Baked Beans.”
Watch: Empty shelves at Tesco amid Heinz Baked Beans row over prices