If there is one item that is a regular on pretty much every person’s shopping list across the country, it’s a bottle of milk.
Whether you need it for your morning cuppa, to splash into your cereal or just for drinking from a cold glass, it’s one of those fridge staples that you’ll need at some point.
Not only is milk an increasingly versatile product, but it also comes in a variety of different forms – from whole milk, to semi-skimmed to skimmed, there is a lot that you can choose from.
Like so many other household staples – such as coffee or baked beans – supermarket’s have been offering their own-branded versions to compete with the likes of bigger branded names.
And, while the likes of Cravendale and Graham’s are delicious, sometimes it’s a supermarket’s own version can be just as nice and a little bit cheaper as well.
So, which supermarket is the best for the fridge staple?
Well, that’s what Sam Honey, a reporter from Kent Live, made it his mission to find out after picking up four bottles of milk from different major supermarkets.
According to Sam, whole milk can be too heavy while skimmed is too watery, which is exactly why semi-skimmed is the go-to choice as it “offers the best of two worlds.”
So, to find out which supermarket was offering the best own-branded semi-skimmed bottle of milk, Sam picked up bottles from Iceland, Tesco, M&S and Aldi.
Here is what he thought of each of his dairy fixtures…
First up for the challenge was the popular frozen supermarket, Iceland.
For this one, Sam had to pick up a single pint of milk as they were the only supermarket not offering 2 pints, which he thought would be the most commonly bought size.
As far as he was concerned, Iceland’s milk was rather ‘impressive’ and ‘balanced’ for a bottle of semi-skimmed – and good value considering a 2 pint bottle would only cost 89p.
He said: “One of the main things that can go wrong with semi-skimmed is getting the balance right, don’t want things too watery or too full, and Iceland got the balance perfectly.
“A quick taste test and I really was reminded of the flavors found in the likes of Cravendale, not quite exact but definitely similar, so we’re off to a great start here.”
After the impressive first offering from Iceland, next up was the popular budget supermarket Aldi, who are known for providing good quality with low prices.
Despite the supermarket’s reputation, Sam has said that his experience with the grocer has been very “hit or miss” and this looked to be more of the former once again.
“Sometimes they absolutely knock it out of the park and deliver truly surprising quality at a discount price – other times I’ve been left feeling like I should have just paid that little bit extra for better quality elsewhere,” the reporter said.
Aldi’s bottle of milk also cost 89p – the same as Iceland’s – but the taste was a little more ‘underwhelming’ as didn’t manage the balance that he was looking for.
“It was by no means bad, but for my own personal tastes, not exactly what I was looking for.
“When looking at the price it would be hard to justify buying this over Iceland’s offering for the exact same amount of money.”
After the underwhelming offer from Aldi, it could only go up from there with the next supermarket on the list, Tesco.
The British supermarket is well-known among families for providing good value, which was, hopefully, going to be the case with their dairy choice.
Similar to the previous two bottles, Tesco’s milk also came in at 89p, so it was all down to the taste to see how it sets it apart from the rest.
According to Sam, Tesco was definitely ‘an improvement’ on Aldi as it was almost identical to the number one choice so far, Iceland.
He said: “It was a definite improvement on Aldi’s, and was almost identical to Iceland’s, perfectly balancing the flavors and keeping the optimal consistency.
Those two are now neck and neck, so it is down to our last choice of the day to see who will come out on top.”
Marks and Spencer
When it comes to own-branded products, is there any other supermarket that is as synonymous with good quality as M&S?
While you may be paying a little more than you would in other supermarkets, the higher prices are usually justified as they deliver on the goods.
But, was that the case with their bottle of semi-skimmed which came in at just 90p?
From Sam’s challenge, it looks like M&S continue to deliver on their promise as the 1p dearer bottle of milk was the superior choice for their dairy.
Sam said of M&S semi-skimmed: “Simply put, M&S blew the other two out of the water, tasting near identical to the likes of Cravendale.
“This really was a delicious glass of milk, and would be perfect for all things from cereal to tea.
“Safe to say, that extra 1p really did make all the difference.”
One of the main things that you can take away from Sam’s milk test, is that a really good quality bottle of dairy shouldn’t break the bank.
As Sam found out, M&S may have been just 1p more expensive than the other three supermarkets, but it made all the difference as it was easily the best of the bunch.
Iceland and Tesco were not too far behind with their options, as they both managed to be a good balanced semi-skimmed.
Unfortunately, Aldi fell a little short for Sam, but he did say: “there’s always something great around every aisle in the budget supermarket so I’m sure I’ll be back there very soon.”
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