Christmas 2015: Mince pie taste test
Twelve members of the Moneywise team tasted eight mince pies.
While the supermarket name was hidden from view, the team was told the price. They were asked to rate each mine pie on appearance, taste, and value for money. The team scored each of them from one to five, with one being poor and five excellent. Average scores were then calculated to reveal the winners and runners-up.
Eaten with tea, coffee or water, the testers generally found that the mincemeat filling in most was far too sweet – so much for the recent health warnings that too much sugar can be bad for you!
Pie of the Year
Confirming that you don’t have to pay a lot for quality, Asda’s Extra Special Luxury Mince Pies came top with a score of 3.4 out of five. It was described as having a “nice sugary top” with a thick pastry and a filling that was “quite fruity” with a “delicate” flavour. The team was shocked to find it was one of the cheapest sampled, priced at £1.25 for six, which works out at 21p per pie. On price and quality, this makes it the Moneywise Mince Pie of The Year 2015.
A close second was Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference All Butter Mince Pies, with an overall score of 3.2. But while one of the team described this pie as having a “good brandy flavour and excellent pastry”, another found it bland. When it comes to price, they were a bit of a letdown at £2.50 for six – at 41p a pie, twice that of Asda’s.
In third place was Marks & Spencer’s Christmas Star Mince Pies, which scored 3.1 out of five. These were easily the best judged on appearance, scoring 4.8 out of five.
Sharing third place with M&S was Tesco’s Finest Deep Filled Mince Pies. Testers were impressed as the filling had “a quite alcoholic edge”, but the pastry was bland and dry. It beat M&S on price, at £2 for six pies – 33p a pie.
In fourth place was Aldi’s Crumbly All Butter Mince Pies with Brandy Laced Mincemeat, which scored 2.6.
At the bottom of our taste test with similar scores of around two out of five were pies from Lidl, Waitrose and Morrisons. Lidl’s Favorina Mince Pies were criticised for their sparse filling and chemical aftertaste – but then they were the cheapest we sampled at £1.49 for 12 – 12p a pie.