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I had a taste of own brand Coca-Cola and a discount supermarket

When it comes to Coke, is there anything better than the “real thing”?

Not in line with sales figures. Coca-Cola is still the UK’s leading brand, with sales expected to reach £229.4 billion in 2021.

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Can private brand cola live up to the real deal? We will find out
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For rival Pepsi, UK sales for the year were £38.1m.

One survey found that 84% of us admit to buying more soft drinks since the pandemic began.

But as costs rise, can we continue to pay for branded sodas, and are there any alternatives when it comes to this refreshing taste?

We’ve tested cheaper supermarket brands to see how they compare. Here’s the story:

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Serve Lidl's Coke and your guests won't be able to tell the difference9

Serve Lidl’s Coke and your guests won’t be able to tell the differenceCredit: Darren Fletcher

Winner: Lidl Freeway Cola, 47p

12 g of sugar per 250 ml

Lidl has done a great job here. It was, in my opinion, the closest to the “real thing”. It was the same color and carbonated as Coca-Cola and was my favorite.

You can easily serve this to guests and no one will know the difference.

This is the cheapest two-liter bottle you can buy (all prices in this article are for 2-liter bottles, except for Coca-Cola, which is sold in 1.5-liter bottles).

With 12g of sugar per glass, it’s not exactly healthy, but it’s less than half the amount in Pepsi or Coca-Cola, so it’s better for your bank balance and your waistline. Win win.

Taste: 9/10 Value for money: 10/10 Overall: 10/10

Overall score: 29/30

Asda cola has less sugar than the branded version9

Asda cola has less sugar than the branded versionCredit: Darren Fletcher

Asda Cola, 60r

12 g of sugar per 250 ml

A worthy runner-up, I was pleasantly surprised by Asda’s Coke.

If you give yourself some time to get used to the taste, you’ll soon think you’re drinking the real thing (it’s relatively sweet).

Like all private brands, it’s low in sugar, so it’s better for you, too.

Taste: 9/10 Value for money: 8/10 Overall: 9/10

Overall score: 26/30

Sainsbury's Coke packs a punch9

Sainsbury’s Coke packs a punchCredit: Darren Fletcher

Sainsbury’s Coke, 47p

12.1 g of sugar per 250 ml

Sainsbury’s own brand packs a strong, fruity cola punch.

It’s not a million miles away from the real thing, but maybe tastes a little closer to higher end brands like Fentiman’s.

I loved it and would buy again.

Taste: 8/10 Value for money: 10/10 Overall: 8/10

Overall score: 26/30

When it comes to cola, does it always have to be real?9

When it comes to cola, does it always have to be real?Credit: Darren Fletcher

Coke, £1.70 (1.5l)

27 g of sugar per 250 ml

If you want the real thing, you have to pay through the nose for it.

It’s £1.70 for a small bottle – you get a quarter less than the others.

However, I think the taste of Coca-Cola is hard to beat. It retains its fizz and is very refreshing to drink on its own or as a mixer.

This is bad news for both your health and your wallet, so it’s best to keep it as an occasional treat.

Taste: 10/10 Value for money: 6/10 Overall: 9/10

Total score: 25/30

Aldi's cola left a bad aftertaste9

Aldi’s cola left a bad aftertasteCredit: Darren Fletcher

Aldi Vive Cola Original, 47p

12 g of sugar per 250 ml

It had a very strong syrupy taste and unpleasant aftertaste. I didn’t like it.

It tasted more like Pepsi Max than the original Coca-Cola, so if that’s what you like, it might save you some money?

You can’t argue with the price tag of just 47p for a two liter bottle.

Taste: 2/10 Value for money: 7/10 Overall: 4/10

Overall score: 13/30

Tesco cola was watery and weak in taste9

Tesco cola was watery and weak in tasteCredit: Darren Fletcher

Tesco Classic Cola, 60p

11.7 g of sugar per 250 ml

The Tesco cola was much lighter than the others and tasted thin, watery and weak.

Needless to say, it’s the healthiest of the bunch with 11.7g of sugar per glass, compared to 28g in Pepsi or 27g in Coca-Cola.

But you can taste the added sweeteners. I would not buy this again.

Taste: 2/10 Value for money: 5/10 Overall: 4/10

Overall score: 11/30

Sweeter and almost more expensive than the real deal9

Sweeter and almost more expensive than the real dealCredit: Darren Fletcher

Pepsi, £2.20

28 g of sugar per 250 ml

I’ve never been a fan of Pepsi. It tastes sweeter than Coca-Cola and is almost as expensive.

I found it very heavy and not very refreshing to drink.

In blind tests for manufacturers, many people chose it as their favorite over Coca-Cola, so this may be a matter of personal taste. Pepsi is definitely not for me.

Taste: 4/10 Value for money: 2/10 Overall: 3/10

Overall score: 9/30

Morrisons cola looked promising at first but soon collapsed9

Morrisons cola looked promising at first but soon collapsedCredit: Darren Fletcher

Morrison Cola, 60p

12 g of sugar per 250 ml

When I opened the bottle, Morrison Cola had a great fizz, which at first seemed promising.

But a few minutes after I poured my glass, it looked and tasted smooth.

It was very light in color compared to Coca-Cola, almost like molasses, and it tasted thin and weak. It was recognized as a cola, but only just.

Taste: 1/10 Value for money: 3/10 Overall: 2/10

Overall score: 6/30

Judgment

Coca-Cola remains a popular favorite because it tastes better. There is something lighter, juicier and refreshing about it.

It didn’t win here because times are tight, money is tight, and it’s an expensive luxury.

If you want to save money on your grocery bill, definitely try Lidl Coke. That’s around £1.80 cheaper for two liters a pop, and if you buy a bottle a week, that’s a saving of over £93 a year.

I am also very impressed with Sainsbury’s. It tasted like the most luxurious, high-end options, but was priced right at Aldi these days.

Give it a try, if you like it, pick it up while it’s cheap. Big brands are not always good.

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Elsewhere, we’ve pitted supermarket fish fingers against their big-brand rivals to find out which ones are tastier.

In addition, here are five ways to reduce the cost of supermarket shopping.

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