MoneyAware taste test: It’s not easy being cheesy

posted by in Budgeting

selection of cheeses

Delicious cheddar!

What does cheese say when it looks in the mirror? Halloumi! Hallou-mi, get it?

Erm, anyway, you may have guessed, this week the MoneyAware taste testers are taking on the cheese challenge and as usual we will be trying out a premium, supermarket and basic option.

I’ve always had a close relationship with cheese (mainly because it’s delicious) but it wasn’t until I had to do my own food shop after moving out (sob) that I realised that this dairy treat could become quite costly. Accepting that I was well and truly in the real world now, I ditched the brie and moved onto the hard stuff.

Cheddar and Red Leicester quickly became a key part of all my budget meals; coincidentally these were the only budget options supermarkets tended to offer.

Cheese is a kitchen staple and it’s great when you’re shopping on a budget because it allows you to add some extra flavour to meals. Sometimes a quick meal of pasta and butter can be transformed by a sprinkling of cheese – a speciality in my kitchen!

Cheese is so important that there was once a whole Twitter account dedicated to cheese jokes. With that in mind, we’d better get on with the test!

The test

Just in case you missed our biscuit and chocolate taste tests I’ll give you a quick outline of what the test involves. The MoneyAware team sample each test subject and then confirm if they think the product is premium, supermarket or basic. Highly scientific I’m sure you’ll agree but hey, not all things need to be made complicated.

Subject A: Supermarket brand (£2.15 300g)

Laura: Hmm, this is potentially the premium brand as it’s nice and strong but not too rubbery.

Rory: The expensive one! It has a nice texture, a cheesy texture… that’s good for cheese!

Rachel: This is creamy and quite mature; I think it’s the premium.

James: Fairly strong and creamy, it’s a solid cheddar. I think this is the supermarket branded one.

Peer: I think this is the premium one because it has a crumbly texture!

Subject B: Basic (£2.00 300g)

Laura: That’s definitely the cheapest! Falls apart straight away and it doesn’t have much flavour.

Rory: More rubbery but still a good taste. About the same as the first for me, it’s nice.

Rachel: This is a bit bland; I’d say it’s the supermarket one.

Peer: This is the cheapest. It has a slightly rubbery texture. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s great for melting.

James: More rubbery texture, not quite as substantial and overall plastic-y. This is the basic.

Subject C: Premium (£3.50 350g)

Various cheese stacked up

Stacks of cheese

Laura: This is probably the mid option, it’s quite strong.

Rory: The cheapest, but it’s tough. They all taste ok to me!

Rachel: A bit bitter with a more bitter after taste, I think this is the cheap one.

Peer: A strong aftertaste but not necessarily the best. I think this is supermarket brand.

James: I quite like this one as it has a nice texture, it’s got a bit more cheese about it. It has the cheese factor. I’d say this is the premium one, just add some pickle and your set.

The results are in…

Well I’ll be edamed (sorry, I had to), it turns out no one really knows what they’re talking about when it comes to cheese! The results prove there was definite confusion over what cheese matched what category.

While the basic option did seem to have a bit less taste it had the benefit of a high melt-ability factor (yes that’s a thing, I just made it a thing). I expected most people to be able to spot the basic one, but surprisingly most people thought the premium cheese was actually the supermarket cheddar with only one team member identifying it correctly.

This could save you a lot of pennies on your weekly shop. I say, unless you’re having some kind of fancy cheese party with many cheese connoisseurs, you may as well go basic on this one!

Do you embrace the supermarket basic cheese or do you splash out on the premium cheddar?

Tags Budgeting
  • Allen

    Interesting test! I have to say that Cathedral City mature is my fave cheddar of any I’ve tried. There is almost always a ‘premium’ cheese on a 2 for 1 or half price offer, so in reality it doesn’t end up much more expensive than the cheaper versions.