Want the best olive oil? Then save yourself some money

Martin Hickman
Thursday 23 July 2009 15:54
Comments

Want the best olive oil? You can buy the tastiest extra-virgin for half the price in budget supermarkets, according to Which?

A blind tasting by a panel of olive oil experts found bottles at Aldi and Lidl were better (and far cheaper) than those at the Big Four supermarkets.

The consumer group described Aldi's Evoo and Lidl's Primadonna oils, at 33p per 100ml, as 'exceptional value', each receiving four stars, along with Waitrose's extra virgin oil, which costs 50p per 100ml.

Other supermarket and branded extra-virgin oils disappointed. With 'less depth', Tesco, Sainsbury's and Felippo Berio and Bertolli Original received three stars, while Asda and Napolini were 'below average' with two stars.

At 57p per 100ml, Marks & Spencer's and, at 46p per 100ml, Morrison's oils were bottom, marked 'leave on the shelf'.

Which? said: "You don't have to dig deep in your wallet to get good quality. Of the 12 supermarket and branded extra virgin olive oils our experts tasted, two of our best buys are from budget supermarkets and, per 100ml, they're by far the cheapest on test - giving them both 'exceptional value'."

The consumer group added that, no matter how good an oil, it had to be stored in a cool, dark place to avoid losing its freshness.

Its panel comprised Judy Ridgway, an international olive oil buyer; Sam Rosen-Nash, savoury grocery buyer at Fortnum & Mason; James Wierzelewski, executive chef at Harrods; and Adam Byatt, head chef and owner of Trinity restaurant in Clapham, London.

Tasting the oils without knowing which brands they were, they described Lidl's Primadonna oil as "a delicate oil that's ideal for everyday use" and praised Aldi's Solesta Evoo's "enticing" fruity smell.

Among their less favoured bottles, Carapelli's oil tasted of "stale nuts", despite costing 84p per 100ml, while mid-price M&S's oil was "old" and Morrison's "fusty".

Lidl said the tasting accorded with the popularity of its oil. "Sales of our Prima Donna extra virgin olive oil have gone through the roof over the last few months. This accolade shows what shoppers have known for a long time, at Lidl you get premium quality products without the premium price," a spokesman said.

Paul Foley, group ganaging director of Aldi UK and Ireland, said the taste test showed it was "successfully offering leading quality products at prices significantly less than the recognised brands."

Marks & Spencer made no comment.

Morrisons said: "We are clearly disappointed with the Which? findings in this report as we constantly review our range with a view to improving value and quality. We are already re-testing and reviewing this product with our supplier."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in