Brand Snob

BRAND SNOB: Tortilla Chips

This week we will be investigating tortilla chips (AKA Doritos) and finding out if its really worth the buck paying extra.

But first, as is always on this segment, lets take a brief trip back in time to discover the birth of the Tortilla chip. Originating from Mexico (shocking), the tortilla chip is a snack crisp time substance made from corn tortillas (equally shocking) which are then baked or fried.

FUN FACT: the original Doritos were made and sold in the early 1960s at Disneyland in California! It was here that Arch West, vice president of marketing of Frito-Lay at the time, and noticed their popularity and made a deal to produce them for the masses.

Meet the contestants (all prices are based on the ‘lightly salted’ flavour and an average sharing packet):

1. Doritos: Lightly Salted
Price: £1.98 for 180g pack (£1.10 per 100g)

Pros: These actually didn’t go down as well as the others. The testers praised their appearance for looking for even, appetising and orange in colour.

Cons: There were lots of complaints about the dryness of the crisp. They also, almost unanimously, agreed that there was not enough salt and this made the crips very bland. One contestant said she didn’t like it at all.

How much would they pay? 92p – I don’t even think they would buy the own brand Doritos if they were on offer, never mind full price – especially considering you get 20g less than the other two contestants.

2. Morrisons Lightly Salted Tortillas
Price: 88p for 200g pack (44p per 100g)

Pros: The testers agreed that these were saltier than the branded Doritos and this made the flavour nicer. They also liked the appearance, although admitted it differed to the first lot.

Cons: They noted that the texture was slightly less crunchy than they would have liked and noted this after trying the third lot.

How much would they pay? £1.03 – An easy 17% increase from the actual price to the expected price. Bravo.

3.  M Savers
Price: 46p for 200g pack (23p per 100g)

Pros: This was, by a long shot, the favourite amongst the three. They noted that the super cheap brand was the crunchiest and therefore had the best texture and was the most salted making it the tastiest.

Cons: The only thing that had to criticise was the lack of uniformity with the appearance. There weren’t many ‘dots’ on the chips and they were one-sided when they were.

How much would they pay? £1.09 – With a whopping 136% increase from the actual price and the expected price, the testers can get 4 packets of these for the price of one branded Doritos packet, which is ridiculous.

Nutritional Breakdown

nutrish tortilla-page-001Okay news flash….the own brand and the savers are EXACTLY THE SAME. According to the Morrisons’ website (where I get the nutritional values from) they contain exactly the same macros AND exactly the same ingredients.


The Great Brand Snob Tortilla Chip Awards

Best taste for money: M Savers

Having already established that not only do these crisps taste better than both the branded Doritos and Morrisons’ mid-range packet, but they are way way way cheaper and therefore deserve this award through and through.

Best for you: Doritos

This is debatable and the only reason I award this to Doritos is that their serving size is smaller (30g as opposed to 50g) therefore if you were eating a recommended portion sized you’d consume 146kcal as opposed to the 248kcal that is recommended on the other contestants. However, if you had 50g of Doritos you’d still be consuming slightly less (243kcal) and nutritionally they contain more fibre, less saturated fat, slightly fewer carbs and less salt. Ever so slightly the winners here (but again, I don’t think I’d pay an extra £1.52 to save myself 3 calories to be honest!).


Just to reiterate – DON’T BUY THE MORRISONS’ OWN BRAND WHEN M SAVERS IS EXACTLY THE SAME. I think it really depends on your preference – some people like Doritos’  slightly less salty flavour, however, amongst my five testers it was unanimous that the super cheap brand was the best!

Next week: Diet Coke!

Brand Snob

BRAND SNOB: Jaffa Cakes

Cake or biscuit…that is the question? But not the most important question however! Yes thats right, its the return of BRAND SNOB and this week we’re going to be looking at these ‘biscuit-sized cakes’ (as McVitie’s states they are) and seeing which cake takes the biscuit (expect many more puns) between McVitie’s, Morrisons’ own and M Savers!

So what is a jaffa cake?

A Genoise sponge base, followed swiftly with a layer of orange flavoured jelly, topped with a coating of dark chocolate. It was first introduced by McVitie and Price in 1927 and named after the Jaffa Orange. It was ranked the best-selling cake or biscuit in the UK in 2012. The funniest thing I came across when procrastinating from revision was that in 1991 there was a tribunal to see whether they were categorised as cake or biscuit to see whether VAT should be paid (as we all know, if a biscuit is covered in chocolate it should have VAT paid on it). ANYWAY, they taste nice so there we go.

Meet the Contestants…

1. McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes

Price: £1.19 per 12 cakes (pack sold in 12 or 24)

Generally these went down quite well, most of the testers liked the texture the best.

Pros: The testers liked the texture ratio – harder on the outside and soft on the inside and they commented that it was ‘very orangy’ which …. could be a good thing, if you like orange?

Cons: One of my testers was a Jaffa-Virgin so, for her, she commented that the appearance of the cakes was not uniform and didn’t liked the ‘chips at the side’. Others commented that there wasn’t a lot of jelly and the flavour was ‘not the best’.

How much would they pay? 75p – not too bad but still a decrease in the RRP.

2. Morrisons’ Jaffa Cakes

Price: 48p per 12 cakes (packs sold in 24)

The testers liked the Morrisons’ own brand, whose packing looks extremely similar to Jaffa Cakes and are sold in packs of 24 at 96p (still cheaper than a 12 pack of McVitie’s!)

Pros: They liked the fact the Morrisons’ cake had the most chocolate on it and it was the tangiest cake. They also commented on its ‘good colour’.

Cons: They rightly pointed out these were the smallest cake (at 12g compared to McVitie’s 12.2g and M Savers 13g) and also commented on the the flatness of the cake.

How much would they pay? 81p – a good turn out for the cakes (or biscuits…!)

3. M Savers Jaffa Cakes

Price: 38p for 12 cakes (packs of 12)

This was strangely the highest rated cake out of the three! They liked the texture, flavour and colour and ranked the price high!

Pros: The chocolate quality was liked and the darkish colour of the cake was appetising. The ‘strong’  flavour was also really liked by the testers.

Cons: One thing that was commented upon was the ‘doughy’ texture which one tester didn’t like.

How much would they pay? £1.01 – so yes M Savers has outdone itself here. With a miraculous 165% increase from the actual price to what they expected to pay, the testers will be happy to find out they can put their pennies away!

Nutritional Breakdown:

Based on 100g

jaffa nutrition-page-001

The Great Brand Snob Jaffa Cake Awards

Best Taste for Money: M SAVERS

As we’ve already established, M Savers are clearly the best for flavour and are well worth spending that 38p on! 

Best for you: McVitie’s

Only marginally, McVitie’s are one calorie more than M Savers but have the highest protein and fibre count and the least amount of fat – which is worth sacrificing an extra calorie for! 

Cake or biscuit? Okay so I think we’ve established that Jaffa Cakes are Jaffa CAKES but that doesn’t stop me from pronouncing MORRISONS’ as the most biscuit like and the ‘doughy’ M SAVERS as the most cake like – so take your pref!


The Jaffa Cakes tasted the best, looked the best and were, by far, the best value for money. There was no real competition. 

Notably, unlike my previous test on baked beans, there was no guesses as to which was which – maybe they knew which was the branded Jaffa, maybe they didn’t or maybe they didn’t care. Either way, most of the testers stated that they usually buy McVities’ Jaffa Cakes, so if they follow their taste-buds they’ll save a lot of money!


Next week: Tortilla chips!

Brand Snob

BRAND SNOB: Baked Beans

I was in Tesco with my friend the other day buying some food and she wanted to buy biscuits, specifically cookies. It had to be Maryland cookies though.

‘But they’re £1.50 a pack and Tesco’s own are 60p?’ I said. And by that I meant that the mid-range not the cheap cheap. She was appalled that I had suggested buying the own brand and went ahead and bought the Maryland ones despite the cost.

This got me thinking, if someone had put the Maryland packaging on the own brand cookies, would she have noticed the difference?

Hence this led to my new blog series: BRAND SNOB. Starting with baked beans, I am going to be testing five students over the next few weeks on a variety of products to see whether or not they can tell the difference and whether or not they care, if the cost is lower!

Meet the contestants (all prices are based on average sized tin)

  1. Heinz
    Price: 75p per tin (£1.81 per kilo)

This was clearly the brand favourite as all of the participants stated they only ever buy Heinz Baked Beans, despite the cost.

Pros: texture was described positively – ‘powdery’ (whatever that is supposed to mean) and ‘soft’ and the fact that the beans were apparently bigger was also commented upon.

Cons: the flavour was described as ‘bland’ from one of the participants who claims they only ever buy Heinz and another commented that they looked the same as 4 (which turned out to be the super cheap brand)

How much would they pay? 85p – despite the blind testing, Heinz did turn out to be the most preferred bean!

Bean Content: 51%

2. Branston
Price: 60p per tin (£1.46 per kilo)

Quite a few of the participants claimed not to like Branston at all due to it tasting more barbecue-y.

Pros: strangely was described as ‘soft’ and also ‘firm’…so which is it? The contestants liked the appearance – darker colour and more rich looking.

Cons: complaints that they tasted strange, saltier and one participant described them as ‘smokey’ which they didn’t like.

How much would they pay? 50p – hard look for Branston which was ranked amongst the worst of the Beans!

Bean Content: 51%

3. Morrisons’ Baked Beans
Price: 32p per tin (78p per kilo)

There was a lot of liking for these baked beans! A few contestants even commented that they thought they were Heinz!

Pros: Very soft and tasted sweet – which was more preferable to the Branston ‘smoky’ flavour. One contestant commented that they looked the best to eat.

Cons: There wasn’t many cons here but one contestant said they didn’t like the darker sauce.

How much would they pay? 73p – considering you can pick up a can for 32p I reckon Morrisons has outdone themselves here!

Bean Content: 53%

4. M Savers Baked Beans
Price: 23p (56p per kilo)

There was an overall consensus they these weren’t the best tasting beans on the table.

Pros: Appearance of the beans was good, despite the liquidy sauce, the actual colour was liked. They also were at a good softness level apparently..!

Cons: They were way too runny and the ‘bean to sauce’ ratio wasn’t up to scratch! (I didn’t know we could get so technical with beans). One person described it as ‘Spaghetti Hoop Sauce’ – personally I like that but hey ho, each to their own! They aren’t wrong about the ratio though – out of the 5 contestants it had the least amount of beans with just 45%.

How much would they pay? 41p – despite everything they still would pay almost double what it actually costs in the supermarket so I suppose thats a plus!

Bean Content: 45%

5. Eat Smart Baked Beans
Price: 32p per tin (78p per kilo)

These were the low fat version I threw in as a dark horse to see if they could taste the difference. As a lot of us (myself included) are blinded by ‘low fat’ products, sometimes its good to see what is actually in them and what they actually taste like!

Pros: The pro here would have been the ‘low sugar’ element…however in terms of tasting there was literally no positives.

Cons: Complaints included the light coloured sauce, the running/liquidy appearance, the ‘thick skin on bean’ and the watery and bland taste.

How much would they pay? 21p – hard luck diet bean, you’re out mate.

Bean Content: 50%

Nutritional Break Down
Based on 100g (serving size is recommended at 200g)


The Great Brand Snob Baked Beans Awards

Best Taste for Money: MORRISONS

At a miraculous 128% increase between actual cost and what they expected to pay – this is surely the best value for money – especially considering a few mistook it for Heinz!

Best ‘Bean for Bean’ Value for Money: M SAVERS

Despite the fact they didn’t actually like the liquidy texture – bean-for-bean this is definitely still the winner. Basically you’re paying 10.35p for the beans in this tin compared to Heinz where you are paying 38p for the beans in there’s. 

Favourite Bean: HEINZ

Okay so I’ve got to admit that by a very marginal percentage, Heinz was still the winner for flavour. I emphasise marginally though as Morrisons own brand was very close and its a lot cheaper.


Weighing in at 410g, with the biggest bean count per tin, the best value for money and the flavours and textures that were mistaken for Heinz, I have got to pronounce the winner as Morrisons own brand beans. 

Whether or not my contestants will change their mind about Heinz or not is another question. But for an additional 43p per can, would you go for Heinz again?

TOP TIP: This is a family secret – add a knob of butter, a splash of milk and a pinch of salt and pepper to your beans and cook on the hob for ten minutes – I promise they’ll be the best baked beans you’ve ever tried.

I’d love to hear what you think! Are you a Baked Beans Brand snob? Are there any foods you’d like putting to the test?

NEXT WEEK: Jaffa Cakes