Value For Money

Tue, May 29, 2012, 01:00

Cola

Pepsi Max €2.39 for 2 litres

This came second in our blind taste test and was a long way ahead of the cola drink which finished in third place. It is grand and refreshing and retained a little bit of fizz for quite some time after it was poured into a glass. The trick with diet drinks is to make them taste sufficiently sweet without ruining the flavour with the artificial sweetener aftertaste. Pepsi have almost pulled it off and we were nearly convinced we were drinking a full-fat cola, almost but not quite.

Verdict:Lacks the Max factor

Star rating: ***

Sun Sip €0.55 for 2 litres €0.28 per litre

This is ridiculously cheap. Unfortunately, it tastes it. The best thing we can say about it is that, in our blind taste test, it did not finish last. However, words that came to mind as we swilled it round our mouths like it was some class of fine wine were “flat”, “sickly” and “horrible”. Yes, yes, yes, it may be cheap, but does it represent good value for money? It most certainly does not. It had a sharp and unpleasant after taste and a single glass of it left us feeling decidedly cross.

Verdict: Cheap but grim

Star rating: **

Coke Zero €2.29 for 2 litres €1.15 per litre

This is marginally cheaper than its most bitter of rivals but, by our reckoning, it is quite a bit further ahead when it comes to taste and fizz. This finished on top in our Cola Challenge, and even blindfolded it was easy to tell this was a quality product – well, in so far as any sugar-free cola drink can be described as quality. The people at Coke have applied a steady hand with the sweeteners – it is sweet without being cloying and the artificial flavours not so pronounced. It had the most long-lasting fizz and was the most refreshing, although if we were to be entirely honest, we’d still prefer the sugary version.

Verdict: It's it

Star rating: ****

Tesco €0.49 for 2 litres €0.25 per litre

This is the cheapest Cola drink we were able to find but also the most pointless. Describing this as the most revolting thing we have ever tasted might be overstating it somewhat (that dubious honour goes to some Polish pate that still haunts our dreams), but it is certainly in the top 10 worst products we have ever reviewed. It looks more watery that its rivals, tastes too strongly of artificial sweeteners, is kind of flat and about as refreshing as a cement block. It is, in short, a perfect illustration that there are some products stores should not bother making.

Verdict: Why?

Star rating: *

Freeway Cola Light, Lidl €0.55 for two litres, €0.28 per litre

We have two questions for Lidl. Why did they bother making this? And why did they bother “nutrition information” on the bottle? There is absolutely nothing by way of nutrition in this bottle and little by way of refreshing, fizzy cola flavours either. Despite the fact that there is no sugar in the cola, it tastes way to sweet and the artificial sweetener aftertaste lingers way too long. It is cheap though and on a very hot day there are worse things your could neck – such as the Tesco alternative.

Verdict: Not a delight

Star rating: **