Pricewatch: Sugar, price and all things nice


Fentimans Victorian Lemonade €2.35 for 275ml; €8.54 per litre

Hasn’t lemonade got fierce fancy altogether? And you’ll not find many more fancy options than this. It is “botanically brewed” or so the bottle tells us. We had no idea what that meant so we looked it up and, according to the people who make this, Thomas Fentiman’s original recipe “involved milling ginger roots before putting them into copper steam-jacketed pans and leaving them to simmer to release their flavour”. Which is all well and good but what we want to know is whether he charged this price for it. It is wildly expensive and you’d want very deep pockets to make this a regular treat. At 8g of sugar per 100ml it has the lowest sugar level of all the brands that have sugar and it has a lovely lemony kick with just a hint of ginger in the mix.

Verdict: Nice but pricey

Star rating: * ** *

San Pellegrino Limonata €1.30 for 330ml; €3.93 per litre

By our reckoning this is the best lemonade on the market in Ireland right now. It has a lovely balance of sweet and sour, the carbonation is just right and if you want something to quench your thirst on a summer’s day – and surely they must be coming – then you won’t go wrong with this. It also feels vaguely more healthy than other soft drinks on the market (although we are aware we are most likely deluding ourselves on that score, with a single can containing almost 30g of sugar). So while it is lovely, and not excessively expensive, it is the kind of thing that is best enjoyed only occasionally.

Verdict: Lovely

Star rating: * * * * *

Club Lemon €1.75 for 500ml; €3.50 per litre

You can’t beat the old favourites. This is a very old school product that has been on the shelves in Ireland for a very long time and while it is a long way from the high-end options made with Sicilian lemons and botanically brewed ginger root and the like, it does a pretty good job. When compared to its rivals, it tastes very sweet which isn’t much of a surprise as there is 12g of sugar per 100ml so a bottle will give you 60g of sugar which is half the GDA for an adult man and almost all of the sugar allowance for a child. Sugar issues aside, it is a fine product and while the price we paid seemed excessive, we reckon it can be found for less in bigger supermarkets than the one we bought it in.

Verdict: Old school and sweet

Star rating: * * *

Sparkling Ice €1.60 for 500ml; €3.20 per litre

This wins the value for money prize and also wins the calorie-counting prize with just 12 calories in each bottle. There is a minuscule amount of sugar in this and added vitamins, including D and a couple of Bs. Consumed cold on a hot day it will probably be grand and it will certainly come with an added feel-good factor but, to be honest, we found the taste of the artificial sweeteners a little off putting. It is something we would use to quench our thirst and we can see ourselves buying it again, but it is not something we would particularly enjoy.

Verdict: Sadly healthy

Star rating: * *