Value for Money Christmas Special

Cranberry sauce

Marks & Spencer


As anyone who has ever been to Ballymaloe will know, the Allen family and their company know how to make very good food. This sauce does not disappoint. It is very thick, which is good, and the whole cranberries are nice. It is, perhaps, a little too sweet, but some people will like that. It is also likely to be the easiest of the sauces to source and has a reliability that many brands struggle to match.

Verdict: Juicy.
Star rating: ****


This is a "fine and proud" cranberry sauce which M&S promises is made with "tangy" berries. They are not wrong there: this is as tart a sauce as you are likely to come across. While most of its rivals have gone the gelatinous route, this has a very thin consistency – watery

might be a more honest way of putting it – which might trouble some people.

A tart choice.
Star rating: ***


This is an own-brand sauce that rivals – maybe even surpasses – the Ballymaloe brand. It is made by a west Cork producer, and stands as a shining example of how far own-brand has moved away from the dark days of yellow-pack rubbish. Like the Ballymaloe one, this sauce is very thick and made with plump, whole and very juicy berries. It is, however, a good bit cheaper, so represents better value for money.

Verdict: Berry good.
Star rating: *****



It's hard not to love a brand that whacks a lot of booze into its sauces. The port in this is hard to avoid and while on many levels that is to its credit, it does take over, which leaves the fruit struggling to get a look-in. It is not as thick as its Irish rivals and not as thin as its English cousin. There were no whole berries in the reviewed jar, which was a mild disappointment.

Verdict: Boozy.
Star rating: ****

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor