The ultimate winter supermarket soup-off

Posted by Kati Auld on 29 May 2013

Buying pre-made soup is risky business. The best case scenario sees you eating dinner without having stirred or chopped a thing, which is pretty significant when the thought of gritty leeks has you looking sketchily at the carving knife. However, when pre-made soup is bad, it’s really bad, and forcing sourish gelatine down your throat when you’re already quite highly-strung is a recipe for disaster.

Luckily, the Getaway team have empty bellies, discerning palates and a healthy sense of curiosity, so we’ve kissed the frogs to bring you the princes of soup. In certain slimy cases, this metaphor is a little more apt than we’d care to recall.

Each of the nine soups was stripped of its branding, blind-tested and rated of a scale of 1 – 10 (1 being “I wouldn’t feed this to my dog” and 10 being “I shall never eat anything else ever again.” We’re all about moderation.) Here are the results:

Tomato Soup

 

1. Tomato and basil soup, Pick n Pay, R29.99

Ultimate Supermarket Soup-Off

Everyone agreed that this soup was very tomatoey, with one commenter saying it was more like a tomato pizza sauce than a soup. It did have a lovely colour and nice thick texture though.

Score: 5.7

2. Fresh creamy sundried tomato soup, Woolworths, R29.99

Ultimate Supermarket Soup-Off

You could tell that this soup was going to be the winner just by looking at it, as it had that lovely orange shimmer that comes with a good dollop of cream.  Much to the credit of the Getaway tasters’ palates, most people picked up on the sun-dried nature of these tomatoes. I would’ve liked it to be a little thicker, but that may be personal preference.

Score: 6.5

3. Guy’s gourmet Italian tomato soup, SPAR, R18.19

This soup did not fare so well. Some comments include, “I think I’m allergic to this taste,” “eew,” and “not magnificent”. I found it to be overly acidic, which is a bit of a beginner’s mistake (if you’ll excuse my high horse). What tomato-based recipe doesn’t involve a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down?

Score: 4.2

 

Leek and potato soup  

1. Leek and potato soup, Nourish with love, SPAR, R41.59

This was my favourite soup of the day, and the tasters agreed, calling it “creamy and smooth.”  This little company has only recently made the leap from farmstalls to supermarkets, and you can tell: it was the only soup that really tasted homemade. Deliciously rich and more-ish, it’s thick enough to make a “glooooop” sound when you decant it. It comes in a litre-sized jar, which makes up for its higher price (and really, do you ever need less than a litre of soup?) Their other flavours include Butternut and Bacon, Thai Sweet Potato, and Pea and Pesto, and I have a feeling I’ll know them well  by the time spring arrives.

Score: 7.1

2. Slimmer’s Choice: Creamy leek and potato soup, Woolworths, R17.95 for a tin

Ultimate Supermarket Soup-Off

Let’s think about it this way – do the makers of “slimming” products actually want you to lose weight? Of course not, they’d go out of business. So, their dastardly plan is to make food so tasteless that finally you’ll break and eat a week’s worth of croissants, and the ensuing guilt at your lack of resolve will keep you in the low-cal loop. That’s my theory, at least. Woolworths have surpassed themselves with this soup, which earned them the comment, “God, what is this?” The Pinelands branch doesn’t stock the full-fat leek and potato soup, but after this “sourish gelatine” escapade, I doubt I’ll be trying it out.

Score: 3.8

3. Guy’s Gourmet leek and potato soup, Pick n Pay, R23.50 for 500ml

This soup doesn’t even have a “slimmer’s” label to explain its lack of appeal. It managed to draw the same facial expression from every person who tasted it, and a wrinkled-up nose and turned-down mouth is never a good sign. I couldn’t isolate quite what the awful taste was, thinking perhaps that it was some herb I had a deathly aversion to, but the tasters had no such qualms, calling it disgusting, suspicious-looking, and horrible. We haven’t tested the entire range of Guy’s Gourmet soups, but from these two frogs, their chances of hiding a Soup Prince in their midst is looking slim.

Score: 3.4

Chicken Soup

 

1. Chicken Soup with Lemon and Tarragon, Pick n Pay, R26.99 for 500 grams

Ultimate Supermarket Soup-Off

First, it must be mentioned that our empirical research has uncovered this glaring fact: people have very diverse tastes when it comes to chicken soup. This soup’s rating ranged from “unappealing” to “awesome.”  There was a distinct coconut taste, and lots of big chunks of chicken: you’ll know whether these are pros or cons for you. You should certainly not be put off by the fact that it’s, well, ugly: it tastes much better than it looks.

Score: 5.9

2. Creamy Chicken Soup, Pick n Pay, R27.99 for 500 grams

Ultimate Supermarket Soup-Off

This was the winner, but by a very slim margin.  It was called “the best, classic chicken soup” and “very tasty: perfect for when you’re sick in bed,” and also “average.” It was certainly creamy, and a lot smoother than the alternatives. If you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser, this is probably your best bet.

Score: 6.5

3. Chicken Laksa, Woolworths, R36.95

Ultimate Supermarket Soup-Off

This was the controversial one. Someone commented that this was “more of a Simply Asia meal than chicken soup,” while another taster chose the vaguary of  “eventful.”  I thought it was delicious, but I’d eat a brick if it was simmered in coconut milk and Thai spices. Certainly, if you’re not scared of noodles, ginger or too much cream, you should love this.

Score: 6.3

What supermarket soups do you love? Please let us know in the comments!






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