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'I compared McVitie's Jaffa Cakes against Lidl, M&S and Asda own brands - and one 85p pack was double the quality'

By Rachel Williams

It's the tangy bite-sized snack that pretty much every single household in the country has in their cupboard.

Let's face it, how many times have you opened up a box of Jaffa Cakes with the intentions of only having a few, but then end up finding the box empty?

The correct answer is all the time. Anyone who says they can't demolish an entire box of these tasty sponge cakes is, quite frankly, lying to themselves.

Also, if you didn't whisper "full moon, half moon, total eclipse" with each one because of THAT advert, then you are doing it all wrong.

With their light-as-air sponge, milk chocolate topping and zingy orange jelly, these popular snacks have been delighting snack fans across the country since the 20s.

Not only have they been delighting fans, but they have also been the subject of the hotly debated cake or biscuit argument. Personally, I am in favour for the cake answer, but there is always another day for that debate.

And when it comes to these fancy little snacks that you can eat in one go, there is only brand that is the ultimate king - McVitie's.

I could demolish an entire packet of Jaffa Cakes if I wanted to (Rachel Williams)

Or, are they?

The UK confectionary brand first introduced these tasty tarts back in 1927 and, as the old saying goes, the rest is history. Honestly, I can't remember a time when these tangy treats where not in my cupboard. I even get the big massive tube sized ones at Christmas.

Since then, McVitie's has introduced quite a few unique flavours that has included everything from passionfruit to cherry, but I'm a fan of the classic chocolate orange flavour. And so are quite a few supermarkets who have all tried their hand at their own Jaffa Cakes.

But are they any good and can they live up to the mighty McVitie's?

Well, there was only one way to find out. I visited Asda, Lidl and M&S, where I picked up their own-branded Jaffa Cakes and, after devouring quite a few, I came up with some interesting results.

What Jaffa Cakes did I try?

Some of the Jaffa Cakes tested had double the amount of cakes in the box compared to the original (Rachel Williams)

Jaffa Cakes are one of those snacks that has branched out into various different flavours. Even M&S' own versions have different flavours, such as raspberry and passionfruit.

As tempting as they all are, there is only one flavour that has stood the test of time - the original chocolate orange. Also, chocolate orange is an absolute banging combination, so I know I won't be disappointed.

Now, if you notice something interesting about the prices, then don't worry, as I will get to that later.

These were the Jaffa Cakes I picked up and their prices.

  • McVitie's Jaffa Cakes - £1
  • Asda Jaffa Cakes - 55p
  • M&S Jaffa Cakes - £1.25
  • Lidl Tower Gate Jaffa Cakes - 85p

McVitie's

Price: £1 for 10 cakes

McVitie's are the O.G cake (Rachel Williams)

Starting out with the O.G of Jaffa Cakes and it was not a disappointment - it never is, if I'm honest.

This little guy may look small but McVitie's iconic little cake has always packed a punch full of flavour.

The sponge is light and the bitter chocolate and sweet orange flavour make just the right tang in your mouth. There's also a decent amount of chocolate on the top of the cake itself.

Overall, this is still an iconic flavour that is going to be hard to beat.

Rating: 5/5

Asda

Price: 55p for 12 cakes

Asda's were slightly stale (Rachel Williams)

The first supermarket's Jaffa Cakes to go against the original was the popular supermarket chain Asda - so, no pressure on them then.

Honestly, Asda has been surprising shoppers with their own-branded products for quite some time. And at 55p for a pack that contains two extra

So, how does their Jaffa Cakes fare?

My first impression was that they look very similar to McVitie's, but nearly all of the cakes had broken and crumbly chocolate. It was a small thing to notice, but it did annoy me.

After taking a bite, I had a few thoughts. First thing, the chocolate and the orange work really well together for that tang I have come to associate with the cakes. However, the sponge itself wasn't light or air, it was just a bit more on the staler side and that was its downfall for me.

It's not the worst cake I have tried, but it's not enough to overtake McVitie's.

Rating: 2.5/5

M&S

Price: £1.25 for 11 cakes

M&S' were more expensive but not as good as the original (Rachel Williams)

These weren't just any Jaffa Cakes, they were M&S Jaffa Cakes - I am sorry, I can't resist the joke every single time.

On to the real talk here, though. M&S is the supermarket synonymous with exceptional quality, so I was expecting good things. Also, at 25p more than the original brand, they have set their own expectations here.

So, do they meet the expectations?

The answer is almost.

M&S' little oblong shaped cakes may look peculiar for a Jaffa Cake, but they are so close to McVitie's. The sponge is light and airy and they have a lovely thick layer of chocolate on the top.

The only slight nitpick I had was that the orange jelly inside was slightly lacklustre. You could tell it was orange, but it didn't pack the same zingy punch that McVitie's does. It was also a little on the thinner side, whereas McVitie's, despite being small, is still a decent mouthful.

Overall, not bad, but maybe not fully worth that extra 25p.

Rating: 3/5

Lidl

Price: 85p for 24 cakes

Lidl's packed a surprising punch (Rachel Williams)

Last up on the Jaffa Cakes test today was everyone's favourite discount supermarket, Lidl. As far as own-branded items go, not many are doing it quite like Lidl.

As for me, they can usually be a hit or a miss. I sometimes find that you get what you pay for.

And that absolutely was not the case this time round.

The sponge? Light as air and was like eating a bouncy cloud. The chocolate? Smooth and evenly coated. The orange jelly? Delightfully tangy and left a little zing in the mouth.

Honestly, everything about this little cake worked well to create that iconic Jaffa Cake flavour and, for such a small cake, they were definitely a little moreish.

The only thing I can criticise about Lidl's Jaffa Cakes is the size, as it was arguably the smallest out of the bunch. However, don't let that fool you, as they certainly packed the iconic flavour that the other's just slightly missed out on.

At jus 83p for a huge pack of 24 cakes, the supermarket continues to live up to their "Lidl on Price, big on quality" motto.

Rating: 5/5

Final thoughts

Lidl's cake may be smaller, but it matches on taste (Rachel Williams)

If you're after a delightfully tasty Jaffa Cake that is similar to the iconic McVitie's, then Lidl's Tower Gate 24 Jaffa Cakes are arguably the answer.

On both price and taste, the budget supermarket's little cakes managed to come up trumps in this taste test. I mean, you're getting over 50% more for almost 20p less. You can't argue with that - or, I certainly couldn't find a reason to.

The real answer is, would I swap my usual McVitie's pack for Lidl's?

Honestly? It's difficult to call. McVitie's Jaffa Cakes are still exceptionally flavourful, but they certainly have some strong competition from Lidl.

M&S's oddly shaped Jaffa Cakes are worth a mention, but I personally found that they didn't justify the extra 25p. I mean, you only get one extra cake compared to McVitie's and they don't measure up in taste.

Asda's were a case of ' you get what you pay for', as their 55p cakes were just a bit on the staler side.

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Dive Deeper:
We tried value digestive biscuits from Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and one pack beat McVities
Swapping to value options doesn’t mean you should miss out on a tasty treat
New 'yuck' Marks and Spencer bread rolls have shoppers divided
One shopper said: “Double yuck.”
The value items sold at Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Aldi that have seen up to 30% price rise
As part of latest research, the prices of value items were compared between April 4 and May 2 - showing…
Two major supermarkets work out cheaper than Aldi and Lidl for products we all use
Our weekly comparison is keeping track of the cost of essentials such as bread and milk at Asda, Aldi, Lidl,…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
I made the platinum jubilee pudding … and what a faff it was
It’s fit for a queen and it looks magnificent, but the anointed trifle takes hours to perfect
Quality Street is launching two sharing bars of the purple and orange confections
The new chocolate bars will be available in stores nationwide from the beginning of September
Get all your news in one place