Sunday Times Food Awards

Which supermarket makes the yummiest potato bake?

Here's where our taste testers suggest you head when you'd like to pick up a mouthwatering ready-made side dish

18 March 2018 - 00:00 By Hilary Biller
Potato bake always goes down well when you're catering for a crowd.
Potato bake always goes down well when you're catering for a crowd.
Image: 123RF/iuliian

HOW WE CONDUCTED OUR TASTE TEST

IT'S FREE AND FAIR!

Taste is a subjective thing, but when you gather a group of experts and ask them to blind-taste ready-made potato bakes from three major supermarkets, you have a fair way of assessing quality.

For this taste test, the judges were Professor Gerrie du Rand of the Department of Consumer and Food Sciences at the University of Pretoria and 30 of her final-year students.

Using the facilities at the department, the products were unwrapped, numbered and where prepared exactly to package instructions. The students were asked to judge each product according to appearance, aroma, taste and texture, as well as to say whether they would consider buying it.

What is interesting is that there is always a clear winner in each category and the comments reflect similar sentiments.

From top to bottom: Potato bakes from Pick n Pay, SPAR and Woolworths.
From top to bottom: Potato bakes from Pick n Pay, SPAR and Woolworths.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

THE RESULTS

FIRST PLACE: PICK N PAY

Potatoes baked with cream and caramelised onions

Price: R39.90 for 850g

What the judges said:

  • Jessica: Very creamy, tastes a bit like French onion soup.
  • Claire: A bit sweet but very nice and creamy. Tastes a little artificial though.
  • Lethabo: Texture is consistent, flavour nice. I will definitely buy this brand.

SECOND PLACE: SPAR

Freshline potato and onion bake

Price: R46.99 for 850g

What the judges said:

  • Jessica: I don't like the flavour of the spring onion but of all the samples, the most aesthetically pleasing.
  • Sofia: Topping delicious but should have more sauce.
  • Zeenat: Fair product but could do with more cheese.

THIRD PLACE: WOOLWORTHS

Potato bake with sweet caramelised onion

Price: R49.99 for 1kg

What the judges said:

  • Paige: It's too dry and has no flavour.
  • Monique: This tastes like the soil the potatoes come from. Slices are very big.
  • Chere: This is why I don't eat potato bake - not creamy at all, potatoes taste raw with no flavour.

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