Taste & Tell

Which supermarket's festive bird should be the star of your Xmas feast?

To help you buy the best, we rated poultry roasts from major retailers out of 10, and gave them a score for convenience too

17 December 2019 - 17:58 By Hilary Biller
From left, festive birds from Checkers, Woolworths and Pick n Pay.
From left, festive birds from Checkers, Woolworths and Pick n Pay.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann


It's free and fair!

Preparing a festive feast for a crowd can be stressful, but luckily supermarkets are making things easier with an array of tasty ready-to-cook and heat-and-eat poultry options. With this in mind, we not only gave each bird an overall rating out of 10, but a score for convenience too.

To make our tastings fair, we strive to find similar products from all the stores involved. In this case, one retailer did not have a ready-made chicken option, so we prepared one of their turkeys from scratch. 

The products were stripped of their packaging and, if required, prepared to package instructions before being presented to a panel of judges for a blind tasting.

Food expert Jenny Kay oversaw the process in the kitchen. Auditor Jade Craig oversaw the entire process and tallied up the judges' score sheets.



Cooked, stuffed, partially deboned chicken roast with sachet of glaze in re-usable baking tray so no dirty dishes

Price: R189.99 for 1.3kg

Convenience: 10/10

Overall rating: 7/10

What the judges said:

  • Brunette: The appearance is standard although there's an amazing natural aroma from the herbs in the stuffing.
  • Linda: Not visually enticing but lovely aroma. Very tender and stuffing added greatly to taste. Delicious.
  • Lefa: First impression: I would not be caught near this chicken, it doesn't look appetizing. Second impression: there's a whole explosion of flavours with hints of sweetness, some herbs and good texture. My tongue is having a taste adventure.


Ready-to-cook deboned smoked chicken with savoury brine-based blend

Price: R144.99/kg

Convenience: 9/10

Overall rating: 6.5/10

What the judges said:

  • Adam: Nice subtle aroma, tender but a little bit on the dry side. The taste is good but doesn't live up to aroma, a bit of a one-dimensional taste.
  • Michele: Lovely smoky aroma and taste.
  • Julie: The smoky flavour is good but I found it a bit dry.


Frozen turkey; cooked from scratch

Price: R59.99/kg

Convenience: 0/10

Overall rating: 6/10

What the judges said:

  • Jenny: Nicely roasted and juicy but the idea of preparing a whole bird with the possibility of no electricity thanks to load shedding puts me off.
  • Lucy: It scores on taste and tradition but not on the hassle of defrosting and preparing it.
  • Tanya: I'd rather be having fun so although tasty I don't think I'll be spending the time cooking.