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Banana bread review  

We compare pre-made and baking mix supermarket banana bread.

homemade banana bread on bench with bananas
Last updated: 21 May 2020

Along with sourdough starter and the viral dalgona coffee trend, making banana bread has become one of the most popular things to do during the COVID-19 lockdown.

But if you're finding it hard to find pantry staples such as flour and sugar in your local supermarket, there are other ways to get your banana bread fix. 

Here, we compare supermarket banana bread baking mixes and  pre-made options to find out which is the best value, which contains the most banana, and more. We also threw into the mix a homemade banana bread baked to our CHOICE home economist Fiona Mair's recipe

Banana bread baking mixes

(In order of price, low to high)

*Price per 100g as prepared

Coles Banana Bread Baking MIx

Coles Banana Bread Baking Mix

Price per 100g*: $0.54

Number of bananas needed: 2 (approx 250g)

Good to know

  • Cheapest overall (pre-made or baking mix)
  • Contains 87% Australian ingredients
White Mill Banana Bread Mix Aldi

White Mill Banana Bread Mix (Aldi)

Price per 100g*: $0.58

Number of bananas needed: 2 (200g)

Good to know 

  • Second-cheapest overall  
  • Contains 91% Australian ingredients
Greens Classic Banana Bread

Greens Classic Banana Bread

Price per 100g*: $0.63

Number of bananas needed: 2 (approx 250g)

Good to know

  • Equal third-cheapest overall
  • Contains 87% Australian ingredients
White Wings Banana Muffin mix

White Wings Banana Muffin

Price per 100g*: $0.64

Number of bananas needed: 0

Good to know

  • Only option that doesn't need fresh banana
  • Contains the least amount of banana of all products (5% dried banana)
  • Contains 90% Australian ingredients
Coles Gluten Free Banana Bread Baking MIx

Coles Gluten Free Banana Bread Baking MIx

Price per 100g*: $0.76

Number of bananas needed: 3 (approx 300g)

Good to know

  • Gluten-free
  • Contains 63% Australian ingredients
Woolworths Free From Gluten Banana Bread mix

Woolworths Free From Gluten Banana Bread

Price per 100g*: $0.80

Number of bananas needed: 2 (approx 250g)

Good to know

  • Gluten-free
  • Contains 63% Australian ingredients
  • Has the least protein (3.4g/100g)
  • Has the most saturated fat (12g/100g), which is half the maximum recommended adult daily intake
  • As prepared, makes the smallest loaf (780g)
Donna Hay Wholesome Banana Bread

Donna Hay Wholesome Banana Bread

Price per 100g*: $0.95

Number of bananas needed: 4 (about 1.5 cups)

Good to know

  • Most expensive baking mix 
  • Contains 98% Australian ingredients
  • As prepared, makes the largest loaf at 1250g
how to make banana bread

Fiona's banana bread (minus a few slices!).

Homemade banana bread

Price per 100g*: $0.63

Number of bananas needed: 4 (about 2 cups)

Good to know

  • Equal third-cheapest per 100g overall
  • Makes the second-largest loaf (970g)
  • CHOICE home economist Fiona says one of the benefits of homemade banana bread is you can add nuts and control the sweetness.

Pre-made loaf and slices

(In order of price, low to high)

Coles Banana Bread

Coles Banana Bread

Price per 100g: $0.76

Percentage of banana: 26%

Good to know

  • Contains 96% Australian ingredients
woolworths banana bread loaf cake

Woolworths Banana Loaf Cake

Price per 100g:  $0.82

Percentage of banana: 28%

Good to know

  • Contains 94% Australian ingredients
  • Of the pre-made options, contained the most amount of banana
The Cake Stall Banana Bread Slices Aldi

The Cake Stall Banana Bread Slices (Aldi)

Price per 100g: $0.90

Percentage of banana: 27%

Good to know

  • Contains 72% Australian ingredients
  • Tied for having the least sugar (19.5/100g)
Coles Banana Bread slices

Coles Banana Bread Slices

Price per 100g: $1.00

Percentage of banana: 26%

Good to know

  • Contains 93% Australian ingredients
Woolworths Banana Bread Slices

Woolworths Banana Bread Slices

Price per 100g: $1.00

Percentage of banana: 27%

Good to know

  • Contains 95% Australian ingredients
Coles Gluten Free Banana Bread Slices

Coles Gluten Free Banana Bread Slices 

Price per 100g: $1.56

Percentage of banana: 20.5%

Good to know

  • Gluten-free
  • Contains 38% Australian ingredients
Woolworths Free From Gluten Banana Bread

Woolworths Free From Gluten Banana Bread

Price per 100g: $1.56

Percentage of banana: 25%

Good to know

  • Gluten-free
  • Contains 72% Australian ingredients

Pre-made bars or muffins

(In order of price, low to high)

Coles Banana Muffins 4 Pack

Coles Banana Muffins (4 Pack)

Price per 100g: $0.80

Percentage of banana: 26%

Good to know

  • Contains 99% Australian ingredients
Coles Banana Muffins 9 Pack

Coles Banana Mini Muffins (9 Pack)

Price per 100g: $1.11

Percentage of banana: 25% 

Good to know

  • Contains 95% Australian ingredients
Woolworths Mini banana muffins 8 pack

Woolworths Mini Banana Muffins (8 pack)

Price per 100g: $1.16

Percentage of banana: 26%

Good to know

  • Contains 99% Australian ingredients
Coles Banana Muffin Bars 10 pack

Coles Banana Muffin Bars (10 pack)

Price per 100g: $1.19

Percentage of banana: 11%

Good to know

  • Contains 75% Australian ingredients
Woolworths Banana muffin bars 6 pack

Woolworths Banana Muffin Bars (6 pack)

Price per 100g: $1.20

Percentage of banana: 15%

Good to know

  • Contains 84% Australian ingredients
Soreen 5 Banana Lunchbox Loaves

Soreen 5 Banana Lunchbox Loaves

Price per 100g: $3.33

Percentage of banana: 9%

Good to know

  • Most expensive overall
  • Made in the UK (0% Australian ingredients)
  • Of the pre-made options, contains the least amount of banana
  • Has the most protein (8.1g/100g)
  • Tied for having the least sugar (19.5/100g)

Best-value banana bread

Baking mixes

The price we paid for baking mixes ranged from $1.79 (Aldi White Mill) to $7 (Donna Hay), and what you get for this is the dry ingredients (which commonly included wheat or rice flour, sugar, raising agents, cinnamon and flavour). 

Once we added the cost of the additional ingredients required*, like eggs, butter and bananas, we paid $4.86 for the Aldi mix while Donna Hay's set us back $11.90.

Of course, each recipe makes a different-size loaf, so for a fair comparison, we've calculated the cost of each product per 100g.

The Coles packet mix banana bread was the cheapest, at $0.54 per 100g, while Donna Hay's cost nearly twice as much at $0.95 per 100g. 

*As per Woolworths online shopping site in April 2020.

Pre-made banana bread products

The cheapest pre-made supermarket option was Coles Banana Bread loaf at $0.76/100g, while the most expensive was Soreen 5 Banana Lunchbox loaf at $3.33/100g. That's $1.77/100g more than even the second-most expensive pre-made options (tied), Coles Gluten Free Banana Bread slices and Woolworths Free From Gluten Banana Bread. 

Homemade banana bread

Making banana bread from scratch may not be as convenient as buying a mix or pre-made bread, but it tied with Greens Baking Mix as the third-cheapest overall option at $0.63/100g. A pretty good option, if you're prepared to put in a little extra elbow grease.

Quickest to make

With no preparation or baking required, the pre-baked options are obviously the most convenient of the lot for those of us short on time. 

Admittedly the packet mixes have an (ever-so-slight) edge over Fiona's homemade recipe for convenience. To make them you simply add a few extra ingredients (usually eggs, butter or oil, milk and mashed bananas), mix and bake. 

Fiona's recipe requires you to cream the butter and sugar before mixing in the other ingredients and baking, which adds 1 to 2 minutes to the prep time. And of course you also have to measure out the flour, sugar, bicarb and cinnamon.

The White Wings product takes just 18–20 minutes in the oven (understandable, given muffins are quicker to cook than loaves). The Greens, Coles Gluten Free and Aldi baking mixes need almost double that with 45–55 minutes in the oven. Woolies' gluten-free option takes a little bit longer (50–55mins) while the others (including Fiona's) take 55–60 mins to bake.

Banana, sugar and sodium content

Banana content

One of the best things about making banana bread, other than getting to eat it, is using up overripe bananas. If you have a glut of these, then Fiona's homemade recipe or the Donna Hay baking mix are your best options as they both require four bananas. 

The White Wings banana muffin baking mix contains 5% dried banana and you're not required to add fresh banana to the mixture.

Of the 13 pre-made options, nine contain 25% or more banana, with Woolworths Banana Loaf Cake containing the most (28%). 

Sugar content

Coles Banana Muffin Bars (10 pack), Donna Hay Baking Mix, Woolworths Banana Muffin Bars (6 pack) and Coles Gluten Free Baking Mix all list sugar as the first ingredient. 

Coles Banana Muffin Bars had the most sugar (as prepared), at 32g/100g. The Soreen and Aldi pre-made options had the least (19.5g/100g).

Sodium content

Donna Hay had the least amount of sodium (151mg/100g) while Woolworths' gluten-free baking mix had the most (482mg/100g).

NHMRC say foods with less than 400mg sodium per 100g are good, and less than 120mg per 100g is best. All of the options we looked at were higher than 120mg/100g, with six products over the 400mg per 100g recommendation.

Kilojoules in banana bread

NHMRC recommends a limit of 600kJ per serve for discretionary foods such as banana bread. 

When we looked at the kilojoules per serve (as prepared) we found 17 out of 20 supermarket options exceeded this, with five products containing more than double the recommended amount per serve:

  • The Cake Stall Banana Bread Slices (1420kJ)
  • Coles Banana Bread slices (1430kJ)
  • Woolworths Banana Bread slices (1460kJ)
  • Coles Banana Muffins (1570kJ)
  • Donna Hay baking mix (1580kJ)

The serving sizes ranged from 100 to 125g.

The products that did fall under the recommended guidelines – Woolworths Mini banana muffins 8 Pack (576kJ), Soreen 5 Banana Lunchbox Loaves (413kJ) and Coles Banana Mini Muffins 9 Pack (524kJ) – had smaller serving sizes of between 30 and 40g. 

Gluten-free

Of the products we looked at, the following are gluten free.

  • Woolworths Free From Gluten Banana Bread Baking Mix
  • Woolworths Free From Gluten Banana Bread Slices
  • Coles Gluten Free Banana Bread Baking MIx
  • Coles Gluten Free Banana Bread Slices 
choice staff tasting banana bread

Our taste testers hard at work in the CHOICE kitchen lab.

Banana bread taste test

In 2017, we compared banana bread made in our kitchen lab from Donna Hay and Adriano Zumbo's packet mixes with banana bread from White Wings, Lighthouse and Coles brand packet mixes, as well as Coles' pre-baked banana bread and a homemade banana bread from CHOICE home economist Fiona Mair.

Fifty CHOICE staffers munched their way through all seven samples in a blind tasting then, in true Masterchef style, voted for their favourite. 

While many of the products tested have since either altered their ingredients list or are no longer available, it's interesting to note that Fiona's homemade banana bread was a convincing winner at the time, receiving 42% of the votes. 

(Donna Hay's bread came in a distant second with 24% of the votes, while Adriano Zumbo's bread was least popular with just 4% of the votes.)

This preference for homemade echoes the current opinion of CHOICE staff. When asked which is the tastiest banana bread, 81% of staff polled said homemade is better than store-bought or bread made from a mix.

Comments included: 

  • "It's so easy to make and a good way to use up bananas that are getting on a bit."
  • "I can adapt it to what I have available (e.g. amount of ripe bananas) and other ingredients (e.g. nuts)."
  • "I find baking mixes add unwanted ingredients, or I might want to source a recipe that caters for a dietary preference. I also like the challenge of homemade recipes."

How to make banana bread

CHOICE home economist Fiona Mair, shares her recipe.

Ingredients

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 cup (175g) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups mashed banana (approx. 4 small)
  • 1¾ cup (225g) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 

Method 

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F) and grease and line a 21cm x 14cm (2 litre capacity) loaf tin.
  2. Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 1–2 minutes or until pale and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. This can be done by hand if you don't have an electric mixer
  3. Add the eggs and beat well to combine. Then add the banana, flour, bicarbonate of soda, and cinnamon, stir to combine.
  4. Spoon into prepared tin and bake for 55–60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  5. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Cut into slices to serve.

Makes approx. 970g loaf.