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Coles vs Woolies: Plant-based Christmas roast taste test

The supermarket giants each have a plant-based alternative to the traditional Christmas roast, but do they taste any good?

christmas veggie roast woolworths vs coles
Last updated: 21 December 2020
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More Aussies than ever before are expected to tuck into plant-based alternatives this Christmas, as nearly 2.5 million of us are mostly or completely meat free.

Both Coles and Woolworths are catering to this growing group by offering a plant-based Christmas roast. 

To find out how tasty they are and whether these plant-based alternatives are something you'd actually want to serve as part of your festive feast, we put them to the test. 

We cooked up both options and asked 17 CHOICE staffers to assess them based on appearance, smell and taste. 

coles plant based christmas roast

Plant-based Christmas roast from Coles.

Coles Plant-Based Christmas Roast with Sweet Chutney

  • RRP: $12
  • Weight: 800g
  • Serves: 5
  • Health star rating: 4 stars

How tasty is it?

Eleven of our 17 triallists said they liked the taste, three loved it and three said they disliked it. Generally people commented on its soft texture said it was well-flavoured, but that it was closer to a meatloaf than a Christmas roast.

Here's what they had to say:

  • "Good mouthfeel. Chewy and has flavour. Sauce is a good addition." – Kim Gilmour, vegetarian.
  • "Odd aroma but texture is OK. Is actually quite pleasasnt, but would consider it more as a side than a main."  – Kate Bower, omnivore and meat lover.
  • "Subtle herby taste, texture is strangely soft. Unpleasant." – Jim Hook, vegan.
  • "Tastes a bit like a sausage roll." – Erin Farrugia, omnivore.
  • "Spongey and moist. I really liked this one! It was packed with flavour and had a lovely smooth mouthfeel. Herby and a chicken-like taste that wasn't offensive. Really lovely smokey sauce around it." – Genna Houteas, omnivore.
  • "Seasoned well but a confused texture. It has a long way to go before I'd be touching that on Christmas day." – Patrick V, omnivore.

Would you eat this as part of your Christmas feast?

Six of our 17 triallists said they would eat Coles Plant-Based Christmas Roast on the big day or as leftovers on Boxing Day. However, generally people thought it wouldn't compete with other festive dishes and suggested making a different vegan dish to serve instead.

woolworths plant based christmas roast

Plant-based Christmas roast from Woolworths.

Woolworths Plant-Based Christmas Roast with Cranberry Glaze

  • RRP: $15
  • Weight: 500g
  • Serves: 4
  • Health star rating: 4 stars

How tasty is it?

Thirteen out of 17 triallists said they disliked it, three liked it and one loved it. Generally people said they didn't enjoy the texture as it was too chunky and grainy.

Here's what they had to say:

  • "Smells and tastes like onions. Chewy texture but breaks apart fast in mouth." – Jim Hook, vegan.
  • "Appearance is good. Aroma is nondescript and it's flavourless with a grainy texture and floury aftertaste." – Denis Gallagher, omnivore.
  • "Tastes like compressed multigrain bread. Chunky stuff." – Matt Steen, omnivore.
  • "Flavourless, has a slight aftertaste but lacks oomph and seasoning." – Kim Gilmour, vegetarian.
  • "Tastes like rabbit food, or like I've licked the floor of a barn." – Jonathan Brown, omnivore.
  • "Has more of a vegetable taste than a 'meat' taste. Too grainy, not a smooth feel." – Melanie Stopic, omnivore.

Would you eat this as part of your Christmas feast?

Eleven of our triallists gave a firm no. Generally, people said there were tastier vegan options that they'd rather serve or eat on Christmas day.

taste testers trying veggie christmas roast

Our CHOICE taste-testers were a mix of vegan, vegetarian and omnivore.

Verdict

Overall our triallists preferred the taste of Coles' plant-based Christmas roast over the Woolies version.

However, if you're looking for a plant-based option for your Christmas spread, you might be better off trying a different product. 

Plant-based products have come a long way in regards to taste and texture, and this feels like a step backwards

Jim commented : "As a vegan, I was a little disappointed with both roasts. The flavours were OK, but the texture felt off the mark for both of these. 

"Plant-based products have come a long way in regards to taste and texture, and this feels like a step backwards. 

"I've been buying plant-based roasts from smaller businesses and retailers for years, there's no comparison between the two."

How we tested

Tasting 

We set up a blind tasting for 17 CHOICE staffers (a mix of vegan, vegetarian and omnivores/meat lovers). Each product was cooked in the CHOICE kitchen lab according to packet instructions. We then assigned each product a code and concealed its brand. 

Our tasters sampled them in a random order. For each sample tasted, people decided if they disliked, liked or loved it. A total of 34 samples were tasted and voted on across the two products. 

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