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Which strawberry jam is best?

We review strawberry jam from Aldi, Cottee’s, IXL and more.

woman_using_store_bought_strawberry_jam
Last updated: 15 July 2020

Strawberry jam, at its most basic, is just two ingredients – strawberries and sugar. But a good quality strawberry jam can elevate the humblest of scones. It's a popular ingredient choice for Victoria sponge, jam roly poly and jam drop biscuits. And spread on a slice of hot, buttered toast? It's the simplest of pleasures. 

So which store-bought strawberry jam tastes best? Is sugar-free strawberry jam worth buying? And where does the jam on our supermarket shelves come from?

We review 16 supermarket strawberry jams from brands including Aldi, Bonne Maman, Coles, Cottee's and Woolworths, and throw in a couple of home-made jams as well, to find out which products hit the sweet spot.

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Best strawberry jam

Our homemade microwave strawberry jam took top honours, blitzing the competition with 85% in our taste test.

But although strawberry jam may be easy to make, strawberries can be expensive when they're not in season. And, let's face it, you might not have the time or inclination (or suitable jars at the ready) to prepare a batch when you need it.

So if store-bought jam is more your, well, jam, here are the products that received an overall score of 70% or more.

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BEST STORE-BOUGHT: Beerenberg Australian Strawberry Jam

  • CHOICE Score: 75%
  • Price per 100g: $1.57
  • Good to know: This jam is 51% strawberries, and contains 99% Australian ingredients. It's also one of the more expensive products in our review.

Our testers say:

"Glossy, natural colour. Beautiful, strawberry/lemon aroma. Sweet strawberry flavour with some acidity. Lots of seeds."

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Aldi Grandessa Signature Strawberry Premium Jam

  • CHOICE Score: 74%
  • Price per 100g: $0.54
  • Good to know: Aldi's premium-tier jam is 50% strawberries, and is made in Belgium.

Our testers say:

"Rich, deep red colour. Light, pleasant strawberry aroma. Thick and chunky jam with evident fruit lumps. Can picture this on a great scone."

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Woolworths Essentials Strawberry Jam

  • CHOICE Score: 74%
  • Price per 100g: $0.28
  • Good to know: It's the cheapest jam in the test (along with the budget-tier jams from Aldi and Coles), is 40% strawberries, and is made in Belgium.

Our testers say:

"Dark strawberry colour. Pleasant, subtle, sweet strawberry fragrance. Good balance of sweet and acid. Nice strawberry chunks, which are the stars of this jam."

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Bonne Maman Strawberry Conserve

  • CHOICE Score: 71%
  • Price per 100g: $1.41
  • Good to know: One of the more expensive products in the test, this jam is 50% strawberries and made in France. 

Our testers say:

"Lovely bright, vibrant colour. Beautiful clean, fresh strawberry flavour. Not a subtle jam. Love the big strawberry chunks in this one."

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IXL Strawberry Jam

  • CHOICE Score: 71%
  • Price per 100g: $0.73
  • Good to know: It's 40% strawberries, and is one of just a handful of products in the test that's made in Australia.

Our testers say:

"Glossy, bright appearance. Lovely sweet, strawberry aroma. Nice sweet, strawberry flavour. Slightly acidic."

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Rose's Strawberry Conserve

  • CHOICE Score: 70%
  • Price per 100g: $0.77
  • Good to know: With 54% strawberries, this jam from New Zealand has the highest fruit content of all the jams in our test.

Our testers say:

"Glossy and jelly-like, with a natural-looking appearance. Pleasant strawberry aroma. Lots of fruit evident. A nice chunky jam that feels homemade."

Reduced-sugar options

For people who want, or need, to limit their sugar intake – and aren't keen to give up jam on toast for brekkie – we included two reduced-sugar options in our test. 

IXL Strawberry 50% Less Sugar contains 30% sugar, and Natvia 95% Less Sugar Strawberry Fruit Spread contains 5% sugar. The other jams in our test have an average of about 60% sugar.

So how did they taste?

They might be better for you nutritionally, but the reduction in sugar doesn't seem to do the flavour any favours – these products scored among the lowest in our taste test, and earned overall scores of just 41%.

You might get more enjoyment from choosing a full-sugar jam, and just having it as an occasional treat.

Where is your jam made?

Just five of the products in our test were made in Australia: 

  • Aldi Grandessa Strawberry Conserve. 
  • Beerenberg Australian Strawberry Jam
  • both IXL products. 
  • Natvia's Fruit Spread. 

But just because they're made in Australia, doesn't mean they're made from Australian ingredients. Only two contain a very high proportion of Australian ingredients: Aldi Grandessa at 90% and Beerenberg at 99%. The other three have less than 60% Australian ingredients. 

So where else does your jam come from?

  • Aldi's premium Grandessa Signature jam is made in Belgium, as are all three of Woolworths's products. 
  • Barker's, Cottee's and Rose's are made in New Zealand.
  • Coles products are made in Poland.
  • Bonne Maman and St Dalfour are made in France.

Jam jargon explained

Read the labels and you'll see that products in the 'jam' aisle are described variously as 'jam', 'conserve', 'preserve' and 'spread'. So what's the difference?

  • Jam is defined by the Macquarie Dictionary as: "a preserve of whole fruit, boiled with sugar and sometimes pectin, especially one in which the fruit is reduced to a thick pulpy consistency". In Australia, jam is also defined by the food standards code – to be labelled a jam, a product must contain at least 40% fruit.
  • Conserve is essentially the same as jam. Its dictionary definition is: "a preserve of whole fruit, boiled with sugar and sometimes pectin, especially one in which the fruit retains its shape in whole or in part."
  • Preserve is defined more simply as: "fruit etc that's prepared by cooking with sugar."
  • Spread is a catch-all label that's used on 'jam-style' products. Four of the products we tested are labelled 'spread', including the only product in our test to contain less than 40% fruit (Coles Strawberry Spread, which is 30% strawberries) and the Natvia 95% Less Sugar product, which contains reconstituted fruit juices and sweetener in place of sugar.
How to make strawberry jam in the microwave

Strawberry jam recipes 

Prefer homemade strawberry jam?  

We included two homemade strawberry jams in our taste test, both made by CHOICE home economist Fiona Mair.

One jam was made in the microwave to Fiona's easy recipe. It blitzed the competition, receiving a taste-test score of 85%. It cost about $5.30 for a 400g jar (or $1.30 per 100g) to make, although it would cost less in summer when strawberries are cheaper.

The other jam was made in a Thermomix according to its official recipe. The resulting jam was very runny, and Fiona had to add pectin to help it set. It received a taste test score of 66%. All up it cost about $5.60 for a 400g jar (or $1.40 per 100g). Again, it would be cheaper to make when strawberries are in season.

Make your own, using the recipes below.

Meet our expert taste testers 

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The home economist

In the years she's worked at CHOICE as a test coordinator, Fiona Mair has cooked more than 8000 scones, 4000 chickens, 3000 sausages, 1000 meringues and 500 pizzas, to test more than 3000 appliances. She develops the recipes for testing kitchen appliances, helps conduct food taste tests, and has judged coffee in the testing of coffee machines. She can now add strawberry-jam tasting to her CV.

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The strawberry jam lover

Jonathan Brown (JB) heads up CHOICE's communications team as senior media adviser. He enjoys turning a broad knowledge of consumer affairs into simple and accessible media commentary, with personal stories and practical advice to help Australians. He's also partial to scones with jam and cream.

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The food writer

Rachel Clemons writes predominantly about food and nutrition – from reviewing almond milk and testing the quality of olive oil, to dispelling myths about the benefits of weight loss teas and translating confusing food labels. She has run countless taste tests for CHOICE, and normally home testers, members of the public or experts are the guinea pigs. But Rachel was happy to (sugar) sacrifice herself on this occasion.

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How we test

Products

We tested 16 strawberry jam products that are available nationally in major supermarket chains. Price is based on jars 500g or closest bought in Sydney stores (not on special) in May/June 2020. 

Tasting

Our experts tasted the strawberry jam samples 'blind' (without knowing the brands).

Scores

Experts independently judged all strawberry jam products, scoring each sample for appearance, aroma, flavour and texture. The CHOICE Score is made up of taste 90% (50% flavour, 20% texture, 20% appearance and 10% aroma) and nutrition 10% (based on the Health Star Rating, calculated from the details in the nutrition information panel and converted to a percentage). We recommend products with a CHOICE Score of 70% or more.