Blind taste test reveals the BEST coleslaw to serve with your barbecue (and it IS worth spending more on your side dishes)

  • Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI) experts tested 12 different own-brand items
  • They ranked Waitrose’s Deli-Style Coleslaw and M&S’s Traditional Coleslaw top
  • Tesco’s 30p Everyday Value Coelslaw was ranked worst, with a score of 32/100

A barbecue wouldn’t be complete without it, but coleslaw can vary dramatically in quality, a new investigation can reveal.

Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI) experts have conducted a blind taste test of 12 different coleslaws from seven different supermarkets and found that some creamy mayonnaise-based salads are vastly superior to others.

Joint top of the list are two of the most expensive raw-cabbage based side salads on shelves from high-end supermarkets Waitrose and M&S, which both received a score of 80/100.

Meanwhile the cheapest option, Tesco’s 30p Everyday Value Coleslaw, received a dismally low score of 32/100 and was described as ‘too bitter’.

Waitrose’s £1.35 Deli-Style Coleslaw tied with M&S’s £1.50 Traditional Coleslaw for top spot in Good Housekeeping Institute’s blind taste test, each scoring 80/100

The best-tasting coleslaw revealed


=1st. Waitrose Deli Style Coleslaw (£1.35) – 80/100

‘This coleslaw has a rich tangy yet sweet vegetal aroma followed by a flavoursome freshness from sweet julienne carrots, diced red onion and young white cabbage topped with chives.’

=1st. Marks & Spencer Traditional Coleslaw (£1.50) – 80/100

‘Deliciously creamy with a sharp finish from the vinegar, testers loved the subtle vegetal aroma and the satisfying crunch.’

3rd. Waitrose Essential Coleslaw (85p) – 75/100

‘Crunchy and delicate, with a slight sour kick. Our panel found it to be smooth and creamy, adding to the overall luxurious finish.’ 


12th. Tesco Everyday Value Coleslaw (30p) – 32/100

‘This coleslaw has a strong cabbage aroma, bitter tang and lack of freshness – our panel agreed that the onion was the dominant flavour. The carrot and cabbage seemed to be more diced than sliced, and the flavours clashed. We found it too bitter on the palate.’ 

11th. Morrisons Creamy Coleslaw (79p) – 53/100

‘This coleslaw proved to be a little too heavy on the mayo for some of our testers, and though plentiful many complained it was too thin.’

10th. Tesco Deli Salad Coleslaw (50p) – 57/100

‘Tesco’s coleslaw was a little too yellow in colour, lacking in vegetables for added sweetness – resulting in a bland aftertaste.’ 


4th. Asda Creamy Coleslaw (70p) – 75/100

‘Fresh and crunchy with perfectly balanced zing and tang. The creamy mayonnaise is married with chunky hand cut pieces of white cabbage and vibrant carrot. However, we found the consistency a little too thick.’

5th. Marks & Spencer Deli Style Coleslaw (£1.50) – 74/100 

‘This coleslaw doesn’t scrimp on creaminess and is packed with texture from the crunchy vegetables. Our panel loved the overall premium quality of this coleslaw and concluded that the aftertaste had fresh, tangy notes and subtle sweetness.’

6th. Morrisons The Best Thick Cut Coleslaw (£1) – 74/100

‘Tangy and fresh, the mayonnaise was creamy in texture with a smooth mouthfeel. Our testers loved the subtle, sweet flavour from the carrot, backed up by a satisfying crunch from the strips of cabbage.’

7th. Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Coleslaw (£1.15) – 71/100

‘Testers loved the appetising flecks of chives, however we found the consistency of the vegetables wasn’t quite right with many complaining the slices were either too big or too thin. That said, the aroma was a hit with our panel.’

8th. Tesco Finest Coleslaw (85p) – 63/100

‘Our panel picked up on the tangy, somewhat bitter notes. Packed with texture from the chunky carrot and strips of cabbage, however we would’ve preferred larger pieces of vegetables. Unfortunately, the onion dominated the flavour profile.’

9th. Co-op Irresistible Rich & Creamy Coleslaw (£1.15) – 61/100  

‘Our testers loved the texture of the cabbage pieces; sadly, the coleslaw was not as indulgent as we would have like. Bland with an overwhelming vegetal taste that stifles the creamy notes coming from the mayonnaise.’


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Tesco’s 30p Everyday Value Coleslaw was ranked bottom of the salads tested, with a dismal score of 32/100 (left). Morrisons’ 79p Creamy Coleslaw came second from bottom with a score of 53/100 (right)

Tesco also had another product in the bottom three with its 50p Deli Salad Coleslaw (left). Waitrose’s Essential Coleslaw however came third, despite costing just 85p (right)

The joint winners are some of the most expensive on shelves at £1.35 for Waitrose’s Deli-Style Coleslaw and £1.50 for M&S’s Traditional Coleslaw, proving that sometimes it is worth spending more on your side dishes.

However in third place is Waitrose’s Essential Coleslaw from its discount range, which costs just 85p and testers said had a ‘luxurious finish’.

It scored the same as Asda’s 70p Creamy Coleslaw which ranked fourth with a score of 75/100.

At the bottom of the pile are two salads by Tesco.

While its 30p Everyday Value discount product was ranked worst of those tested, its 50p Deli Salad Coleslaw also scored poorly, receiving 57/100. 

Second from bottom was Morrisons’ 79p Creamy Coleslaw, which scored 53/100. 

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