Pricepoints: No need to argue over the cranberries
There are many varied claims made for cranberry juice as an antioxidant, for its vitamin content and its beneficial effects in relation to urinary-tract infections (UTIs).
The EU, however, refused to permit Ocean Spray to make this latter claim on their packs in 2009, stating that the evidence for such claims was "not sufficient to establish a cause and effect relationship."
Caoimhe McDonald BSc, dietician with Centric Health says: "There is some evidence of the benefits of pure cranberry juice on UTIs but this research has only focused on women. It should be noted that these studies were on pure cranberry juice, not on juice drinks.
"I would recommend people choose unsweetened fruit juice, which is low in added sugars. It is important for diabetics or those trying to lose weight to watch their portion sizes. Some cranberry-juice drinks can have as many as 180kcal per 250ml serving. A 100ml serving of fruit juice counts as one portion of your five fruit and vegetables," says McDonald.
All the products in this survey are classified as cranberry juice drinks, and the highest concentration of actual juice was just 25pc and many were as low as 13pc. A 250ml glass could thus contain as little as 33ml of juice.
I tasted them all lightly chilled and I was looking for cranberry flavours and a pleasant drink.
ALDI RIO DORO (25PC CRANBERRY), €0.99 PER LITRE
Good cranberry aromas, sweet juice with a tannic kick and a nice bitter twist in the finish. This is by far the best value given the high juice content and has a good cranberry and red fruit flavour without too much sweetness. Excellent taste and value. 8/10
OCEAN SPRAY CLASSIC (25PC CRANBERRY), €1.74 PER LITRE
Light cranberry aromas along with other berry fruits — clean bitter cranberry taste with a little sugar evident. This is, unsurprisingly, the world’s best-selling cranberry drink. The original and probably still the best for taste but this is never cheap. 8/10
SUPERQUINN (25PC CRANBERRY), €2 PER LITRE
Solid bitter cranberry aroma, some sweetness but also fairly pleasant cranberry flavours and distinct tannic flavour on the finish. 7/10
KELKIN NO ADDED SUGAR (25PC CRANBERRY), €2.39 PER LITRE
This was the most expensive brand tested but it has a high proportion of cranberry and the added sweetness is from juice extract not sugar. Aromas of cranberry and a pleasant cranberry taste with a nice cranberry bitter kick. 6.5/10
SQUEEZ (19PC CRANBERRY), €2.09 PER LITRE
Good red fruit aromas with cherries and red currants as well as cranberries evident. The taste had some tannins and some obvious sugary flavours and a very small bitter kick at the end. 6/10
SUPERQUINN ESSENTIALS (13PC CRANBERRY), €1 PER LITRE
Surprisingly pleasant and with noticeable cranberry taste, despite the low juice content. 6/10
LIDL BRAMBLE HILL (13PC CRANBERRY), €0.99 PER LITRE
The joint cheapest brand in our survey. Bland juice aromas, some cranberry taste and a small bitter element. Not bad. 5.5/10
SUPERVALU (13PC CRANBERRY), €1.05 PER LITRE
Light berry aromas, distinct sweet red fruit flavour with a hint of cranberry and a bitter twist at the finish. 5.5/10
THE ORGANIC COMPANY FRESHLY PRESSED (5PC CRANBERRY), €1.68 PER LITRE
The only freshly pressed cranberry juice available is produced in Killarney. Also contains lingonberry, cherries and lemon juice with a total of 16.5pc fruit juice. Pleasant enough taste of lemons, cherries and raspberries but very few cranberries evident. 5/10
DUNNES STORES (13PC CRANBERRY), €1.29 PER LITRE
This smelled of glacé cherries and sweet juice. Very little cranberry taste and just too sweet. 4.5/10
DAWN (12PC CRANBERRY), €2 PER LITRE
Light cherry and cranberry aromas. Very little cranberry flavour, tastes mostly of sugar. 4/10