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Pricepoints: Soul food staright from a packet

Chicken soup is the perfect comfort food, and said to be a cure for all manner of ills. A study by the University of Nebraska even suggested that chicken soup could act as an anti-inflammatory to relieve flu symptoms.

Virtually nobody makes homemade chicken soup these days, if they ever did in this country. I grew up with dried soup from a packet like most kids of the 1970s and, in any event, chickens to boil for soup are simply not available in Ireland (as they are in supermarkets in France and Spain).

This testing was quite disappointing with no soup tasting anything like I had hoped. It sent me back to my cookbooks -- perhaps it is time we borrowed our mothers' copies of Maura Laverty's Full and Plenty (a cookbook in every house in the country in the 1960s and 1970s) and began making our own to get us through this cold spring weather.

Most of the soups tested had 3-4pc chicken and all contained stabilisers and thickeners.

The soups were tasted blind by myself and a partner and our scores averaged.

Knorr, 600g, €2.59

Lots of vegetable flavours and chunky pieces of celery and carrot. Chicken pieces were large and chunky (like the vegetables) and a pleasant texture. Tasty but perhaps more 'Vegetable Soup with Chicken' than 'Cream of Chicken". 7/10

Erin Soupfulls, 400g, €2.29

Lots of chicken pieces in a creamy soup. This seemed to have the most chicken and tasted most like the soup I remember from childhood -- but then my mum used packet soup! My tasting partner felt it had a strange aftertaste, but overall this was not bad. 6/10

Avonmore, 600g, €2.99

Fresh taste of chicken and potato in a reasonably thick broth. This tasted quite good but did not have enough chicken flavour for us. 5.5/10

Aldi Soupreme, 400g, €0.49

Pleasant enough chicken stock smell, noticeable chicken pieces and some chicken flavours but this was rather too bland. 4.5/10

Lidl Bulwark, 400g, €0.49

This had the lowest chicken content at 2pc. A creamy texture but with an odd aftertaste. Not terrible but not good. 4/10

Superquinn, 500g, €2

Despite having the highest chicken content at 7pc this tasted more of potato than chicken, had an odd greenish colour and a taste we both disliked. 3/10