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Sainsbury's Classic Cola

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12 Reviews

Manufacturer: Sainsbury

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    12 Reviews
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      12.03.2014 21:28
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      A good alternative to Pepsi and Coca Cola.

      I must admit that I am not a big fan of cola drinks as a rule. I would drink Coca-Cola on occasions but I found the price a bit too steep to purchase on a regular basis. However, when I tried Sainsbury's Classic Cola and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised.

      Coming in a similarly styled can as Coca-Cola, in fact they were forced to change the original design of the can as it was ruled too similar to the Coca-Cola brand, the taste of this product is actually quite nice. Unlike many of the other brands of cola such as Pepsi, Marks and Spencer cola and others, Classic Cola doesn't try and imitate. It has a distinctive unique taste whilst keeping the traditions of fizzyness and despite using caffeine I find that this effect is much less than that of other brands. It is also not as sweet as others in the market, and Classic Cola has carved out a good niche, and has been remarkably successful since its introduction a fair few years ago carving out a fairly large market share compared to many other brand colas. In fact, it was originally designed when first released in the mid nineties as a genuine rival to the bigger brands and not as a budget own brand drink, although it never really made the breakthrough to this level.

      This product, like others, is available in single 330ml cans (around 40p), various multipacks (12 for £2.99 the last time I checked!) and also in 2 litre bottles (95p). In fact the bottle version is as nice as the canned variety, which I find unusual in fizzy drinks. I have to say that the prices of this drink have risen steadily over the last few years, and so far from being a decent quality alternative at a good price is now on a par with other drinks available and so can be marked down for this.

      As I've said, the taste of this drink is quite different to other branded cola's out there; it's definitely less gassy than Pepsi and has a very strong caramel flavour. It's sort of a throwback to the original style cola recipe rather than the modern mass produced one and as an alternative works pretty well as such. There are 43 calories per 100ml of the which compares favourably with other fizzy drinks, and 10g of sugar in the said 100ml. Again this is no worse than many other fizzy drinks and so whilst I'm loathed to say its good for you, its certainly no worse than its rivals.

      The main downside to this product is the obvious, i.e. that it can only be purchased in Simsbury's stores, however if you do shop there, this can also be an advantage as not only is it nicer and slightly cheaper than Coca-Cola, you can also earn the Simsbury's Nectar reward points on it, and in addition being an own brand, it is subject to regular special offers to increase sales.

      Overall this is a surprisingly pleasant drink for an own brand and in my opinion rates right up there along side its more famous competitors, and in terms of value for money it is really good value especially in the multi-pack format and when bought on one of the many special offers. I would recommend this drink for all those who enjoy cola drinks, those who find Coca Cola and especially Pepsi as slightly too gassy and all those who just want to try a new soft drink.

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      14.08.2011 14:06
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      Not the real thing, but pretty close

      Sainsburys Classic Cola is the supermarkets premium brand alternative to coca cola and pepsi, it is available in 2 litre bottles for 84p from Sainsburys only. It was launched in the 1990's as an alternative to the rise of the cheap own price brands, offering higher value at a mid-range price which would appeal to people who couldn't drink the cheap stuff but couldn't afford the big name brands either.

      We don't buy it all the time but have done so on occasion when we've had home parties and it seemed like a cheaper alternative to coca cola. Initial impressions are that it is not bad, it lacks the immediate punch of coca cola and pepsi and seems to have much more of a cinnamon flavour to it, but it is still pretty good and nobody mentioned any issues with it when we served it.

      The bottle looks ok, it is your standard two litre bottle with a red label, the words CLASSIC stand out whilst the Sainsburys logo is much smaller above it, there is an appealing looking glass of cola fizzing with ice in it to draw you in, it looks much better than most supermarket brand products and even the word CLASSIC does make you think it is a little bit classier than its rivals.

      The reason you would buy this is if you still want that Coca cola taste but really can't afford to pay nearly two pounds for a bottle, this is a nice substitute that really doesn't overdo anything it doesn't try to be the real thing and doesn't market itself as such, it goes for the whole classic feel trying to represent the original cola recipe and it worked for us, we don't drink too many soft drinks other than as mixers or at parties but will definitely be buying more of this in the future.

      The Cola has 43 calories per 100ml, so 860 calories in the bottle overall but don't let this put you off, there is 10g of sugar per 100ml also but this still feels less gassy and unhealthy than the big boy brands. The Cola has a strong caramel flavour and contains caffeine, it tastes really good with ice but still has the sugary sweetness of a normal coke, we've had this with ice, with rum and in ice cream floaters and it has been perfect with all of them, whereas with some supermarket own brands we have had to throw the bottles away due to a metallic sweet taste which is endurable more than enjoyable.

      I liked this drink a lot, it looks good, is well priced being almost half the price of the big brand rivals and it is well presented, it isn't too strong, doesn't feel as unhealthy as 'the real thing' and left me and my family satisfied that we would buy more of this in the future.

      Plus:

      Well presented bottle, decent taste, very good price, works well on its own or mixed with other things.

      Minus:

      Only available in Sainsburys, it is possible to spot the difference if you are an avid fan of Coke or Pepsi

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        29.06.2011 12:56
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        A deliciously sweet cola drink.

        My husband absolutely loves Coca-Cola and his addiction costs us a small fortune with a 2 litre bottle costing around £1.80 now and as he can get through a few a week I decided it was time to force him to have something cheaper and just get on with drinking it. He can be quite a brand snob at times so I just ordered these with my online shop and pretended that they were out of stock of Coca-Cola.

        This product is available in a multipack of 6 x 330ml cans for £1.49 and a 2 litre bottle for 84p which is a considerable saving of almost £1 on the bottle and about £1.60 on the multipack, however, Coca-Cola is on special offer a lot more than these Sainsburys ones.

        The 2 litre bottle is the one that I have been purchasing and it's standard soft drink packaging. The bottle is clear recyclable plastic with a red screw top lid. There is a label on the bottle which displays all the usual information; ingredients, nutritional information etc. There is nothing fancy about the packaging but it does look better than some other supermarket brands of cola.

        Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Sugar, Barley Malt Extract; Fruit and Vegetable Extract, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavourings (contains Caffeine), Preservative: Potassium Sorbate.

        Cola is high in sugar and calories but this is the kind of drink that I see as a treat. This is the perfect summer drink, is lovely with ice and even with a splash of vodka.

        This drink is deliciously fizzy as soon as I open it and it is thick and gloppy. This drink tastes sugary sweet and it is hard to pinpoint a specific taste to this drink. My teeth are left feeling like they are coated and I always feel the need to brush my teeth afterwards. I find this drink to be refreshing and there is nothing better on a hot summers day than a chilled soft drink.

        Overall this drink has been a hit in our home, it's sugary, sweet and refreshing. My husband grumbled a little about trying this but I've mainly been buying this since and he is drinking it so he must be liking it too. Each 250ml glass contains 108 calories, 27g of sugar, a trace of fat and a trace of salt. Obviously this is high in sugar but that is just the nature of the drink really.

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          17.04.2011 19:20
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          Not quite coca cola, but okay as a cheap one

          There are the occasional times when for budget purposes I have brought a Supermarket brands Cola, instead of Coca cola, and then when I drink it I always think... Why did I do that again?! The thing is for me, there really is no beating the classic taste of Coke, and I just don't think another brand will come close to tasting as good. Yet, this one is the best alternative I have found around. Although Im still sticking with Coke!

          The product --> The product comes in a plastic bottle (one of those ones that is poorly made so it bends alot, it feels quite cheap). It is 2l and has a big red bold label around the middle. There is a red screw top lid to it.

          This carbonated soft drink does taste nice, it is just when I compare it to my favourite one I just think that the taste lacks, and it just is not as nice. I prefer to keep it in the fridge if I have a drink like this, because it really is not as nice warm! It stays fizzy for a couple of days, and is best to be used up in 3 days.

          The cost --> The best thing about this is the fact it is just 81p, and that is for 2l. So overall a very budgeting drink.

          Nutrional Information --> As it is a carbonated drink it is quite sugary, like with most others! This is per 250ml
          serving

          Calories - 108
          Sugars - 27g
          Fats/Sats/Salts - trace

          With sugar being almost 30% of GDA I wouldn't really recommend this for young children, and only in moderation for an adult too.

          Overall a cheap alternative to Coke, but if Coca Cola is your number 1 (like myself) expect to be disappointed at the difference in taste.

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          19.03.2011 13:01
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          Buy this as a nice cheaper alternatice to Coca-cola

          As you may have read from my previous reviews I do like to bang on about coca-cola, and apart from the fact that CC are the epitimy of world domination of marketing and corporate brands, I obviously love the stuff

          So when it comes to finding a cheaper alternative (because paying 70p a can in shops isnt great when you drink at least a can a day) its exceedingly har to find one that matches the flavour and fizz of cola. Most alternatives if tried over the years normally has one but not both of hese elements...normally the fizz part because they are chap carbonated drinks which are cheaper to produce hen flavour-full drinks. before I shopped at sainsburys I always remember this version of coke being the bst alternative out there as I had had it at many parties.

          Pepsi comes quite close, but its tastes distinctly more cinnimon-y. Sainsburys classic cola actually comes pretty dame close.

          On the whole id say it was 90% similar in tatse. Sainsburys is a little bit more sugary and you can taste that. ut the fizz factor is no different in my eyes. Most other supermarket wn brands dont even come close.

          Sainburys desnt include nasty sweeteners in its drink, but it is sweet enough already and this I can imagine would turn some people off...also the fizz is a little white-brownish colour and no completely white as you get with CC.

          What is different is the price, you can get a six pack of 330ml cans for a quid !, You cant get that with Cola, and I think the 2 litre bottles are 87p, again about 80% of the cost of CC if you buy it in the supermarket and llot cheaper if you buy it in a shop.

          I also like the crimson red colour of the cans and bottle packagng, and this makes it stand out but similar to coke

          Nutritional info:
          Carbonated water, sugar, barley malt, extract, fruit and vegatable extracts, phospheric acid,natyral flavourings and caffeine. Preservative: Potassium sorbate.

          Typical values per 100ml:
          Energy 184kj, 43 Kcals, Protein: trace, Carbohydrate : 10.8g of which Sugars 10.8g, Fat trace of which saturates trace, fibre trace; salt trace of which sodium trace

          Allergy sufferers: contains barley gluten

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          28.02.2011 21:28
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          Best own brand Cola I've had - if you shop in Sainsbury's it's a definite winner.

          Ok, seeing as most people seem to turn their noses up at own brand products, I will now explain why you should not judge a cola by its label...


          ~ Is it ACTUALLY a bargain? ~

          Let's be honest here, the real reason you would choose this over another Cola product is because of the price... you can either buy Coca Cola for £1.78 per 2l bottle (£0.09 per unit) or buy Sainsbury's Cola for £0.81 per 2l bottle (or 4p per unit). So, unless it tastes so vile I can't possibly drink it, Sainsbury's Cola is already onto a winner in my eyes!


          ~ I bet it tastes horrible though... ~

          It's fizzy (sometimes little TOO fizzy if it's been in the fridge!), not too acidic and it is sweet. It's not as 'creamy' tasting as Pepsi and not as 'sharp' as Coca Cola. Neither does it taste like melted down Cola bottles like most own brand Colas - it has a more acidic taste to it. I wouldn't say it was as nice as Coca Cola, but for the price you're paying I think it tastes just fine. There's nothing horrible about it, it's just a 'regular' Cola and the Coca Cola can be saved for special occasions! For a low budget Cola, this is definitely the best one I've had.


          ~ Well, it's bound to look funny... ~

          The bottle is very plain and not exciting - but if you're idea of spending a fun night in is looking at drinks labels then you should probably get out more.

          The liquid just looks like Cola really - it's brown, perhaps slightly more watery than Coca Cola. It doesn't stain white cups either which is a bonus!


          ~ I'm becoming convinced, is there anything else I should know ~

          For some reason I think this Cola tastes better at room temperature rather than straight out of the fridge. When it's been in the fridge it seems to alter its taste somehow - it's fizzier and not as pleasant. Don't get me wrong, it's not vile tasting, it's just better at room temperature. I know, I know "I like my drinks ice cold..." - honestly I like Coke cold and with ice, but this Cola really is nice at room temperature. Try it and then you'll understand what I'm going on about.


          ~ Well I have been persuaded, should I buy it? ~

          1. If you are taking it to someone's house for a party, then no - you will look cheap! No-one is going to share their Jack Daniels with someone who has brought cheapo Sainsbury's Cola as a mixer. Fact.

          2. If you are having it in moderation (don't want to be accused of making people fat or have rotten teeth!) then yes. It's the best own brand Cola I've had, and I buy it instead of Coca Cola now - for half the price!




          (By the way, I can feel "what do you mean it won't tell me holidays are coming?" comments are heading this way so... Big, red trucks and santa ring any bells? Holidays are coming, holidays are coming... always Coca Cola. Never mind.)

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          11.05.2010 15:33
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          It's not quite the same as Pepsi and Coca Cola but it's nowhere near vile either

          I tend to drink a fair amount of coke (either Coca Cola or Pepsi usually) and this habit is starting to bulk the shopping bill up quite a lot. I can't bring myself to sample the delights (or otherwise!) of the Basic cola, as for a bargain basement price of around 18p it's found to taste something like brown-coloured water! As a compromise between that and the brand names, I discovered Sainsburys Classic Cola. With it being an own brand but not a Basics offering, I was hopeful that it would save money without being too different to my preferred brands. This particular week, I bought a four-pack for something in the region of £2.80, which I thought was pretty good value for saying that a 2L bottle of Pepsi or Coca Cola is well over £1 in most places. So, how does it measure up?

          ***THE APPEARANCE***
          On first appearance, a glass of this doesn't look a whole lot different to a class of Pepsi or Coca Cola. On closer inspection, it's perhaps a little bit thinner but nothing like I imagine the criminally inexpensive Basics offering to be like! Although it's considerably cheaper than the brand names, it doesn't look noticeably different and I don't think too many people would immediately pinpoint that it's a cheaper version if you served it to them without telling them.

          ***THE TASTE***
          How does it perform on the all-important taste test? I'd say that it tastes a little different to the brand offerings but it's by no means an unpleasant taste. Although it's not quite the same, I don't class it as inferior and am perfectly happy to drink it on a regular basis, especially with the savings in comparison to Pepsi and Coca Cola!

          ***VALUE FOR MONEY?***
          Considering how much more expensive the brand names are, I'm inclined to say that this is good value for money if you buy the multi-packs. There's nothing horrible about the taste or appearance and it's certainly very drinkable.

          ***OVERALL VERDICT***
          As you can probably tell from the review thus far, I've got no big complaints about this drink. One thing I did note is the decrease in bubbles in comparison to the Pepsi that I was drinking up until I started drinking this. When I pour a glass of Pepsi, it tends to fizzle for some time afterwards and feels a bit "gassy" until it starts going flat. This makes no "fizzing" noise (or at least not a noticeable noise) so I'm anticipating that this is likely to go flat more quickly. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as not everyone likes the bubbles/gas but if you're someone who does like this, this might not be the best drink for you as it's much flatter in comparison.

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            21.11.2009 19:09
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            The Best Supermarket Cola

            I think Sainsbury's Classic Cola is definately the best out of the supermarket cola drinks, at 83p for a 2 litre bottle it's not that much cheaper than normal Coke but there's still a saving and that works out a bit better again when you buy the 4 bottles for £2.73.

            It's a refreshing and tasty drink, the taste of it isn't that much different to Coca Cola but it's obviously a bit different because the original Coke recipe is a big secret. I think Sainsbury's have got it mega close though.

            The Cola is proper sweet and sugary tasting, it's got a nice fizz that doesn't blow your head off as soon as you have a sip but it doesn't go flat quickly either. It tastes suprisingly natural (even though it's not! lol) and fresh, even when we leave it a couple of days between drinks it has still kept it's fresh and fizzy flavour.

            You're better off to drink it cold out of the fridge like all other cola drinks because then you'll get a much fresher flavour, this also keeps the fizz in the glass for longer and makes it a nicer drink.

            This Cola has got 42 calories per 100ml and I think that's about the same as other cola drinks. I still prefer the proper Coca Cola but this one is deffo tasty enough that I'll continue to buy it on the odd occasion that Sainsbury's have run out of the normal Coca Cola like when it's on special offer.

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            06.10.2009 08:55
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            If you're going to drink cola - this is a decent one to drink.

            I'm not a coke/cola guzzler at the best of times - but I do buy some when I need a mixer for parties - or my partner and I decide we want to tipple some Jack Daniels. There may be some out there that say putting cola into J.D. is a crying shame - but I just can't drink it neat. I used to drink coke as a kid and now I watch other kids drink gallons of the stuff (more than we ever got our hands on).



            The reason I like Sainsbury's Classic Cola is that it seems to have less chemicals in it than other own supermarket brands. I will go a long way to avoid aspartame - and Sainsbury's has been the only supermarket, for many years, that has avoided the addition of this horrible sweetener (which has been linked with some cancers). Classic cola has the usual basic ingredients of cola (water, sugar, caffeine). The ingredients list is refreshingly simple - even if it is unhealthy. There are colas out there that have a more sinister list.



            Classic cola comes in a 2 litre recyclable plastic bottle with a burgundy label. This costs 87p. This is substantially less than you would pay in a supermarket for a 500ml Pepsi or Coke drink. You can also buy this cola in multipacks for further savings. It is very good value. Whether your taste buds can cope with something that is not 'the real thing' is up to you. I don't rate 'the real thing' anyway.



            I have no brand loyalty - especially to the world domination of Coca Cola - so I do not have the strong desire to buy that particular taste and I think that the need to drink that particular drink has much to do with the non-stop marketing the company do. Thus, I go to a drink with an open mind. If you are resigned to drinking lots of sugar - I think Classic Cola is perfectly acceptable drink.



            On opening the burgundy lid, the cola gives the usual carbonated drink fizz. It has the trademark cola smell and the colour is the dark brown you would expect from cola. It bubbles nicely as it is sloshed into the glass. It tastes like cola - a feint taste of cola nuts, lots of sugar and lots of fizz. I think it is quite tasty. I have certainly tasted many, many worse colas over the years - ones that made the roof of your mouth feel distinctly strange after swallowing - ones that have left an aftertaste of a plastics factory. Sainsbury's Classic Cola does not seem to do this with me.



            At a party, it seems to disappear quite quickly into long glasses and as a mixer - so I think that most people find it acceptable.

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              03.08.2009 13:16
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              My grandchildren enjoyed, buy myself personally found it lacked a little something.

              Sainsburys Classic cola.


              Sainsbury(s Classic cola, is ok, but i must admit that i do tend to add a splash of lime juice to mine just to give it that extra flavour.


              I usually buy Cola to add to other drinks, and thought that i would give the Sainsbury's Classic a try, on its own i didnt think that it was as good as a more famous brand that i usually buy but my grandchildren did like it.



              The reason manly i thought that i would try this was to put into the ice lolly makers i usually top up with juice and freeze for my grandchildren when they come over, as an alternative to buying the boxes of ice lollies which usually saves me a great deal of money.


              I did make some with the cola but they wasnt really a success with this Cola.

              But as a mixer it didnt taste too bad, in all fairness and i guess as a mixer only i would buy it again.


              It comes in a easy to open bottle with a twist top, and has a purple coloured label with a picture of a glass of this coke on the front.


              It costs 87p, for a 2 litre bottle , but you can buy four bottles in a multi pack and save yourself 60p.


              You can also buy this in cans 330mls (six cans) for £1.26p, and i think that a can would be a really good idea, as it would save openning the bottle and then i always find that there is a chance it can go flat easily, where as with a can you use less.


              I like Sainsbury,s products but did not in my opinion think that this was by far the nicest cheaper coke that i have tried, and so will not be giving it a full five star rating just a four.


              But drinking this as part of a mixer for another drink would be perfectly acceptable to myself, but my grandchildren did enjoy drinking this cola.


              Thanks for reading and rating my reviews xx.

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                25.02.2009 17:11
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                Sometimes it's worth paying that little bit extra

                On my continuing cost cutting exercise for the weekly shopping I decided to drop down a brand from my usual Diet Coke down to Sainsbury's Classic Diet Coke, the reason for this being that Diet Coke has now reached the dizzy heights of £1.64 a bottle (unless you can get it on offer) whereas the Sainsbury's version was 84p.

                My husband is really picky about cola. He won't touch Pepsi at all and is the same with what he describes as "Rolla Cola" (i.e the cheaper alternatives).

                On first examination the cola was equally as fizzy as diet coke and on the first sip I thought I had found something which tasted mighty similar. However the aftertaste was not the same and instead of being refreshed, I was left with a sugary sweet taste in my mouth. There is something about "proper coke" which no other cola can achieve. It has a distinct taste and quenches my thirst instantly. This cola is fine but that's the problem - it just doesn't have that certain something.

                My husband rejected it instantly but I have continued to buy it now and again. If it was a choice between "Diet Coke" and "Classic Coke" I hate to say it but for an additional 80p i'd have to pick the original, and the best.

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                  16.09.2007 13:52
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                  Cola Chronicles, Chapter III.

                  If I was writing this review a year ago, it would undoubtedly be a five-star affair filled with praise for Sainsbury’s commendable achievement in marketing an affordable alternative to the more expensive big-name cola brands, whilst skilfully avoiding the pit-falls that often make budget brands undrinkable. I’ve now long been over my once tragic cola addiction that lasted from about the age of four to sometime earlier this year, and as I couldn’t afford to be too picky with my choice of junk, these 34p bottles provided an excellent option to keep me from bankrupting myself with the slightly tastier but sadly far too expensive Coca-Cola and Pepsi, which commonly retailed for over £1 even when accompanied by a special offer. Unfortunately, in their idiocy (or perhaps because the product simply wasn’t profitable), Sainsbury’s stores have increased the price drastically since, to over double the original figure. When I first saw the new price tag of 69p I was distressed and angry, and more recently I’ve spotted a further increase to 79p.

                  Now that I can drink cheaper and healthier alternatives such as water (from the invigorating spring of my bathroom tap) I laugh in J. Sainsbury’s face as I pass his expensive product by, now no longer worth buying for its slightly inferior quality to other products that can be bought for around the same price, or perhaps a little more. Of course, I wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass by to snag a few bottles when I spotted them in the reduced section for 20p (I’m not sure of the reason, they don’t appear damaged, but if no more new reviews pop up from me next week you can make your own judgements), as although I no longer crave the sickly texture and unpleasant gaseous sensation, it’s still the best drink to have on hand by the beside when awakening with the threat of a hangover. I don’t usually opt for a diet equivalent of drinks, but in this case the offer forced my hand, allowing for a full analysis of its alleged benefits to the drinker’s health (or more accurately, the amount of damage lessened by drinking diet).

                  Although each major supermarket has its own brand cola drink, all of which taste roughly the same (and I would know), Sainsbury’s ‘Classic Cola’ was designed specifically as a rival for the bigger brands not only in terms of its excellent budget price, but for its inherent quality. The attempt was quite successful, though I would argue no more than Asda or Tesco cola which taste roughly the same (not Morrisons though, if memory serves), and although it can taste a little cheap, the proportional scale of quality verses price was greatly in its favour before the price increase, when it dropped significantly and is thus no longer really worth bothering with. At the lower end of the scale, Sainsbury’s Basics Cola is undrinkable, leafy-tasting, brown unpleasantness in a bottle for 21p (used to be 18p) but for less than twice that low price (originally), cola fans would be greatly satiated by this fair approximation of ‘the real thing.’ There are still a few signs of its budget origins remaining, such as the overpowering gassy smell as opposed to a true aroma, the rough-edged screw-top lid and prevalence of a layer of ‘head’ inside the opened bottle that takes a couple of hours to vanish, but anyone who wouldn’t give it five stars for quality, and then reduce that to three when the price became unreasonably extortionate, would be quite the cola snob. Or simply someone who doesn’t like stupidly fizzy carbonated soft drinks that potentially rot their teeth and liver.

                  The diet equivalent of Classic Cola is disappointing in the way all diet versions are for people more accustomed to the sugary versions, and seems to have far less of a distinctive taste than the customary red version, even bordering slightly on the edge of Basics Cola/Happy Shopper Cola/any budget cola brand whose name includes the words ‘American,’ ‘Star’ or ‘Pop.’ To make up for this lack of taste are some impressive statistics that feasibly make this less damaging for the drinker’s health, boasted by the brightly coloured ‘wheel of health’ adorning the front of the bottle’s label, which is unexpectedly all-green. Each 250ml serving (a standard glassful) is said to contain only a single measly calorie, with 0.3g of sugars and only slight ‘traces’ of fat, saturated fat and salt. This is bad news for me as I tend to enjoy quite a lot more than 0.3g of sugar in my fizzy drinks, though trying to add it yourself is probably unwise. The same goes for calories: delicious! Sainsbury’s commitment to producing a health-conscious fizzy drink shouldn’t be underestimated however, as the reverse of the label makes sure to mention the lack of Benzoate and ever-controversial Aspartame in this drink, which is sweetened with the presumably less bad Sucralose. Don’t ask me, I always feel under-qualified when reading the ingredients list on bizarre chemicals such as this. The flavouring is also said to be all natural, as is the standard dark brown colour of the drink – it’s not just there to look pretty.

                  The same storage and usage principles apply as for any fizzy drink, the option to refrigerate being down to individual taste or perhaps the state of the climate, and although the bottle instructs customers to drink within three days of opening, I find that this diet version becomes flat quite a lot quicker than that, the last of my hangover remedy tasting quite bland and a little unpleasant within 24 hours of opening. These bottles follow all the other supermarkets in stealing the internationally recognised Coca-Cola colour schemes of red and silver to distinguish between regular and diet versions, but the text plays it safe by being typed in a neutral serif font, rather than riskily inviting an Asda-type lawsuit for being too similar to the real thing. The most recent (expensive) line of these drinks feature the same image on both diet and regular versions of a glass filled with ice cubes and tasty-looking cola, and like most products in Sainsbury’s latest packaging re-design, the image of the product is presented as a somewhat disconcerting extreme close-up that winds up about double the actual size. I mean it when I say disconcerting: as well as being quite impractical in this instance, only being able to fit on a small section of the glass, I was actually a little freaked out when browsing the supermarket’s biscuit section and being presented with all these monstrous, oversized chocolate digestives and bourbons. I’ll hand it to Sainsbury’s: they know how to make biscuits scary. It goes without saying that this product is only available at Sainsbury’s supermarkets and smaller Sainsbury’s stores, but I thought I’d still say it anyway. You know what some people are like. Well that about rounds it all off nicely, is there anything I’ve forgotten to mention? Ah yes –

                  And the taste? Well, the sugary version is quite caramelly and sweet in a way many cheaper colas fail to be, and is really quite nice, but the diet is less appealing. I’m always quite disappointed with the taste of diet cola drinks in general, but this is fair enough knock-off for it not to really matter. I’d say that this tastes more similar to Pepsi than Coca-Cola, but of course I may be being swayed by the sugar-free familiarity of Pepsi Max. It’s a very fizzy drink, not overpowering but very prevalent even for a long time after pouring. The initial froth is nothing too major, and is noticeably looser in the diet version due to the lack of sugar, and it does make the overall experience a little less pleasant than it otherwise would be. Like Coca-Cola, the initial smell factors largely into the illusion of taste, and the smell of Classic Cola is quite unpleasantly gassy and rather more cola-y than the expensive brands tend to be, reminding me of cola-flavoured still drinks, ice lollies and sweets from my childhood. There’s even something slightly metallic about it, and it leaves quite an unpleasant after-taste in the mouth, especially when drunk flat, while the sugar version leaves the usual irritating film behind all over the surface area of the drinker’s mouth and teeth. For 34p this was all to be expected, and the drink performed above and beyond expectations, but 79p is a little too much to ask for what is still essentially an average middle ground between the horrors of budget cola and the heights of the big American names.

                  I’d recommend Sainsbury’s Classic Cola and Sainsbury’s Classic Diet Cola only if the other alternatives are far too expensive, but similar varieties varieties of Coke and Pepsi can commonly be found in 2 for £2 offers and the like, the extra 21p being an acceptable cost for this upgrade to first class. Other supermarket brands are also well worth trying, though I haven’t had them in a while and I’m out of touch with the prices. I hope they haven’t followed Sainsbury’s example, though I feel deep down that the days of high quality, low cost cola are now behind us. But that’s okay, I hardly ever drink the rubbish any more. Three stars.

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