Tesco Free From: New things for the fridge!

Tesco have finally woken up to the market that’s out there in the dairy-free community. They have massively expanded their range of own-brand dairy-free things in their Free From range. I have tried their own natural soya yoghurt (yes, I prefer to spell it the correct British English way rather than the pervasive American way!) and it’s not bad!

Now that may not sound like a ringing endorsement, but you have put this into context. The Alpro plain Yofu stuff has been frankly horrible for years. I have used it, if I have to, in marinades for curries when you can’t taste the stuff, but I NEVER eat it straight out of the pot, as it just isn’t good. Sojade’s plain yoghurt is good, but hard to get hold of. Tesco’s new kid on the block, by contrast, is pretty good and easily available from larger Tesco stores.

The texture is good on the tongue. It feels like yoghurt and that’s hugely important. One of the things I put most time and effort into when developing new dairy-free recipes is getting the texture right. Dairy produce has a distinctive feel in the mouth and one of the most off-putting thing about many of the early milk, cheese and yoghurt replacements was the texture of them. (Apart from the damp cardboard flavour, that is!) If you can get the “feel” right in the mouth, you are quite a long way towards getting a convincing substitute. Well, whoever is making this stuff for Tesco has got the texture much closer to the real thing. The feel is creamy on the tongue and it doesn’t make the surface of your teeth feel odd afterwards, which a lot of soya foods do.

When it comes to flavour, the initial taste is a big improvement on other things on the market. It is much less flat or sweet than others and it has a slight sharpness which is entirely appropriate for natural yoghurt. There is still a slight residue of damp cardboard, soya’s gloomy shadow, but it isn’t any where as near as strong as anything else I’ve tried.

So, it’s not 100% perfect. But it’s a whole lot better than any other easily available plain yoghurt I’ve found yet. …I’m now wondering who’s making it for Tesco. Maybe I should re-test the Alpro stuff and see whether it’s the same stuff!

As usual, the full details of all of our product reviews can be found on our review pages.

2 comments to Tesco Free From: New things for the fridge!

  • Helen Clarke

    Hello again 🙂

    We are loving the Tesco Free From fruit yoghurts in our house! They’re great for lunchboxes, especially as they’re cheaper too. I have to say, though, that I don’t like the Tesco plain yoghurt and much prefer the Alpro version. Alpro appear to have altered the recipe recently (maybe in the last year or so) and it’s now definitely edible straight from the pot, for my tastebuds anyway! It’s still not dairy-equivalent but I like it.

    I just hope Tesco don’t do what they have often done in recent years – get me all excited because they start stocking a product I could only previously get by making a special trip to a a health food store, then withdraw it a few months later! I suspect, though, that they wouldn’t have gone to the trouble of developing their own branded range unless it was commercially viable. My next ‘hope’ is that they stock more, if not all, of the dairy-free range in their medium-sized stores rather than just their mega-stores.

    In the interests of fairness, Sainsbury’s also stock a decent range of Free From products, expecially chocolate – my allergic child doesn’t like any of the ‘milk’ chocolate equivalents (including the much-lauded Moo brand), but prefers dark chocolate. This Christmas we decorated our tree with upside down Kinnerton lollies from Sainsbury’s! It was lovely this year to finally be able to say, ‘Yes, you can have a treat from the tree,’ with the added bonus that my non-allergic child also likes them!

    By the way have you used Silver Spoon Dark Chocolate Chunks in baking? I have found them to be excellent. They carry the usual legal warning about ‘may contain traces of milk’ but I’ve not had a problem with them at all.

    My son is now confirmed as nut-allergic too…the next step is to test for a shellfish allergy but I’m not brave enough yet, I don’t want any more bad news so for now we’ll just avoid it until I can face testing him! Fish pie tastes fine without prawns anyway 🙂

  • Hi Helen,
    Good to hear from you again. It sounds as though I must give Alpro’s plain yoghurt another go! Maybe they’re the source for Tesco’s one. I agree that the Tesco price is very attractive. My only quibble with the small fruit “yoghurt” pots is that they aren’t yoghurt at all: they have no yoghurt cultures in them and are just sweet desserts. They do taste good and they do make a pleasant and easy change for lunches. It’s just a shame that they aren’t as good for you as they might be. Seems odd, too, given the cultures are in the big pot range.

    I share your fears about the range vanishing. In Birmingham, the new dairy-free spread has already disappeared from one medium-sized Tesco to my knowledge and I failed to find it in the huge one I visit in Baldock a couple of weeks ago. We shall have to start a campaign to get it back if it does disappear!!

    I’ve just found the Sainsbury’s own free-from spread, but haven’t yet started it (still got a Tesco one on the go). Maybe theirs will stay around if Tesco chicken out. Not so easy for me to get at where I am, but do-able if necessary. You end up driving miles just to do basic shopping when you have food allergies to consider, don’t you! I have separate lists for each supermarket: things I can get here, but not there etc.

    I’m right there with your allergic child when it comes to the pseudo-milk choc out there. Most of it’s pretty yuk! Fortunately there’s Kinnerton’s in most supermarkets these days. Morrison’s had it on offer at 80p a bar before Christmas, so I laid in a large stock of it, cleaning out two local branches! I haven’t tried the Silver Spoon Chunks (haven’t even seen them, though I haven’t been looking for them of course). How lovely to be able to have both children eating the same things at Christmas. It’s so important to make children feel normal when they have food allergies. So often it’s difficult to find something everybody can eat, but doesn’t it feel worth the effort. Well done, you.

    Sad about the nut allergy. That’s going to complicate life. Good luck with the new prawn-less life, too!

    All the best,


Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>