Canstar Blue’s 2020 hot cross buns review has seen Coles, Woolworths, Costco, ALDI, IGA and Foodland compared on their freshness, taste, variety, value for money and overall satisfaction.
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* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. By default, brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are sorted by the mean overall satisfaction score as rated by consumers. You can click the arrows at the top of any column in the table to sort by the results in that column. Canstar Blue research finalised in March 2020, published in April 2020.
Coles and Woolworths sweetened the deal with five stars for overall satisfaction as well as taste, freshness, variety, and overall satisfaction. Both supermarket brands also got four stars for value for money.
Where can you find the best hot cross buns in 2020?
There’s almost nothing that compares to the sweetly spiced aroma of hot cross buns toasting away in the morning. And whether you agree with supermarkets selling them all year round, which is the case for some retailers like Coles, nothing says Easter like a hot cross bun smothered in your favourite butter or margarine. As the supermarkets point out, many Aussies love buying their buns months ahead of the Easter holidays, giving consumers plenty of time to decide which chain bakes the best. Therefore, we at Canstar Blue thought it was about time to test Australia’s tastebuds to find out which supermarket chain is deemed to offer the best hot cross in 2020.
To do so, we surveyed more than 2,000 consumers who have purchased and eaten supermarket branded hot cross buns in the lead-up to Easter, with brands compared on taste, value for money, freshness and variety, as well as overall satisfaction.
So, what did we find? Well, Coles and Woolworths are clearly buttering up Aussies with their trays of hot cross buns, each sweetening the deal with five stars for overall satisfaction as well as taste, freshness and variety. Although both supermarkets ended up a little soft when it came to value money, scoring four stars.
Best Hot Cross Buns
Here are the best supermarket brands for hot cross buns in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2020 review:
1st Coles / Woolworths
Fresh out of the Canstar Blue oven, Coles and Woolworths were rated best in this year’s hot cross buns review, while Costco, ALDI, IGA and Foodland all achieved four stars for overall satisfaction. ALDI scored the only five-star rating for value for money.
Hot Cross Buns
Coles is hopping its way into Aussies’ stomachs, armed with a basket full of traditional hot cross buns, as well as apple & cinnamon and chocolate varieties. These are available in six packs and are usually on sale for $3.50 each. And if you’ve planned a date with Netflix this Easter, you can even get hot cross bun flavoured popcorn for $2.20.
Coles managed to plate up a five-star win in most categories, including taste, freshness and overall satisfaction. Although it ended a little soft on value for money where it got four stars.
Woolworths offers a tasty variety of hot cross buns, including traditional, fruitless options and chocolate flavours. These are available for $3.50 and come in either six packs for regular sized buns, or a pack of nine minis. If you’re looking for something cool to enjoy this Easter, Woolworths has also whipped up hot cross bun flavoured ice cream scooped into 1L tubs.
The joint winner earned full marks for taste, freshness, variety and overall satisfaction. It also achieved a respectable four stars for value for money.
It’s pretty convenient that Costco is selling treadmills and other gym gear alongside a sweet display of plump hot cross buns. Thankfully, it might not be hard to hold this against the wholesale retailer since it’s serving up the Easter dessert in bulk, with 24 buns in each pack.
Costco ended on four stars for variety and overall satisfaction, but received three stars for taste, freshness and value for money.
Is it really Easter if we’re not eating chocolate and hot cross buns for breakfast? ALDI has an affordable mix of options to choose from, including traditional fruit, choc chip, fruit, fruitless and brioche-style hot cross buns. These are available in either four or six packs, with a nine pack of mini fruit hot cross buns also on sale. These will cost you between $2.99 and $3.29.
The German supermarket discount chain won the battle when it came to value for money, and earned an extra five-star rating for taste. Although it ultimately landed on four stars for overall satisfaction, as well as freshness and variety.
The Independent Grocers of Australia (IGA) offers Yarrows’ Easter buns, which come in packs of six for $3 each. Flavours include traditional, chocolate and spiced fruit.
IGA rated four stars in most categories, including taste, freshness and overall satisfaction, but fell slightly flat when it came to value for money and variety where it got three stars.
It looks like the Easter bunny arrived a little early for some this year, with South Australians getting an extra option with the local, independently owned supermarkets that make up Foodland. For this sweet season, Foodland stores will be stocked with Vili’s hot cross buns. Some flavours include choc chip and premium fruit.
Foodland received five stars for variety and three stars for value for money, ultimately landing on four stars for taste, freshness and overall satisfaction.
Australia’s favourite type of hot cross buns
We like big (hot cross) buns and we cannot lie, but which flavour is Australia’s favourite? Here’s what our survey respondents picked:
Traditional (with fruit): 58%
Apple and cinnamon: 8%
Coffee or mocha: 3%
Other flavours: 1%
While there’s plenty of new and exciting flavours that supermarkets are trying out, it seems nothing can beat the classic. Here are some other fun facts we found out.
Are hot cross buns sold too early in supermarkets?
It’s the annual debate between shoppers when some say it’s too early for supermarkets to start selling hot cross buns in December and January (months before Easter, even from Boxing Day!) and others hit the stores as soon as they’re available. Our survey found:
35% think supermarkets sell hot cross buns too early
31% bought hot cross buns as soon as they were available
30% wish they were available to buy all year round
This controversy also appears to divide the generations. Half of respondents (50%) aged over 60 are of the belief that supermarkets sell hot cross buns too early in the year, while only a fifth (20%) of younger Aussies (aged 18 to 29) agree with that sentiment. However, nearly a third (28%) of young respondents aged under 30 said supermarkets should wait a little longer before bringing out the Easter eggs.
About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Canstar Blue surveyed 6,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and eaten supermarket branded hot cross buns in the last month, in this case, 2,367 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.