Canstar Blue’s soft drinks review has seen Kirks, Solo, Bundaberg, Schweppes, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Fanta, Coles, Woolworths, Sprite, Mountain Dew and Sunkist compared on their taste, variety, packaging design, value for money and overall satisfaction.
Soft drinks are soda-licious! Cracking a cold can of Cola or lemonade after a long day at work or to accompany a meal is one of life’s simplest pleasures. It’s no wonder one in five Aussies (21%) who responded to our survey said they enjoy a fizzy tonic every day. And luckily for us, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to carbonated bevies. Think creaming soda and ginger ale, or any other tingly combinations like lemon squash, passion fruit punch; or even raspberry fizz! You get the gist – soft drinks come in all flavours and colours. This in turn does beg the question – is there one soft drink brand that fizzles up above the rest?
To find out, we asked more than 1,900 Aussie consumers to rate the soft drinks they’ve purchased from a supermarket or grocer, and consumed in the last three months. Survey respondents rated different brands on important factors like taste, variety, packaging design, and value for money. Brands that met the minimum required survey sample size (30 responses) were each given a final score per category and for overall satisfaction.
So, which brands crushed it and which got canned? In our 2021 review, only one was rated ‘top glass’ — Kirks! The brand scored five stars for variety, packaging, value for money and overall satisfaction.
Here are the best soft drink brands in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:
Cheers to Kirks for bubbling to the top of our ratings! It achieved the only five-star review for overall satisfaction and in the majority of categories.
Most brands scored four stars for overall satisfaction, lumping together big names like Schweppes, Pepsi, Fanta and even Coca-Cola. Sprite, Mountain Dew and Sunkist fizzled out in most categories with only three stars, including for variety and overall satisfaction. Meanwhile, Kirks and Coles were the only two brands (out of 12) to rate five stars for value for money.
In the taste stakes, Bundaberg showed ‘bundy’ is best, earning the only five-star rating for that classification, similarly to Schweppes for variety. It’s also worth mentioning that the seven top brands in our ratings also managed to score full marks for packaging design, suggesting consumers care about what’s on the outside as much as what’s inside.
Kirks is one of Australia’s original soft drink makers since 1865, and a favourite thirst-quencher for anyone who values quality and authenticity. It’s currently owned, manufactured, and distributed by Coca-Cola. Kirks lemonade and Pasito are probably the two most iconic products in the range, as classic as a pair of Havaianas thongs! Plus, they contain no artificial colours or flavours. Kirks has a wide selection of soft drinks with 13 flavours to choose from, including:
Prices for a 1.25L bottle of Kirks goodness start from $1.85 in most supermarkets.
Solo has been crushing the thirst of Aussies with its original pub squash since 1973. Dare we say it remains our favourite lemon-flavoured bevy today, especially after a hard day’s work? Yes! Solo products contain 5% crushed lemons and no artificial colours and flavours. An affiliate of Schweppes, Solo has kept to its lemon roots with only two products in its range:
A 1.25L bottle of Solo Lemon can cost upwards of $2.35 in most supermarkets.
Bundaberg or ‘bundy’ as we often call it, makes craft brewed premium soft drinks which Aussies have loved for yonks. The brand is also famous for its tagline ‘brewed to be better’. Bundaberg Co is a family-owned business founded by the Flemings, who still run it today. Bundaberg offers a wide range of fizzy combinations, including:
A 1.25L bottle of Bundaberg ginger beer can cost upwards of $2.45.
Schweppes is one of the finest creators of mixers, mineral waters and sparkling beverages since 1783. The brand’s wide soft drink offering has a unique depth of flavour and quality, thanks to the techniques and recipes it’s crafted and refined over the last two centuries. The Schweppes product range includes the following flavours:
Prices for a 1.1L bottle of Schweppes start from $1.65 in most supermarkets.
Pepsi is the PepsiCo. signature cola drink and another leading brand that’s quenching Aussies’ thirsts with a variety of bubbly beverages. Some include Pepsi, Pepsi Mango, Pepsi Vanilla and Pepsi Creaming Soda. These are available in a wide range of sizes, from 200ml cans to 2L bottles. Pepsi can set you back just $3.25 for the largest bottle at most supermarkets.
You can alternatively grab a Pepsi Max, Pepsi’s other sibling, for a sugar-free option with ‘max taste’.
Coca-Cola needs no introduction unless of course, you haven’t lived on Earth. But did you know the brand started in Australia with just 10 staff and four trucks? Coca-Cola now offers the widest range of beverages including waters, iced teas, juices and carbonated drinks. Coca-Cola also owns big-name brands like Sprite and Fanta. Here’s a product selection from its classic Coca-Cola range:
Prices for a Coca-Cola 1.5L bottle start from $3.50 in most supermarkets and online.
Owned by Coca-Cola, Fanta is behind our favourite fruit-flavoured carbonated drink, first bringing us the original Fanta Orange and various juicier combinations after that. It’s a soft drink with a tingly, fruity taste, made with 2% juice and contains no artificial colours or flavours. The Fanta product range includes the following options:
A 1.25L bottle of Fanta Orange can cost upwards of $2.20 in most supermarkets.
The Coles own brand range also has a good selection of soft drink combos and flavours at great prices. Here’s a product selection from the supermarket’s private label range:
Prices for a 1.25L bottle of Coles soft drink start from $0.75 at Coles, in stores and online.
Woolworths has a great range of homebrand soft drinks available in stores and online. The supermarket giant offers a wide selection of canned and bottled soft drinks including crowd favourites like:
A 1.25L bottle of Woolies soft drink can cost just $0.75 in stores and online.
Sprite is another Coca-Cola product. It’s the lemonade with a crisp, clean taste and a distinctive colourless appearance that Aussies have loved for generations. The Sprite product range includes two easy peasy lemon squeezy options:
Prices for a 1.25L bottle of Sprite Lemonade start from $2.50 at most retailers.
Owned by PepsiCo, Mountain Dew is a citrus-flavoured energised soft drink. It’s said to have been originally developed as a mixer for whiskey in 1940, by Tennessee beverage bottlers Barney and Ally Hartman. Today, Mountain Dew is a favourite among Aussies, especially as refreshment with a KFC meal! Options available include:
A 1.25L bottle of Mountain Dew costs about $1.30 in most supermarkets.
Sunkist is known as the brand behind the orange-flavoured soft drink of our childhood memories. Today, the brand offers more than 10 different Sunkist sodas to love and share, with no artificial colours or flavours. Here’s a selection from the Sunkist product range:
Prices for a Sunkist 1.25L bottle start from $2.20 in most supermarkets and online.
This will all depend on your preferred flavour. Do you like a fruity, tingly taste or more of a robust, spicy taste? A previous Canstar Blue survey suggested that lemonade was the most popular drink type among respondents (19%), followed by Coke (15%) and ginger beer (14%). Luckily, soft drinks come in all flavours and colours which means you’ll have plenty of options to try until you find a soda that makes your taste buds pop.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.
Canstar Blue surveyed more than 3,000 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 (from a supermarket or grocer) and consumed soft drinks in the last three months– in this case, 1,929 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.
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