Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pepsi vs. GT Cola (Aldi); Circle A Meatballs (Dollar Tree)

I’ve long felt that Aldi’s GT Cola is one of the best Pepsi knockoffs that I’ve ever tried.  It has a good cola flavor that blows most store/budget brands out of the water, and is incredibly affordable at an unbelievable 59 cents for a two-liter.  But how exactly does the taste stack up to one of the kings of cola? 

Going into the test, it’s only common sense that Pepsi itself will out-Pepsi any competition.  So this is not necessarily a test to see which is “better”, per se, but rather to see if GT Cola really is as close as I thought it was throughout all these years.

I should note this test was pulled off using a freshly opened two-liter of Pepsi, and a two-liter of GT Cola that had been in the fridge for about four days.  Not that I think it causes too much of a difference to the overall test--the GT isn’t flat, and tastes exactly like I remember it tasting four days ago when I opened it--it’s just one of those minor things that are always noted in tests like this.

I’m no name brand connoisseur, so I do not have a preference one way or another in the neverending Pepsi vs. Coke war.  I like both, and drink both, depending on what’s readily available and/or what mood I happen to be in at the moment.  This is also one of those things that should be noted, because some people will either drink one or the other.  So, the Pepsi drinkers among you may not be as easy to satisfy as I am when it comes to a store brand attempting to rip off your beloved drink.

Now, on to the test.  The Pepsi has a very strong bite that I guess I’ve just never paid too much attention to.  It’s got a very vivid cola flavor, and also has a lot more fizz than I remember (I have always thought of Coke, and their products, to be the kings of carbonation).  By comparison, the GT Cola plays out like an ever-so-slightly watered down version of the soda giant:  The main foundation of the flavor is there, and when it first hits the tongue it feels like it’s going to achieve the same flavors, but it just falls a little bit short.  Now, the flavors aren’t so muted that it feels like a diet version of Pepsi--it’s very drinkable--but it just doesn’t hit quite as hard.

Overall, though, it’s hard to argue with a soda that tastes relatively close to the national brand, but can be had for a ridiculous 59 cents.  My only complaint:  GT Cola is not available in a 12-pack, as most of Aldi's sodas are.  Instead, they also sell 24 packs of the stuff for about $4.75, which isn’t a bad deal, but is sometimes more than I want to pay for something that I shouldn’t drink so much of to begin with.

Overall: 8/10 for GT.  It has a very good cola flavor, but doesn’t quite hit the taste buds as hard as Pepsi.  But for 59 cents, what it lacks in taste, it certainly helps to make up for in price. 

UPDATE: I just noticed that, at the time this review was posted, GT Cola was only available in 24-packs, as well as 2-liters.  Since then, they've gotten rid of the 24-packs, and replaced those with the 12-packs I was hoping for, which currently (as of 6/1/2016) retail for $2.25, surprisingly cheaper than the 24-packs from five years ago.  The 2-liters remain an option, but have since gone up in price, to $.79, still making them an excellent deal.  Please, take all pricing with a grain of salt (it can differ from region to region, and fluctuate at any time) as I don't have time to denote every change, but thought it was worth it to mention that 12-packs are now available.


I was at a Dollar Tree the other day, when I happened to spot a pack of meatballs in the freezer section.  Upon mentioning this out loud to my wife, she reminded me that we needed some for spaghetti that night.  Lazy, and not wanting to stop at any one of the dozens of places I passed on my way home to get a more “well known” brand of meatball, I decided to “splurge”.  After all, what else did I have to lose besides a buck?

First of all, they should be called “meat shapes”, because very few are really in ball form.  Instead, they’re just little lumps of what appears to be meat (me being the idiot that I am, didn’t even think of looking at the ingredients to verify there was actually meat in them).  They also don’t look very healthy:  Whereas most meatballs I’ve had in my day have a dark brown color, these, even when cooked, came out gray.

Flavor-wise, they are exactly what you would expect from dollar store meatballs.  I’m not one of those people to turn a cheek at dollar store products, but even I was a little skeptical buying what was supposedly an actual meat product.  These have about the same taste as water…only it’s a little more disturbing because you actually have to chew it.  Seriously, there’s nothing there.  I guess this CAN work into its favor, because it takes the flavor of whatever it’s covered in--so theoretically, you can dump it in your favorite barbecue sauce, and it will taste just like your favorite barbecue sauce.  So if you’re looking for an excuse to down tablespoons of your favorite sauce for no reason, then pick up a bag.

But if you’re looking to actually spruce up your favorite pasta with these things, or make a tasty appetizer for your latest party, then I must recommend that you go somewhere else.  And you can thank me later.

Overall: 2.5/10.  I guess no taste is better than a pungent one.  That being said, however, I didn’t pay a dollar just to chew on something…I expect there to at least be a little something there in the way of taste.  I guess sometimes you really do get what you pay for…and nothing else.


  1. I am interested to know what the ingreidence are in the Aldi coke.

    1. I don't have any GT Cola on hand at the moment, so I can't tell you what the ingredients are. In fact, I haven't bought any in a very long time (trying to cut back on soda intake). From what I remember, very similar to other sodas (carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, and caramel color being the main ones I remember).

      As for who makes it, research after I posted this points to Dr. Pepper/Snapple group, who make RC Cola. Many consumers have stated a very similar flavor profile between GT and RC, the naming structure is similar (two letters), and an article in the Dallas Morning News specifically states that Dr. Pepper makes their sodas. Also read a message board about an Aldi driver who picked up product from the Dr. Pepper plant.

      That being said, Aldi is such a secretive company, you'll never find them specifically admit anything about their products, so you really just have to take people at their word when it comes to who makes their stuff.

  2. I like GT Cola. I think it's closer to RC in flavor. Most store brands are actually subsidiaries of big name brands and use the same formulas. Similar to how LJN was a subsidiary of ACTIVISION and Tengen was a subsidiary of Atari Games.

    1. Since posting this, I agree that it's probably by Dr. Pepper (see above comment if you're wondering how I came to that conclusion). I actually don't drink soda at home any more, but I literally used to consistently crave this stuff, something I can't say about any other sodas.

      For the price, it's a steal.

    2. Since posting this, I agree that it's probably by Dr. Pepper (see above comment if you're wondering how I came to that conclusion). I actually don't drink soda at home any more, but I literally used to consistently crave this stuff, something I can't say about any other sodas.

      For the price, it's a steal.