Food Fight: America’s Best Bagel May Not Be from New York

Consumer Reports dares to compare grocery-store bagels to your bagel shop's finest. New Yorkers, of course, aren't so happy.

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Hey New Yorkers, ready for a rumble? In a decision sure to raise a few eyebrows and perhaps encourage readers to throw down their magazines in disgust, Consumer Reports has announced that America’s best bagel may be not from New York, but from the freezer section of your local grocery store. Or Dunkin’ Donuts. Or even from Costco.

If you’re still reading, and haven’t fled to take comfort in a poppy seed bagel with cream cheese and lox from your local deli, we’ll try to explain, though we too are skeptical of this blasphemy assertion. At Consumer Reports headquarters, the magazine’s trained testers tried out some of the most widely-available brands of bagels, including Kirkland from Costco, Thomas’, Udi’s, and Dunkin Donuts. During their testing, they found some that came close to their local fresh bagel maker.

(MOREBagels: An American Tragedy)

The researchers tackled their subject scientifically, rating eight plain bagels and four with “everything” (that’s onion, garlic, sesame seed, and poppy seed, usually) on taste. They also tried them toasted and untoasted to determine any improvements or detriments to flavor or mouthfeel. Consumer Reports also looked at nutritional values, but in our opinion, when it comes to determining the perfect nosh, taste matters more than fulfilling a dietary requirement. The Consumer Reports team found that Kirkland, Dunkin Donuts, and Lender’s Original (ironically not the Bagel Shop variety) were all the best choices. They even went so far as to claim that a Lender’s Original frozen bagel “tastes freshly baked,” that Dunkin Donuts’ bagel had “plenty of pull when bitten, chewy inside,” and found that the Costco bagel had “hints of malt and toasted flavors.”

Ready to take on the food fight, the good people of the New York Post couldn’t take this indignity lying down. Under the headline “Consumer Reports rate frozen, chain bagels ‘very good’,” the authors called out the Consumer Reports testers as “taste duds.” The Post then announced that, “Science and stats are for rubes when it comes to bagel eating.” It’s hard to disagree with that deliciously stinging statement.

MORE: Bagel Tax! New York State Cracks Down