Budget Blitz: meat prices
Where to buy Melbourne's BEST and cheapest meat.
There was a time when buying meat automatically meant a trip to the butcher.
With supermarkets getting in on the act these days, many consumers seem happy to pick up their snags and steaks where they do the rest of their shopping.
But it's clear the big supermarket chains haven't won over everybody, with some still preferring to visit their local butcher.
Consumer psychologist Hume Winzar says when it comes to meat purchases, it's often a trade off.
One group of consumers chooses quality regardless of price while the other will buys whatever is cheapest.
So how much so you pay for meat right across Melbourne?
Today Tonight sent researchers to the north, south, east and west of the city to check meat prices in more than 60 different supermarkets and butchers.
The price per kilo was recorded for beef sausages, premium mince, lamb forequarter chops, T-bone steak, skin-on chicken fillets and a leg of lamb.
When it comes to price, the local butchers were better in the north.
Overall they were cheaper than Coles, with Safeway averaging the most expensive.
The cheapest price for the meats was at the local butcher's in Greensborough, where it cost $44.64.
The most expensive was Safeway Greensborough, which charged $70.20 for the same meats.
Down south on average the local butcher's and the Coles supermarkets both offered the best value.
Bi-Lo was a little more expensive and Safeway charged the most.
The cheapest price was at Coles Cheltenham, charging $44.92. The most expensive was $62.42 at Safeway Frankston.
In the East the local butchers once again offered the best value on average.
The local butcher at Keysborough only charged $49.94 for the meat, while Safeway Endeavour Hills wanted $62.42.
Out west it was a dead heat between the local butchers and Safeway.
The cheapest was the local butcher at Burnside, at $50.73, while the most expensive was Coles Altona, at $70.94.
Paul Sandercock, from the National Meat Association, says supermarket meat is often more expensive because it's usually heavily packaged.
He adds butchers have responded to competition from supermarkets by driving prices down even though costs are going up.
It seems these days local butchers are focussing their attention on making things more convenient for the cook.
And don't forget that competition between butchers and supermarkets can work to your advantage.
But overall our survey suggests if you want cheaper meats, it seems the local butcher is your best bet.
Shopping at the supermarket can be easier but bear in mind the convenience of one-stop shopping comes at a cost.
REPORTER: Karryn Cooper, Rohan Wenn and Sonia Kruger
BROADCAST DATE: July 28, 2003
Budget Blitz: meat prices
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