Put meat costs on the chop­ping block

The Western Star - - Money Saver - SARAH SURMAN

MEAT is one of the most ex­pen­sive items on re­ceipts when it comes to weekly gro­cery shop­ping, yet many of us still splash the cash to en­joy a de­cent steak.

Aus­tralian house­holds spend $12.6 bil­lion a year on meat, ac­cord­ing to ASIC’s MoneyS­mart, while the 2019 ABARES Agri­cul­tural com­modi­ties re­port says up to 100kg is con­sumed per per­son per year.

If you want to score value for money, Ark­aba Meats butcher An­drew Weather­ald said you should steer clear of con­ve­nience and la­bels.

“Peo­ple need to look for what’s on spe­cial in their area and form a re­la­tion­ship with their lo­cal butcher,” he said.

“You can save by sac­ri­fic­ing con­ve­nience. Su­per­mar­kets sell chicken schnitzel for $20 – it’s just a crumbed piece of meat which costs $39 per kilo. If you take the crumbs away you could make it for less than $6 a kilo.

“We sell chicken fil­lets for $5.99 but if you want it diced I’ll charge $12. Put in the ef­fort your­self and you’ll avoid labour costs.”

Mr Weather­ald said shop­pers should ex­am­ine the price per kilo.

“A piece of meat may cost $10 per 100 grams, but that con­verts to $100 per kilo,” he said.

An Aldi Aus­tralia spokes­woman said shop­pers could save on meat through meal prepa­ra­tion.

“Cus­tomers should plan ahead how they in­tend to use the meat they’re buy­ing,” she said.

Aus­tralian Meat In­dus­try Coun­cil op­er­a­tions man­ager Oliver Stankovski said lo­cal butch­ers pro­vided a bet­ter bud­getary range than su­per­mar­kets.

“The butcher typ­i­cally or­ders whole an­i­mals where they take apart the an­i­mals in a way to pro­vide more ver­sa­til­ity, where at the su­per­mar­ket you’re lim­ited to what’s there,” he said.

Mr Stankovski said it was im­por­tant to be able to have a con­ver­sa­tion to get more for your dol­lar. “At the butcher you can dis­cuss the amount you want to spend,” he said.

A Coles spokesman said it was im­por­tant to keep in mind how an­i­mals were raised, with Coles of­fer­ing beef that was free from added growth hor­mones, sow­stall-free pork and RSPCAap­proved chicken.

Pic­ture: Brad Fleet

SPE­CIAL DEALS: Butcher An­drew Weather­ald says you pay for con­ve­nience and la­bels.

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