Choice Cuts

Reporter: Helen Wellings

A sausage on the barbie is an Australian outdoor favourite - but these days its not just the traditional beef and pork varieties - the choice is endless. Butchers have been serving up an array of exotic sausages for the past 30 years. Now, our two major supermarkets have caught onto the lucrative market, coming up with their own, more expensive, "gourmet" range. But are they any better than the standard snag?

An expert panel tested 24 types of 'own brand' sausages sold by Coles and Woolworths/Safeway. They compared their 'gourmet' range against their cheaper varieties, as well as sausages from independent butchers.

Christopher Zinn from the Australian Consumer Association asked the panelists to mark the sausages out of 100. The tasters weren't told which sausages they were tasting, only the flavour and style.

Under the food standards code all sausages made in Australia must now be made only from muscle meat. 50% of that meat must be fat free.

And the top 5 sausages?

Scoring 80 out of 100, Woolworth's 'beef and cracked pepper gourmet' sausages is at number 5 - 80% beef, total fat 20.3%, $9.90 a kilo.

Number: 4

Meat content: 76%

Fat: 16.8%

Per kilo: $9.90

For the same price and also scoring 80 points is Coles finest tuscan pork sausages. The fat content - 16.8%.

Coming in at number 3 that was an independent butcher with an Italian style pork sausage, fantastic sausage, quiet expensive $16 but if you are going to eat sausages it should be something you enjoy. So in terms of value that would be great because it is top end sausage.

Number: 2

Meat content: 76%

Fat: 16.3%

Per kilo: $9.90

At number two - Coles finest french toulouse-style snag, scoring 82 points. 76% pork and lamb meat, 16.3% fat, again $9.90 a kilo.

Number: 1

Meat content: 76%

Fat: 13.9%

Per kilo: $9.90

And the number one sausage.....beating all the 'gourmet' styles for taste and quality, ...the least fat, and the cheapest at $6.25 a kilo. Coles' humble pork banger.