Meat Survey 2008

Reporter: Graeme Butler

For the year Today Tonight has surveyed Perth butchers to find the best deals and take a snap shot of prices. What's up, what's down and why? Master butcher Vince Gareffa says "as soon as it starts to get a bit warmer everyone's going back to BBQs' so a lot of those cuts are going to start going up so if you want to save money start buying the more inexpensive cuts from the shoulder and this is the time to do that".

We've selected a basket of meats for our survey and we didn't compare quality of meat, just price on the same cuts in butcher shops and supermarkets.

"84% of the meat turnover is controlled by the two majors now come on are we with 16% of the marketplace is the tail going to wag the dog we're really at their mercy all we can offer is a better quality a good price incredible service incredible knowledge less wastage of package material" says Vince.

Depending on where you shopped you could save more than $20 on the basket. We'll have the cheapest shortly, but first let's compare the different meats in our basket.

Lamb Loin Chops

The average price was $18.63 a kilo that's up $2.31 on last year. The most expensive we found was $21 a kilo the cheapest was $14 a kilo at Avon Valley Beef in Malaga.

Beef Sausages

They were also up at $5.77 a kilo that's a rise of $0.75 on last year. The range was from $9.75 a kilo to the cheapest of $4.74 at a variety of Cole's supermarkets, but remember with sausages you often get what you pay for.

Skinless Chicken Breasts

This averaged $14.48 a kilo up $1.41 compared to last years survey. The most expensive price was $22.50 almost double the cheapest price of $11.95 at Avon Valley Beef in Malaga.

T-Bone Steaks

This product had the biggest price jump at $21.95 a kilo. They were up $3.75 on last year. Prices ranged from $24.99 a kilo to the cheapest of $19.80 at Franks Gourmet Meats in Fremantle.

Beef Mince

Again difficult to compare but had the only drop in price at $9.39 a kilo. It was down $0.41 cents the cheapest $5.99 at IGA Mirrabooka.

The price rises come as no surprise to those in the industry, but farmers say they're not the winners.

Mike Norton from the Farmers Federation says farmers in W.A have been getting less and less for years and cost have been going up.

The challenge for farmers and retailers now will be the changed economic situation and what effect the weakened Australian dollar will play.

For our overall basket Coles ($65 average) was consistently cheaper than Woolworths ($74), but the cheapest supermarket and cheapest over all was IGA Mirrabooka at $60.45.

Of the independent butchers the cheapest in our survey was Avon Valley Beef in Malaga at $62.33 and while the budget pressure mounts on everyone here's some free advice from your butcher.

"Go to your favourite butcher someone you can look in the eye and say I'm having a struggle with my budget can you give me some beautiful chuck steak that I can slow roast or can you give me a shin of beef that I can stew casserole. There's nothing wrong with comfort food in the summer" says Vince.