New Mince

Reporter: Jonathan Creek

As long as there's been mince meat, there's always been the mystery....What exactly is in it? Now one major supermarket is using science to reveal all. This is the first time camera's have been allowed inside Coles supermarket's meat processing plant west of Melbourne... unlike any other it's state of the art, relying on this half a million dollar x-ray machine to keep an eye the mince that makes your meals.

"When it does get to the plant it goes through an almost an x-ray machine which analyses the meat content and the fat content and guarantees the fat content or the lean content in the meat." Says Allister

"There's a lot of science to it but its really starting with great product to start with if you want good product at the end." Allister continues. Allister Watson is Coles general manager of meat and for the first time, thanks to the technology, he says Coles can guarantee exactly how much of what makes up their mince.

So accurate the Chain has now introduced a five star rating system for its Beef mince based on fat content, right down to every gram.

The less fat, the higher the rating and price five stars means only five percent fat, three stars 17 percent.

"Three star at the moment is $6 a kilo this week, Five Star is $13 a kilo and if you buy two packets you get an extra $1 a kilo off so there is a difference but that really relates to the amount of fat that's in the product as opposed to the lean meat content.' Says Allister

Traditionally Butchers make mince from what they call trim...off cuts from other pieces of meat. Meaning the amount of lean meat versus fat can vary widely day to day.

"So in the past when you buy mince from a supermarket it's always been a little bit of a mystery about what's exactly in it" says Jonathan

"Absolutely because in the early days when I was an apprentice we didn't know we just got mince that was a whole mixture it wasn't necessarily just beef it was just meat and it could be a whole mixture of pork and beef and veal chicken" replies Allister

Under tough labelling laws Coles is now determined to make sure exactly what they promise is delivered, no more guessing.

The only thing that changes is price but even the mystery there is being removed...shop late in the day for discounts of 10 - 40% dependant on stock.

"

We have mince on promotion every week though so whether it's a multi buy or whether it's a promotion on any of our mince packets it's on every week

First of all it's got protein which is really good for growth and for making new cells and then some of the minces have iron and zinc in them as well iron's really important for our energy levels and zinc is really important for our immune system so lots of good nutrients" says Melanie

Dietician Melanie Mc Grice believes we should all be shopping for the less fat option

"Just go to the per hundred gram line then go across from fat and then whatever that number is because it's per hundred gram that gives you a percentage

So if its say 15 out of 100 that means it's 15 per cent fat so in mince you are looking for something that's about a 5% fat" says Melanie

So to put the Coles mince to the test we called upon, Celebrity Chef Bart Beet from Essence food studio.

As a chef Bart believes mince with a higher Fat content still has a place in the Kitchen...but you need to choose your recipes wisely. "So when you are looking at the two this is the 3 star you've got the five star this has got a lot more white in it that's the fat obviously?"

"Well that's right so that there would be awesome for hamburgers you could still use that there's some fat content you could still use that for your bolognaise you'll get a little bit of surface fat which you can skim off" says Bart

Comparing the Coles five star mince with five percent fat against the 3 star with 17 percent the proof is in the frying pan.

"The heat will turn the fat to liquid which is the rendering and straight away you'll see fat just coming out of the 87% lean sizzling away but no visual signs of fat. So there's proof in the mince pudding." Says Bart

And remember mince doesn't just mean beef.

"

We sell between one and a half and 1.8 million packets of mince a week in our stores so it's really popular with our customers we've got customers that use mince 2 or 3 times a week and it's so versatile and it's across all species whether it's chicken, turkey, lamb, pork, beef or even kangaroo mince it's so versatile it's popular with all our customers.

"

Here you go beautiful mince." Bart says serving it up