Meat Survey

Reporter: Graeme Butler

Take the devastating east coast floods a drought here in the west and a soaring Australian dollar and it spells troubled times ahead at the checkout."It has started to hit the hip pocket of retailers but I think a lot of them because it's January, February and things are quiet are very reluctant to pass on those losses and they're holding on for what's' coming cause there's more losses coming" Master Butcher Vince Gareffa says the real pain in the pocket of consumers is yet to hit.

Today Tonight has gone back to butchers and supermarkets to check meat prices since our last survey a little over a year ago prices have mostly gone up but there were a few surprises remember this is a price survey only it doesn't compare quality.

First we checked Lamb Loin Chops

The Average Price was $20.16 kg that's up $1.70

The Cheapest we found was George Butchers in Tuart Hill at $16.50 a kilo

Vince says "you can take a beautiful loin lamb chop and cut it naturally and sell it for 15 or 16 dollar and it's got all the tail all the excess far and all the excess bone or you can do as many of the glamour shops do trim off 80% of that excess fat 80% of that excess bone cut the tail very very short"

For Beef BBQ Sausages

The Average Price was $7.01 a kilo that's up $1.43

The Cheapest we found at the time of survey was Woolworths in Willetton at $4.50kg - obviously quality is a big factor with sausages

Vince says "sausages by law can be made legally with up to 50% other than meat in there so it's important to know who your supplier is how well they're going in the national competitions with sausages and how many times you ask the question my families on a health kick how low in fat are these"

Next we checked the price of Skinless Chicken Breast

The Average was $14.60 a kilo that's up $0.55

The Cheapest - IGA Gosnells at $10.99kg

Vince says "chicken breast has had to go up because grain has had to go up. The moment grain gets affected badly chicken, Pork, Beef are very strong competitors for those products and so chicken has gone up remember that is mass produced chicken"

The big surprise was the cost of beef; T-bone steak had an Average Price of $19.69 that was down $1.17 on our last survey. The Cheapest was Avon Valley Beef at $14.99kg but you had to buy 1 kilo.

"For consumers in the short term particularly this winter they face increasing prices however supply will sort that out as well as the price rises there are people that will go to other products" Rob Gillum is president of the pastoralists and graziers association - he says the price of beef has certainly been falling but it's turned around and we could see rapid and prolonged price increases. "We've seen excess of a hundred thousand cattle go to the eastern states so that is lessened our number of cattle which would be here locally but most of those have been breeding cattle so the effect of will flow on in the next 12 months maybe even two years"

In line with the lower Beef price Mince was down also,

The Average Price $11.31 a kilo a fall of $1.71

The Cheapest was Avon Valley Beef at $8.99 but that was in a 5kg buy.

Vince says "I think at this time of year quite a few people are using mince as a loss leader again it doesn't dictate how much far it has got in it and you really know what it is you're buying but when the pennies are low are you're battling a budget problem maybe a cheap mince even though it does leak a but of fat is really the way you're gong to manage"

Over all our Basket Price with the ups and downs hasn't changed a lot, in Oct 2009 it averaged $71.97. This month it was $72.77 just 80cents more. Vince's tip "start learning to budget, start learning to eat a little less we've all been spoilt with how much meat we eat in our daily career only three or four times a week is what you meed to have to have a good balanced diet and learn slow cooking and make that $10 worth of meat go a long way"