Supermarket steak vs premium butcher's cut

CHOICE puts steak under the knife

Australians love a good steak, but with the cost of beef rising, how does supermarket beef stack up against cuts from specialised butchers?

CHOICE put steak from Aldi, Coles and Woolworths to the test against beef from a premium butcher and found that many cuts rated as high or almost as highly as the so-called choice cuts.

The experts rated Coles as having the best T-bone, Aldi the top rump and Woolworths the juiciest sirloin. The premium butcher scored the highest for its scotch fillet, and the blade steak scored evenly across all outlets.

"We tested six different cuts of steak - rump, sirloin, scotch fillet, T-bone, blade and eye fillet - and assessed them according to color, marbling and amount of fat," says Ingrid Just, Spokesperson for CHOICE.

"Despite some claims that supermarket butchers are inexperienced or poorly trained, the surprise result from our study was the impressive standard of the chain store cuts and the inconsistency in the quality of offering from the premium butcher."

However CHOICE testers agreed that understanding the jargon in labelling and knowing what to look when selecting your steak is a better way to guarantee quality.

New legislation means that claims such as 'grain-fed' or 'organic' must be accurateand proven. Meat Standards Australia (MSA) has developed labels that include a MSA grade ('tenderness guaranteed', 'premium tenderness' or 'supreme tenderness'), aging information and the cooking method for best results.

"Also remember that a good steak is one that is firm to touch and not slimy, has a bright red-cherry colour and even marbling. Another tip is to look at the colour of the bone - the whiter it is the fresher the cut,” said Ms Just.

For more information on what affects the eating quality of steak go to

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