Making a profit on water
All the products in our test were wet-cured and contained at least some extra water (see the table for details).
The hams with most meat (more than 90%) and least added water (6% or less) were:
PRIMO Leg Ham Double Smoked
DANDY Shaved Premium Leg Ham
PRIMO Leg Ham Honey Cured
PRIMO Premium Leg Ham Shaved
COURTWAY Continental Double Smoked Leg Ham (Aldi)
COURTWAY Continental Leg Ham (Aldi)
WOOLWORTHS Deli Leg Ham (a pre-packaged ‘grab and go’ product from the deli counter) was the standout that contained the least meat (53%) and the most added water (38%).
Expensive hams not necessarily better
You might think it would be the cheaper hams that contain the most added water, but on average this isn’t the case. It seems that some manufacturers are making extra profit by selling water for the price of meat. When we worked out what you’re paying for the water we were stunned to find 11 products where it was costing about $26 per 750 mL (the usual size of a bottle of wine). You’d pay more for French champagne but there are some very good Australian bubblies at this price.
Cheaper ham at the deli counter
We only tested packaged ham but we checked prices and found that plenty of varieties of sliced ham sold loose at the deli counter were much cheaper than their prepackaged equivalents. And at the deli counter you can choose ham that’s been cut from the bone — so at least you know it’s not manufactured from small pieces of processed meat that have been stuck together. Even ham cut from the bone is cheaper (at about $2.30 per 100 g) than many of the packaged hams we tested.
Four of the packaged hams, WOOLWORTHS Honey Leg Ham, WOOLWORTHS Double Smoked Leg Ham, WOOLWORTHS Premium Lite Leg Ham and WOOLWORTHS Deli Leg Ham, were packed in the store from ham also sold loose at the deli counter.