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Groceries for the great Aussie BBQ: is Aldi, Coles or Woolies cheaper?

 We compare the price of a basket of barbecue essentials.

bbq utensils and shopping basket
Last updated: 01 November 2019

Summer in Australia means it's barbecue season. 

And whether it's a backyard barbecue or an impromptu barbie at the beach, it's fair to say most of us will spend many weekends feasting on an assortment of snags, lamb chops and salads while catching up with friends and family. 

But hosting the great Aussie barbecue doesn't have to mean a great big price tag. 

We carried out a price spot check on 13 barbecue essentials from Aldi, Coles and Woolworths to find out which has the best buys.

And the cheapest basket is …

Aldi – their basket cost just $59.57. That's 17% less than the most expensive basket. 

The total basket cost for Coles and Woolworths was close, with Woolies coming in at $1.20 cheaper than Coles.

The difference between the cheapest and most expensive basket is just $12.63, but every little bit helps. And if you're buying multiple items, or end up throwing several barbecues over summer, those savings will only rise.

What's in the basket?

  • Thin sausages (1.8kg) 
  • Beef burgers (500g)
  • Lamb loin chops (1kg)
  • Brown onions (1kg)
  • Coleslaw salad (500g or closest)
  • Potato salad (500g or closest)
  • Tasty cheese slices (500g)
  • Corn chips (200g or closest)
  • Mild salsa (300g)
  • Burger buns (6 pack)
  • Hot dog rolls (6 pack)
  • Sliced white bread (650g)
  • Tomato sauce (500ml)

How we conducted our price spot check

We created our shopping list of 13 items based on common foods for a barbecue, taking into account availability on the day we shopped. 

We didn't include fresh foods such as tomatoes, lettuce or mushrooms, as prices can vary hugely depending on the season and where people live.

We then compared Aldi's prices in store for these items with the cheapest own-label option of the equivalent pack size or quantity on the Coles and Woolworths websites. 

For fair comparison, we collected prices on the same day.

australian made logo label

Salsa was the only product on our list that wasn't Australian made in either Aldi, Coles or Woolies.

Country of origin

All three supermarkets tied for having the most number of products (12) that were labelled either 'Made in Australia' or 'Australian grown'.

Aldi, Coles and Woolies each had just one product on our grocery list that was made overseas: 

  • Aldi Mild Salsa – Belgium
  • Coles Mild Salsa  – New Zealand
  • Woolworths Mild Salsa  – Belgium.

How to barbecue lamb loin chops

  1. Preheat the barbecue on medium heat for 5 minutes with the hood down.
  2. Prepare the room-temperature lamb chops, rubbing each chop with a little oil, and season. 
  3. Cook 4–5cm-thick lamb chops on the chargrill plate or the hotplate with the hood closed for 3–4 mins each side for medium or 5–6 mins for well done, turning a couple of times.
  4. Allow the lamb chops to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

"Lamb chops are made up of the loin, tenderloin and have some belly fat attached," says CHOICE home economist Fiona Mair. 

"The fat is necessary to keep the lamb moist when cooking, so keep it on.

"Lamb loin chops are a lean cut of meat so take care when cooking as the meat can easily become dry and tough."

cooking lamb chops on the bbq

"Lamb loin chops are a lean cut of meat so take care when cooking as the meat can easily become dry and tough."

Fiona's cooking tips

  • Before cooking, allow the lamb chops to reach room temperature. This will help the meat cook evenly.  
  • Lamb can be marinated in a bag with oil, lemon juice, dried oregano salt and pepper, or rosemary and garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice when cooked.
  • The layer of fat on the lamb chops can cause flare ups, so move the chops away from the direct flame if this happens.
  • Keep the hood down when preheating the barbecue – it'll heat up faster.
  • Keeping the hood down also speeds up cooking times and helps cook food more evenly.
RELATED: How cook perfect sausages on the barbecue
We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.