Best Christmas hams, prawns and desserts to buy
Australians are buying portions of supermarket meat as the cost of Christmas adds up, and consumers look for more convenient options.
New data from a customer survey conducted by Coles on behalf of News Corp found a fifth of more than 2200 shoppers are cutting back on meat, as sales on picnic hams and boneless portions have grown by more than 10 per cent this year across all states.
Those buying a ham on the bone will pay from $7.50-$8.99 a kilo if they shop at Coles, Woolworths or ALDI.
Hams have also just been slashed in supermarkets by up to $10 on the total price in some cases until Christmas Eve and those buying portions can expect to pay between $11-$13 a kilo.
The move to smaller portions comes as celebrity chef Curtis Stone called on consumers to buy Australian, after Coles data revealed just 64.6 per cent of shoppers cared if their food was made locally, and 50 per cent looked for Australian made products.
"Aussie farmers have been doing it so tough so my advice is to enjoy lots of their delicious fresh produce that they've been working so hard to produce," he told News Corp.
Butchers say devoted meat eaters have still been buying up top quality hams - with many sold out as they secure local hams amid concern about African Swine Fever.
Australian butcher master Adam Stratton, who is also captain of Team Australia for the 2020 World Butcher Challenge, told News Corp he has seen close to 50 per cent of customers order hams to glaze for up to $20 a kilo.
"People are not holding back, they are a bit worried about the virus overseas and have ordered ahead to get their ham," he said.
He said they are also lapping up a bone of rolled pork loin with or without stuffing and scored for crackling at $25 a kilo, traditional turkeys and portions of turkey breast rolled and stuffed at $20-$25 a kilo.
"I can't believe how much everyone going for the boneless turkey breast - it's the red hot thing at the moment," he said.
Overall, many consumers are also opting for vegan options with plant-based products growing at 30 per cent year on year at Coles, as more seek out meat alternatives.
Coles' new plant based roast is performing above expectation, and Woolworths have also introduced more than 10 plant-based products this week to help shoppers with guests with requirements.
Seafood is also expected to be big next week as a "robust" season from Queensland, the Northern Territory, NSW, South Australia and Western Australia has meant there are plenty of local prawns.
Queensland Seafood Marketers Association President Marshall Betzel told News Corp there's no reason why shoppers shouldn't be buying local prawns.
"The cheapest are Endeavour prawns for under $20 a kilo, but also look for the green banana, tiger and king prawns from farms or wild caught," he said.
Stone also said those looking for shortcuts should opt for fresh sustainable locally sourced seafood and keep it simple.
"Not everyone is after a big traditional spread! Fresh prawns in a pan or on the barbie and season.
"A tossed salad is perfectly acceptable if you don't have time to roast vegetables."
For dessert, pudding, pavlova and mince pies are proving to be popular staples among supermarket shoppers.
Mangoes and cherries are also in season with good crops from dry weather.
Australian Mango Industry Association CEO Robert Gray said consumers can expect to see quality fruit at low prices of $2-$3 each leading into Christmas, thanks to increased crop sizes.
At $13.80 a kilo, Cherry Growers Australia President Tom Eastlake said cherries are large, "high quality" and will sell out fast.
"With low rainfall, high sunlight there's a high concentration of sugars in cherries now … and they're really firm - but there's a lower yield so don't wait to buy them," he said.
Stone's tip for buying the best produce is to give it a good sniff.
"Smell your fruit - it's the best way to understand it! If it smells flavoursome - you're good!," he said.