By Kerri Kapernick.
The produce in good supply and the food that could be hard to get may shape what Christmas dinner tables look like this year.
As a general rule, the better the supply the cheaper prices will be, with some exceptions.
Here is a guide to what is good value, and what you may only get just a taste of — if you are prepared to pay big dollars.
Ham — competitive market
Ham on the bone is one Christmas food favourite that will give consumers good value, despite the high demand, at this time of the year.
Pork Queensland president John Coward said retailers did their best to entice consumers in the lead-up to Christmas.
“Even at the busiest time of the year, consumers still get the benefit of competitive prices,” he said.
“It’s always a competitive market.”
He said we could expect to pay around $7 per kilogram for ham on the bone, with double-smoked ham from a specialty butcher up around $9/kg.
Mr. Coward said prices had not changed much over the past five years, but that did not necessarily put the squeeze on producers.
“It hasn’t degenerated into what we saw with the milk price war,” he said.
“Retailers negotiate ahead of time and they know they need to keep producers happy.”
Consumers who buy ham on the bone, as opposed to processed ham and bacon, can be sure they are buying Australian-grown produce.
Mr Coward said this was because of tighter laws surrounding the importation of bone products.
The good news is, if you have not already bought your Christmas ham on the bone, it is not too late.
“There are still ample supplies,” Mr Coward said.
Turkey — ’tis the season
‘Tis the season for turkeys, with one poultry farmer estimating up to 75 per cent of turkeys grown in Australia are sold into the Christmas market.
Australia’s turkey industry is worth about $200 million per year, and come the festive season, sales are at their highest.
But that figure is small fry compared to the United States where the industry is worth close to $5.71 billion a year.
John Watson from the Australasian Turkey Federation said the big bird is just not as popular year-round in Australia.
“The big majority of customers will only buy turkey once a year,” he said.
Mr Watson encouraged people to go to their friendly butcher for their Christmas turkey.
“Some of the larger chains tend to sell the products very cheap, they’re even prepared to make a loss, just to get customers through the door,” he said.
“But there’s nothing like that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with visiting your friendly butcher for the real thing.”
He said a fair price for farmers and the consumer was about $15 per kilogram for a 5kg free range bird, ready for the oven.