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IGA tops table as Choice reveals best value hams

Murray Watt's warning to supermarkets over Christmas ham

Source: Murray Watt

Choice has declared this year’s top Christmas ham – giving the nod to the bargain-priced offering at IGA supermarkets.

In a blind taste test of ham at Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and IGA ahead of Christmas, Choice’s experts found the latter had the best combination of taste and value.

IGA’s ham scored 64 per cent on taste, with its comparatively cheap cost of $8 a kilogram helping it to an overall ham score of 73 per cent.

best hams 2023

“Christmas is an expensive time, and many people may be feeling the financial strain more than usual this year. If you’re looking for a Christmas ham that’s gentle on your wallet, we’ve got the answers for you,” Choice editorial director Mark Serrels said on Thursday.

“IGA has delivered a delicious and budget-friendly [ham] product.”

“It’s time for supermarkets to do their part and say one thing we won’t put up is the price of a Christmas ham,” he said.

The wooden spoon went to a Coles product – its “finest gold triple-smoked free-range quarter-leg ham” rated just 21 per cent among taste testers. It also costs a whopping $15 a kilo, three times the price of the IGA table-topper

“Our judges describe it as unpleasant and dry,” Serrels said of the ham.

Coles … [ham] price did not equal performance.”

Coles does have a cheaper ham called the “Christmas beachwood-smoked half-leg ham”, which sells for $8 a kilo. It rated 56 per cent in Choice’s ham stakes.

It lacked the qualities that allowed the IGA ham to win, including its “mild but pleasant taste” and “even fat distribution” throughout the ham.

Second-place finisher Woolworths, which sells a “Gold triple-smoked leg ham”, actually beat IGA on ham taste but was pipped for the overall award because it costs $16 a kilo.

That’s an awful lot for a family to pay for ham at Christmas, especially if they’re trying to make ham the centrepiece of their family lunches.

German supermarket giant Aldi, typically a dark horse in the ham awards, scored 63 per cent this year, with its “selected triple-smoked half-leg ham” retailing for $13.99 a kilo.

That’s cheaper than the premium ham options at both Woolworths and Coles, but still far more expensive than the ham IGA has been selling.

Aldi does have a cheaper ham called the “festive selection Australian half-leg ham”. It rated 49 per cent at a price of $7.99 a kilo.

Aldi is temporarily sweetening the deal on its festive ham, taking $10 off its total price at the register for three days. The promotion starts on Friday.

Earlier versions of this story had the price of the IGA ham at $5.59. Choice has since corrected the error.

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