Wisdom, Rants, Thoughts
Comments 13

Do you read labels?

I actually enjoy grocery shopping because I don’t spend a long time reading labels. Shopping would take longer and be more of a chore if I had to read the label of every item. I generally have products I know and trust and those I never read the ingredients list on, things like steak, bananas, butter etc.

A bargain…?

We usually buy our meat at the butchers because of the price and quality. Our local supermarket more expensive and the quality is not as good, but we recently shopped at a discount supermarket (the yellow and black kind) and I was amazed that the meat was half price or less. That should have been a warning, but the bargain hunter in me said, “Woohoo! A meaty bargain!!!”.

I bought a package of “steak” at the discount supermarket. The “sirloin” was on special at $10 per kg, so thinking I had eyed up a fantastic deal, I bought a pack. Sirloin steak at our local butchery is $25.95 per kg, so that should have triggered alarm bells.

The Error

When I got home, I realised my error. The “steak” lists 12 ingredients. It says “sirloin” on the packaging but the word “steak” is never mentioned. Not once. On unwrapping, there was a weird pink coating on the meat and when cooked it has soft texture of ham. No steak knife required. No doubt it’s pumped full of water and filler to make the beer heavier, hence the cheap price.

At $10 per kg, I can see how this could be appealing to people who can’t afford steak, but is it a bargain? I don’t think so.

Lesson learned

If it looks like steak, still check for the word steak and if it has more ingredients than you have dinners in a week, then it’s probably not steak!

Seafood counter

Now, there was some good that came out of the visit. On my parent’s recommendation, I also checked out their seafood counter. The salmon fillets I bought was actually very good. An astonishing number of bones for fillet, but good quality South Island salmon at an amazing price. I suppose they leave the bones in to justify the price low. Next time I’ll just have to check for pin bones prior to cooking.

I didn’t check the ingredients list though. I hope it was: “Ingredients: salmon fillet, may contain bones”.


  1. That’s terrible! I’m super fussy with meat and try to only buy organic (I don’t eat much meat so this is totally doable). What butchers do you go to?

    • Hi Hayley, we go to Westmere. We buy about month’s worth at a time. They have bulk discounts on a few items which makes it very economical as long as we clear some space in the freezer first!

  2. Thanks for the warnings, will definitely be more aware of these kinds of things. Salmon was justifiable but that steak… sounds borderline illegal..

  3. Hope you’re doing alright, Genie. Never knew they could do that! This is really ‘hmmm’ stuff.

    • Yes, we are fine, just caught us off guard. As long as people fail to read labels, there will be someone else pulling a fast one.

  4. I have encounted that as well. I’m in the US and it seems like there is food related concerns in the news all the time. I have become a little more agressive about lables, but mostly on things I don’t use regularly. You just know I will look even more closely at meat now as well as some of my regular stuff. I miss going to a butcher on a weekly basis and have started making my own ground meats, just so I know whats in it. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Rachel G says

    Wow–I do read ingredient lists but I’ve never come across a long ingredient list for what ought to be plain old meat! That is not good!

    • Hi Rachel, that is exactly how I felt about it. I felt like I had been tricked into buying something that wasn’t what it seemed. Sure, it said plainly on the packaging that it was not steak and listed the ingredients but next time I’m going to double check that the “steak” actually says “steak” and doesn’t have more than 1 ingredient.

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