Is lean beef mince worth the higher price compared to 'normal' mince?

I was asking myself this as I looked at the latest Coles ads touting huge discounts on mince. Looking at the various grades & package sizes, I couldn’t figure it out in my head at all, so I made a spreadsheet to do a proper comparison.
Coles lists the fat content for their various grades, so I calculated the price per kilo of lean meat that you get with the various grades:

It turns out that, as long as you’re making a dish where you can drain off the excess fat when you’re cooking your mince, the cheapest grade (in this case, the “Drovers” 1.9kg package) gives you the most lean meat for your dollar, so that’s what I bought. I’ll be breaking it up into 200gm portions & freezing them.
TL;DR: The leaner grades of mince are not worth the much higher price.
NB: For each grade of mince, I went with the largest pack sizes for that grade, because they were always the cheapest for that grade.

EDIT: I want to make it clear that I’m not saying that fat is evil or anything like that, this is purely about value for money. Lean meat is expensive. Fat is cheap, & easy to add.


We found that fat content, while subjective, is an important part of enjoying some mince meals, such as hamburgers. 5 star doesn’t work for lots of us and whether 3 or 4 star is better is personal opinion - the fat ads flavour.

We recently did BBQ with Drovers/3-star and the cleanup was epic in comparison to our preferred 4 star. Lots of flare ups and spatters everywhere.

The key is

and the corollary is there must be enough fat to make it tasty and moist rather than dry, but not so much it is dripping in fat.

It follows most products where beyond some point ‘incrementally better’ commands ‘exponentially higher’ prices.


The same with cased sausages, too little fat and they are dry. If you fancy keftas or chevapis ( Ćevapčići) (caseless sausages) the same applies but with the addition that the mix will not stick together as well so they tend to break up.

We do need to keep an eye on our consumption of fat, especially animal fat, but it does have a place in cuisine.

I like to be able to control the amount of fat in my food, but I certainly don’t want it to be 100% fat free either. For me, this was an exercise in getting value for money, in that lean meat is more expensive than fat, which is easy to add if I want more of it. I don’t barbecue, so clean up isn’t an issue for me. I generally use mince for Mexican dishes or for pasta sauce.

Fat is like like salt, in that it’s easy to add, but hard or impossible to remove. That’s why cooks use unsalted butter; it’s not to make a salt-free dish, it’s to control the salt levels in the final result.

There are other views :wink:

Maybe, often it is because they read somewhere that real cooks use unsalted butter but don’t know why.

You only need to control the amount of salt by adding it yourself if either the salted butter would make your dish too salty or if you have no idea how salty a given block of butter is. In practice neither of these things are true very often, or ever.

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@nop I just re-read this thread and realised that I was contributing to it being hijacked. My apologies, your spreadsheet is interesting and useful and I should not have started going in another direction - twice.


I buy my mince from an independent butcher. There’s only one grade-no lean or regular. I do pay a little more than I used to at Coles, but everything I’ve made is moist without being overly fatty. The main thing I’ve noticed is that the butcher’s mince doesn’t produce horrible orange oil/fat when cooked.



Not only does the fat on meat NOT contribute to obesity, not also means you feel fuller for longer. Carbohydrate meals fill you up for a short period of time but then you want to eat again. Fat content has a significant satiety effect.

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If you have a good butcher nearby, buy a whole topside and get them to mince it, or mince it yourself at home. I used to do this when I was on a low fat diet until the butcher tried ripping me off. They usually won’t mince it immediately, so you have to trust that the topside you paid for is what you’re getting


I’m happy to pay the higher price for the leaner mince. I find that it tastes better, less greasiness and it is better health wise to have less animal fats (cholesterol issue for some). I have used the ‘regular’ packs and the bulk packs from Coles. This is my conclusion after cooking and eating the same dishes using all of the differing grades of mince; preference for the use of the leaner version. (I also drained excess fat when required)


Fat is the highest energy food as measured by kilojoules per gram. One cause of obesity is consuming more energy in your food than you burn through activity. Can you explain how fat does not contribute to obesity?

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I use Aldi mince – I never usually buy the 5star mince - I like the 4star as it is not so lean and in my opinion ends up tasty. However just recently for some unknown reason Aldi has swapped the packaging on 4star to a squashy plastic instead of being in a tray and I don’t like it. Doesn’t travel well, or stack well in the freezer. No explanation offered as to why they have done this. Last week I just avoided the awful packaging and went for 5 star which is still in tray packaging which I am probably going to regret. Aldi lamb/pork mince is very nice and makes excellent meat balls.


Do you mean like a bag?

went for 5 star which is still in tray packaging

Maybe you could grate some lard into the mince to bring the fat balance to your preference.

I’ve never liked greasy food, right back from when I was a kid. This may be why, even now that I’m pushing 60 & way too sedentary (due to ill-health), my cholesterol levels are excellent. Ideally, I’d buy 4 star mince, because that’s a good balance between lean & fat for my personal taste, but wow, the price premium on it is ridiculous. So I’m willing to buy the cheaper mince & cook it in ways that allow me to get rid of the excess fat.

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The bulls or cows head so to speak.

Open to suggest this is not all you need to know.

  • On flavour alone does all regular beef mince taste the same?
  • Is there more to take account of with butcher’s choices of cut, breed and past feed influencing the quality/taste of the fat rendered?
  • Is premium mince more likely to have a consistent flavour with less variation from the included fat - hence a better choice for certain recipes?

Is value measured by more than weight of meat/protein content?

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