Sydney butcher outraged over Coles nicking his Vegemite sausages

Aletha Wilkinson

The news that Coles is launching a range of lamb, cheese and Vegemite sausages has come as a source of excitement for many – but not Joe Bolton.

The butcher from Tender Gourmet Butchery at Eastgate Shopping Centre in Sydney's Bondi Junction, has been selling cheese and Vegemite snags for around six years.

And he's pretty confident the sausage brains at Coles have taken inspo from his work.

"They're just stealing someone else's idea and making it a little bit different," Joe tells Be.

Coles' lamb, cheese and Vegemite sausages. Source: Coles Australia

But Joe says there's no chance Coles' offering will ever beat his own for quality.

"They do a fantastic job, but they can't do what we do," he explains. "[Coles' sausages are] mass-produced and they don't natural skins on their sausages. They're using a collagen product, it's a beef product make of rendered fat.

"I'd go on the record to say competition is good, but the meat that goes into our sausages is completely different. You can't even compare. We use muscle, we don't put in whole carcass."

However, Coles dispute this and say their "Lamb, Vegemite and Cheese sausages are made with natural casing and not made of rendered fat" and that they do "not use the whole carcass in our sausages, we use the same cuts of meat that butchers do."

They also say their sausages are made from "our own recipe created with the team at Vegemite".

Tender Gourmet Butcher's beef, cheese and Vegemite sausages. Source: Supplied

Butcher Joe admits the traffic from Coles supermarket opposite his store is a boon.

"It's a catch-22," he says. "Yes, they undercut us and probably don't put the best things into their products, but it's a different market and it gets people coming through the centre. We will never be able to match them on the buying power, but that's not what we're about."

Andrew Green from the Hornsby branch of Tender Meats is completely unsurprised.

"Coles, they try everything don't they," he tells Be.

"It's flattering if the big guys like that are trying to copy us. You get other butchers coming in and they go back to their shop and try to do it. If they do it as good as us? That's the thing to be seen. They can try but usually it doesn't come off quite as good."

Tender Gourmet Butcher at Sydney's Eastgate. Source: Eastgate Shopping Centre

The final word?

"It's a very popular sausage, especially around Australia Day."

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