The average American consumed almost 200 pounds of meat in 2014, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That’s a lot. The main four animals that make up American meat consumption are chickens, pigs, sheep, and cows — also known as “the big four.” Imagine then, that instead of going to the butcher shop or a meat market and buying burgers, you had a way to cut down on that “buy what I want when I want it” model and save money. That method exists.
Buy Meat in Bulk
It’s actually pretty simple: If you buy meat in bulk, you save money. Let’s say that your family really likes burgers and you eat beef roughly twice per week over the course of the year. Grass fed beef, which contains higher protein and lower fat levels than standard beef, is more expensive than regular beef. However, if you buy meat in bulk, you can get grass fed beef for prices that often beat standard beef at the store. For example, a quick Google search shows bulk meat online prices (for beef) ranging from about $3.50 – $6.00 per pound for grass fed beef. In stores, grass fed beef is typically $5.00 – $6.00 per pound, but buying from a bulk distributor often means getting fresher meat.
To buy meat in bulk is also to promote sustainability. Small farms are always looking to find ways to keep themselves competitive against mega-farm conglomerates which are increasingly taking over the country. Finding a small-time farm has an added sense of pride. In the United States, over 90% of beef farms are family-owned. However, the majority of beef sales come from the remaining 10%, often owned by huge, multi-state corporations.
Bulk meat purchases extend to animals other than cows, although the larger animals are more cost-effective to purchase in high quantities. Pork and sheep, since they’re larger, work on the same type of scale as beef, but chicken is a little trickier. With chicken you’re effectively committing to several chickens worth of meat or buying a 20-40 pound bag of drumsticks, breasts, or some other cut of the animal. With larger animals you can actually request the cuts of meat that you’re receiving or even just purchase an entire cow.
Saving money by buying in bulk is not a secret. It’s the reason that stores like Sam’s Club or Costco make billions of dollars per year. However, buying meat in bulk scares off many consumers. Don’t be shy — it’s a great way to save money and it will get you a product that’s been through less processing than the meat that’s gone through packaging and shipping companies on the way to a store.