Why Are Pasture Raised Meats More Expensive?

Most people want to buy it and support the idea of pasture raised meats but get sticker shock when they see the price of the product and just go back to buying the conventional beef that has the "organic" or "grass-fed" label on it. Many consumers don't realize how meat labeling can be very misleading. We asked an expert, Liz from Cunningham Pastured Meats the question many consumers wonder about it, "Why are pasture raised meats more expensive? Does it really cost that much more to raise a pastured animal?"


What is the biggest factor in price differences between pasture-raised meats and conventional meat?

Believe it or not, with the exception of chickens, it does not cost us much more to raise our animals on pasture than it does a feedlot to finish beef.

However, our scale and processing costs make all the difference. Did you know that there are 4 meatpackers in the US that own more than 80% of the meatpacking industry?! Did you also know that they are capable of processing between 21,000-29,000 animals every day!

The small processor that we use to package our meat processes only up to 50 animals a week. That's a big difference from 29,000 a day.

Obviously, there is big cost difference between a processing plant like that and a small processing facility like we use. 

To process a cow at a small scale processing facility is between 5-6 times more expensive than the big processing plants. 

Economies of scale are definitely not on our side for small facility processing. 

However, this is something that the big processing plants cannot provide...Security in your health and well-being. 

Let's be real. Large processing facilities that butcher 29,000 animals a day...Do you think they can really keep track and make sure that all the animals that are coming in are healthy? Do you think that the end product was processed completely safe?

We don't even have to speculate...It's on national news!!

In December, 5.1 millions of large industry meat was recalled due to salmonella contamination. There were other large-scale recalls in 2018 as well. 

So, the next time you go to Costco, Walmart or any major grocery store chain know that all the meat displayed is coming from the 4 major processing companies, even if it has grass-fed or organic written on the label. 

By using a small processing facility we know that our meat is safe and has gone through the proper steps to assure it's safe processing. 

And, all the animals are also processed and packaged separately. That means that in the unlikely event that meat is recalled it is extremely traceable, since every animal has a lot number that can be traced back to the day it was processed. There aren't 100 different cows in your hamburger...just one, clean and healthy cow. 

Cunningham Pastured Meats are located in the Boise area in Idaho. Their products are available for pick up or delivery and can be purchased through their website. If you don't live in the Treasure Valley, Idaho area. No need to fear you Buy Online.


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