Do you want to save money on groceries? Specifically, lower your beef prices? If so, you should think about buying a cow or buy half a cow for beef. Depending on where you usually grocery shop, you can save about $1,900 a year on beef. Plus, the beef tastes better and is healthier for you.
Comparing Beef Prices
About once a year we visit local, St. Louis grocery stores and compare our farm-fresh beef prices to stores.
This year we compared prices at three major grocery store retailers — Walmart, Whole Foods, and the leading St. Louis grocery store (if you’re in the St. Louis area, that means we visited either Dierbergs or Schnucks).
We’ll dive into more details below, but for those who want the cliff notes versions, here are the top two take-aways:
- Buying a cow or a half a cow will help you save money on groceries. You can save between $200-$1,900 on beef, depending on where you typically shop.
- If you’re not in the St. Louis area and can’t buy beef from us, be sure to shop around. Visit several different local stores and compare prices by cut. If you do, you’ll be surprised to learn that some stores are significantly more than others (and Whole Foods isn’t always the most expensive option).
Beef Prices by Cut
If you’re a numbers person and like lots of details, the next chart is for you. If you’re not a numbers person, don’t let this chart scare you. We explain how to read it in detail below.
This chart compares a whole beef (approximately 500 lbs) to local grocery stores.
As you can see in the far left column, we do our best to divide things into some cuts, but there are times we average it together. For example, we show price for ribeye steak, strip steak and and filet. However, we group all roasts together (and don’t show chuck roast, arm roast, round roast, etc) since often times the price per pound on these cuts is the same or similar at grocery stores.
Also, at a grocery store, you get the option of lots of different types of ground beef — 85/15, 90/10, grass fed, organic, etc. When you buy a cow from a farmer, you get one type of ground beef.
For the sake of our chart, we look at the average regular price of ground beef sold at that store, as well as, the ground beef that is most closely like what we sell with a whole beef. If our beef were sold in a grocery store, the label would say, Grass Fed. All Natural. Pasture Raised. No Hormones. 85-90% Lean.
Walking through the beef price comparison chart
Looking at the first row for roasts, if you purchase a whole beef from us, you will get approximately 125 lbs of roast. Clover Meadows Beef price for these roasts is $5.91/lb. Compared to a local grocery store it’s $9.62/lb for roast, Walmart is $6.39/lb, and Whole Foods is $7.99/lb.
Finally, let’s look at the very last “Total” line of the chart. With Clover Meadows Beef, you pay $6.40/lb for all cuts of grass fed beef. That means is $6.40/lb for filets, ribeye, roasts, brisket, etc. Comparatively, you pay $10.28/lb for all cuts of beef at a local grocery store, $7.06/lb at Walmart, and $9.51/lb at Whole Foods.
Please note: If you’re comparing our pricing with another farm, you must make sure you’re comparing the final packaged beef price, not hanging weight. At Clover Meadows Beef, our pricing is all-inclusive. We tell you what you’ll get for a specific price, and that’s what we deliver. We work directly with the USDA beef processor so you don’t have to, and we avoid terms like hanging weight because we think it can be incredibly confusing to those that are familiar with cattle. Get more details on our beef and how to buy a cow from a farmer here.
Beef Prices are Increasing
The other interesting fact about this study is that beef prices are definitely going up. You may have already noticed this with your personal budget, or seen news media report on this too. According to news reports, all food prices are going up, not just meat.
Specifically for beef prices, this increase is mainly due to processing fees by USDA approved meat processors. This year alone, we’ve seen a 22.5% percent increase in fees from our beef processor. That’s a huge increase.
We hope this comparison has been helpful.
The bottom line is if you want to save money on groceries and you want high quality grass fed beef with a variety of beef cuts, you should buy a cow.
If you’re someone who only eats ground beef and you buy it when low-cost grocery stores are running sales, you can likely beat our price, but you definitely won’t get the same quality.
We know buying a cow is a new concept for many people, so we walk you through how to buy a cow from a farmer.
Have a Question? Let us Know!
Do you have a question. Let us know. We’re here to help.
If you want to purchase from our farm, here’s a link to our online store.
We also have a weekly e-newsletter where we share about farm happenings, when our next beef availability is, and all things beef. When you do, you’ll get a cheat sheet with 9-must-ask questions before buying beef directly from a farmer.