In July 2022, the USDA stated that grass-fed beef averages about $7 per pound (½ kg) for an entire cow purchase. The highest-priced cut in stores is tenderloin, averaging around $42 per pound. The cheapest way to buy grass-fed beef is a whole cow, online box subscription, or local grocery store sales.
Currently, based on my research, one of the cheapest online stores to obtain grass-fed beef is at grasslandbeef.com. Just keep in mind, that prices across various sources can fluctuate monthly or even daily. I will list a few recommended sources later in the article, be sure to shop around to find the best deals.
Read further to learn more about the chaotic prices of the beef market and how to stay cost savvy when stocking your freezer. This article will explain the cost of grass-fed and grain-fed beef, where to get the best deals and prices, and if it’s worth it.
Prices of Grass-Fed Beef vs. Grain-Fed Beef
Beef prices have skyrocketed since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. Between 2021 and 2022, beef prices have risen by 20%.
The price of beef depends on where you live and the type of beef you purchase. Grass-fed beef will be higher priced than grain-fed beef.
The following is a countrywide average price comparison of grass-fed beef (according to the USDA in July 2022) and grain-fed beef (according to USDA in August 2022):
|Beef Cut||Grass-Fed Average Price Per Pound (0.45kg)||Grain-Fed Average Price Per Pound (0.45kg)|
Remember that this is the average cost across the country, and that prices will differ depending on your location. The difference between grain and grass-fed costs can also vary depending on location, and many people have reported that grass-fed beef is about $1.50 to $3 more expensive in their area.
Grocery Stores With the Lowest Meat Prices
The following grocery stores typically have the lowest meat prices, whether it’s on sale or priced normally:
- Sam’s Club
It’s also worth checking weekly for new sale ads and coupons to save even more on your meat purchases.
Online Companies With Lower Beef Prices
Many people have started ordering beef online for price and convenience. There are monthly subscriptions and memberships you can sign up for to optimize savings and give you access to promotions. Most companies also offer free shipping and sign-on bonuses.
The following companies offer subscriptions with meat deals:
- Good Chop: This company delivers American-based beef, chicken, and pork by working with farmers and ranchers around the country. They also offer seafood caught along the U.S. coastline. Each box is customizable, and you can pause or cancel at any time. Go here to learn more about them.
- Thrive Market: This company not only offers grass-fed beef but an array of other healthy foods at wholesale prices. Click here to see their latest offers on grass-fed beef. You can sign up for a Thrive Market membership to obtain these healthy boxes. They normally have promotions for signing up, and you can cancel your membership at any time.
- ButcherBox: You may have seen their commercials on TV offering promotions for signing up. Their current promotion is an added 2 lbs (0.9 kg) of chicken breasts for each box for a year. They also have different package options for individuals up to large families, with savings that bring the price down to about $6 per meal.
- U.S. Wellness Meats: This company, Grassland Beef, goes back to the original roots of farming by offering meat from naturally-raised cows, chickens, and pigs. You can add other products to your box, such as raw honey, bone broth, and ready-to-eat meals. The boxes are customizable, and you’ll save 10% on each box by signing up for a subscription.
Is Grass-Fed Beef Worth the Price?
Grass-fed beef is worth the price if you want beef that’s healthier, more flavorful, and leaner. Grass-fed beef contains natural nutrients like vitamins and antioxidants. If you’re more concerned with price, grain-fed beef is a cheaper option but comes with synthetic additives and hormones.
Grass-fed beef is more natural and healthier because of the following:
- The cows are only provided with natural food like grass and hay.
- The meat is naturally packed with more nutrients and vitamins.
- The saturated fat levels are substantially lower than regular grain-fed beef.
- It’s leaner and typically has less marbling than grain-fed beef.
- During processing, there are little to no additives included.
The following are characteristics of conventional, grain-fed beef:
- The cows are fed grains to increase their weight and make them sell at a higher price.
- Many synthetic additives like flavoring, and curing agents are added to the beef. Antioxidants are usually added to the beef and the cow’s diet.
- Synthetic hormones are implanted to increase the growth rate and to bulk up the cow.
- There is less natural flavoring, vitamins, and other nutrients that beef should contain.
- The unhealthy fat content is higher.
For more, don’t miss The 14 Best Types of Steak for Kabobs.
Does Grass-Fed Beef Taste Better?
Grass-fed beef is known to taste better because it has a stronger meat taste. Some people don’t like the taste, but there are ways to cook it to lessen the intense flavor. If you add stock and vegetables, you can enjoy the natural flavor of grass-fed beef without a “gamier” taste.
How Much Does a Grass-Fed Cow Sell For?
A grass-fed cow typically sells for about $7 per pound of hanging weight. You can also purchase half a cow at an average of $8 per pound of hanging weight. There are also processing fees for the butchering and packaging on top of the cow cost.
When buying an entire grass-fed cow, many people decide to split the cost with friends or family members, and share the meat.
When purchasing a large portion of a cow for processing, you can choose how you want it cut, such as in steaks, ground beef, etc. For example, with a 1200 lb (544 kg) carcass, you’ll have about 720 lbs (327 kg) of meat to be prepared in your cut of choice.
The cost is determined by the hanging weight with the unfinished cuts of meat on the cow. The hanging weight includes parts you may not even eat, such as the hooves.
The following figures are also from the USDA report for July 2022 on the price of grass-fed beef for a whole, half, and quarter cow per pound of hanging weight:
|Grass-Fed Beef Carcass||Price Per Pound||Average Price|
|Whole||$5.75 – 8.50||$7.22|
|Half||$5.90 – 11.25||$8.07|
|Quarter||$5.99 – 11.75||$9.12|
For example, with a 1200 lb (544 kg) cow, the hanging weight will be about 60% of the cow after all the blood and organs are removed. That leaves about 720 lbs (327 kg) at the cost of $7 per pound totaling $5,040 for the whole cow.
Processing fees will be added to the cost of the cow for cutting and packaging the meat. These fees vary, so it’s best to do your research before deciding to go ahead.
The Beef Market Outlook
Going into 2023, the USDA projects beef prices will continue to increase for a third year in a row. The price rise prediction is because there was a slight drop in the percentage of available beef cows to slaughter during the second half of 2022. There are also fewer heifers giving birth, which means fewer cows born to slaughter going into 2023.
From 2020 to 2022, the average price of beef has soared beyond belief. Meat production and distribution are challenged with keeping up with customer demands around the country. Grass-fed beef has always been a bit more expensive than conventional beef, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice taste and health to save money.
You can save money on grass-fed beef by subscribing to an online delivery service, using coupons and sales from your local grocer, or buying a whole cow from a local farmer.
For more, check out What Is the Best Quality Beef in the World?
Hey, I’m Jim, and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up, I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!