It has always seemed strange to us that organic or grass fed meat is so much more expensive than meat grown in an industrial setting. The input costs are much less in grass fed system; there is no grain to grow or buy, no fertilisers, no herbicides or pesticides, no frowth hormones and, in the case of feedlots, much less infrastructure cost and no waste removal costs, yet the price is usually 25 – 50 percent higher. Organic accreditation can be an expensive business, but that doesn’t justify such a huge price increase. So with this in mind we have compared the price of our packs with two major supermarket chains and a butcher.
Based on the average weight of each cut from our last few steers, the price at the supermarkets for our $200 beef pack was just over $250. This is for basic (not branded, grass fed or organic) beef, which is a 3-4 year old bullock, grown out in a feedlot, with all the problems associated with that. If we take the branded, oragainc or grass fed meat, which is yearling beef and a much better quality meat, the price is just over $300. From the two butcher shops we got prices from, (these butchers were selling top quality yearling beef) the price was between $270 and $280.
For lamb the supermarket price was again just over $250 for our $200 lamb pack and the butcher shop price was also $250.
I think the difference between our price and the older grain fed beef and lamb is about right, as it requires a lot more inputs to grow meat in this way, but the grass fed meat really should be cheaper, not more expensive.