Why Is Beef Jerky So Expensive?

If you’ve ever needed the best beef jerky, you’ve certainly noticed that the price of this snack food item is much more than the price of other types of snack foods. Several factors contribute to the high cost of jerky and other meat snacks. That’s because the manufacturing expenses significantly impact the price point, which is true of any business strategy.

This is also the case with jerky since the ever-increasing expenses of beef have been a contributing factor in the jerky’s high price.

Most jerky items are crafted not just from high-quality beef but also from certain parts of the animal that are low in fat and rich in meat.

In this article, we’ll see why beef jerkies are expensive.

So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Why Is Beef Jerky So Expensive?

Why Is Beef Jerky So Expensive?
Why Is Beef Jerky So Expensive?

One of the few negative aspects of beef jerky is its relatively expensive cost. This is ultimately a more pricey snack than the majority of others. Naturally, it also has a higher nutritional value and energy content than most snacks, so your investment is not wasted.

Many elements go into why beef jerky is so expensive. However, the following seven are among the most important ones:

  1. Cows are expensive
  2. Land is expensive
  3. Beef jerky requires a long processing time
  4. Dehydration causes shrinkage and loss of weight
  5. Government regulations
  6. Shipping costs
  7. Jerky usually contains lean meat, which is more expensive

Cows Are Expensive

You probably already know that makers make beef jerky from beef and that cattle are the source of meat, but you may not be aware of how pricey a cow can be. For example, one cow normally costs between $1000 and $2000. So it takes a significant financial commitment to grow large amounts of beef for the business, and individuals involved must make back their investment.

Each cow will provide 400–600 pounds of meat when killed. It takes around two pounds of meat to create one pound of jerky. The makers make 200–300 pounds of dry jerky from 400–600 pounds of raw beef. This implies that the company is spending around $2 per pound only for the cows, without including the cost of their food, water, and medical attention, assuming that the cow weighs 1000 pounds.

Land Is Expensive

It would be best if you had land to rear cows. Extensive herds need large pastures since people advise having at least one acre of land for each cow. This land is often expensive. Consider the cost of farming in Texas, for instance, since Texas produces more cattle than any other state in the US. The costs are extremely high.

Beef Jerky Requires A Long Processing Time

A tiny dehydrator needs roughly five hours to dry a small batch of jerky before it is ready. Therefore, we may predict that a sizable batch in a large industrial dehydrator would likely take roughly the same time. The amount of time needed to supervise and support this time-consuming procedure rises. The manufacturer must keep the jerky under close observation since it will deteriorate if left in the dehydrator for too long.

Dehydration Causes Shrinkage And Loss Of Weight

You should be aware that almost half of the steak you see when you look at it at the grocery store is water. According to a chemical analysis, meat contains between 45 and 60 percent water by volume. However, we may predict that beef will lose around half its size and weight when subjected to a dehydration procedure because flesh loses most of its water throughout the process.

Because they have to use a lot to obtain a little, this causes the producer to raise the price of the product. So they have to find a way to cover those additional expenses when they lose half of their goods during processing. So the rules of supply and demand are reflected in the pricing as usual.

Government Regulations

The USDA regulates beef jerky manufacturing since it is produced from cows and has grouped with dairy goods. As a result, manufacturers must observe many rules and go through frequent inspections to ensure that they follow them.

This situation calls for more frequent inspections. Businesses often need to recruit whole teams of professionals to build compliance strategies. However, the corporation will incur some expenses due to the USDA implementing these strategies. Hence, this is another expense that makers must include in the pricing.

Shipping Costs

Manufacturers of beef jerky must pay for this additional expense. Transporting raw materials to the production and the completed products to the retail locations both cost money. Imagine paying the gasoline expenditures of a refrigerated semi-truck carrying raw meat traveling from one end of the nation to the other.

Jerky Is Usually Made From Lean Meat

You must be cautious about removing all the fat before producing beef jerky. Unfortunately, fat does not dry properly and might taint the whole batch. However, beef jerky producers often use the leanest meat to reduce this danger. This contributes to the health benefits of beef jerky. Because of the jerky-making procedure, these businesses must utilize high-quality beef that isn’t fatty or chemically treated. Such meat wouldn’t make very flavorful jerky.

Is It Cheaper to Make Your Own Beef Jerky?

Is It Cheaper to Make Your Own Beef Jerky?

Making jerky is, first and foremost, more affordable. You can produce 18 servings of beef jerky for as low as $10 after you have all the necessary ingredients. The cost of making beef jerky may increase if consumers choose pricey components. However, most ingredients are something that many homes already have in their kitchens.

Making your beef jerky has additional advantages, like the ability to customize the flavors to your tastes and eliminate allergies and cross-contamination.

How Much Does It Cost to Make Beef Jerky?

How Much Does It Cost to Make Beef Jerky?
How Much Does It Cost to Make Beef Jerky?

Manufacturing any jerky entails significant financial investment. When beef is dried, the bulk of the weight is lost because beef contains around 60 percent water. Therefore, to produce 1 pound of jerky, around 2.5 pounds of high-quality beef are required.

Manufacturers trim the “round” cut of beef used to make traditional jerky to a condition known in the cattle industry as “denuded.” Denuded rounds often cost $5 or so per pound. The denuded rounds are then cut into pieces that range in thickness from 1/4″ to 3/8″ and put in a vacuum tumbler with spices and water. The high-quality beef jerky recipe takes time to prepare.

The beef’s price rises due to this step’s flavor, seasoning, and processing time. The most expensive element is now to come: cooking. While cooking, make two slices of beef, one in each direction. As you’re cooking it, the meat will quickly lose about half its weight as it exits the smoke stack.

This implies that $5.00 rounds are worth much more than $10.00 a pound, and we haven’t even included packaging or labor expenses for production. It’s time to discuss packaging and labor now. Nowadays, manufacturers pack most jerky in zip lock bags, which cost around $.15 each. Each 3-ounce bag of labor costs around $1.50 from beginning to end.

Let’s calculate the total to see. For example, you may make 5.33-ounce packets from 1 pound of finished jerky. For example, 3 ounces of beef jerky cost $1.89 at a pound price of $10.00.When we add the $1.65 packaging and labor expenses to the product, the final hard cost per 3oz bag of jerky at the plant is $3.54.

Typically, each bag costs $.10 to send to the distributor. The distributor will need to earn a minimum of 15% profit in exchange for their time, labor, warehouse, and transportation services. The 3oz bag’s cost has risen to $4.19. It costs high because of the jerky-making process and beef jerky production.

Final Words

The exorbitant price of beef jerky is both a gift and a burden, in a manner. Although it hurts your budget, it also ensures that beef jerky producers uphold better standards of quality and safety. They import crazy spices, offer lean cuts, and use rump roast to make jerkies. This is true because beef jerky producers are aware of the necessity to defend the high price of their goods. They don’t compromise on beef quality.

Poor-quality beef jerky lacks the savory flavor of beef and is hard as a rock, dry, and tassels. But, even still, producing this subpar beef jerky costs a fair amount of money. Making premium jerky and charging a little bit extra is thus more economical. So while we share everyone else’s dislike for jerky’s high price, we accept it as an understandable reality of life.