Examining Costs: Buying Chicken for the Family

by Beth Montgomery on January 7, 2011 · 2 comments

in Tips & Basics

Chicken is a popular food, since it’s a healthy meat, most people enjoy it, and it can be easily cooked in a variety of ways.   In fact, the average American family of four eats 241.6 pounds of chicken per year.   Lets think about that a bit.

I’ve mentioned before, that I buy whole chickens, normally priced around $0.88 per pound at Kroger or Sam’s Club.   I can use the chicken for multiple meals and to make chicken stock for other recipes.   Sure, it’s not as easy as buying chicken breasts.   It’s definitely more work.   Is it worth it?

Chicken Breasts Whole Chicken
Cost Per Pound $1.98 $0.88
Cost Per Week $9.18 $4.04
Cost Per Month $39.79 $17.68
Cost Per Year $478.36 $212.60

Taking a looking at this, the average family could save $265 per year by buying whole chickens, instead of chicken breasts.   Yes, it’s not going to help you retire early or send your kids to collage, but it’s just a start.   You can apply the same principle to other poultry, like turkey.

Meat freezes well for up to 6-12 months, if properly sealed.   When shopping for turkey, pork, chicken, ham, and beef, I try to aim for $0.99 per pound or lower.   That’s not always an easy price to find for all meats, especially if you want quality, but it does happen.   When it does, I buy a lot and it saves me a lot!

Note: The prices above are based on the average family of four consuming 241.6 pounds of chicken per year.   That would be 4.64 pounds per week.   I’ve used a “good” sale price in my area for both, so if you don’t shop sales, you’d be paying more. Averages prices do vary by location.   Prices used are typical sale prices in Indiana.

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1 Lori January 7, 2011 at 5:08 PM

I’ve thought about this cost savings before, too. Especially when it can be cheaper to buy bone-in rather than boneless chicken breasts. But when I look at all the waste from the skin and bone that gets tossed, I’m not sure if the savings per pound of edible meat is really worth the effort. Of course, chicken stock is a bonus with the whole chicken, but I usually use bouillon which is very inexpensive. :)

2 Beth January 7, 2011 at 9:32 PM

Lori, that is true. The skinless chicken breasts with ribs are often $0.99 per pound, which is a good buy too. I tend to rationalize it, because I always get two meals out of it, plus the chicken stock. But, I only get one meal of a package of chicken breasts. I usually use the left over to make chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, or something similar. But, the bones and skin is a waste.

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