Sometimes the grocery ads remind me of those horrible word problems in math class:
Store A has boneless chicken breasts on sale for $2.39 a pound.
Store B has bone-in chicken breasts on sale for $1.89 a pound.
How can Mama get the most meat for her grocery budget?
My initial reaction would be the bone-in chicken, since it’s cheaper. But there’s another factor I’ve learned to consider–a good deal of that weight is bones, which you can’t eat. (Yes, you can make stock, but you’d be better off buying necks and feet for that…which is another discussion entirely.)
So how do you do the math and compare prices? Thankfully, the USDA nutrient database has done the calculations for us.
Bone-in chicken is about 1/3 waste; bone-in pork is about 1/6 waste; bone-in beef is about 1/5 waste. Here’s how you calculate the prices to see which is best.
- Chicken: multiply by 1.5 to get boneless equivalent price
- Pork: multiply by 1.2
- Beef: multiply by 1.25
- Hamburger (80% lean): multiply by 1.2 to determine actual price per pound (you won’t be eating the 20% fat, right?)
With our chicken example above, multiply $1.89 x 1.5. The bone-in chicken is actually $2.83 per pound!
Bring your calculator to the store (or play it cool and use the one on your phone) and do the math before buying meat. You can also jot down these figures in your price book so you’ll know if the prices in the store ads are competitive.
How do you save on meat? Share with us in the comments!
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