The True Cost of Meat
A transparent look at the
meat growing, processing
and distribution system
By Matt Kendrick (The Butcher) and Melissa Baer (The Farmers Daughter)
Who We are & Why We’re
 Matt
Kendrick – Manager & Head
Butcher at The Bauer Butcher, trained
Chef, committed to supporting small
Ontario Farmers focused on sustainability
 Melissa
Baer- Certified Organic Farmer’s
Daughter, Food and Health Advocate,
Sell Grass Fed Organic Beef to people
Twitter: Matt - @bauerbutcher
Melissa - @afarmdaughter
 To
leave you with a clear understanding
of the different kinds of meat
 Have you clearer on your own priorities
when it comes to meat
 Destroy any myths about meat and
Your Worksheet
 This
if for you to take home
 Fill out as many spaces on it as possible as
accurately as possible
 You may need a calculator (phone) to do
Your Total Calculations
Total Meat consumption rate=
Household size
# meat meals
Total Meat Spending Rate =
Total consumption
Start at the Beginning
 Defining
(the farm)
various types of meat
 Inputs to raising these different types of
 Why and how farming techniques affect
your health
Defining the Labels
 Conventional
 Naturally
 Organic
 Grass
 Free Range
 Factory Farmed
 Local
Typically means using regular feed mill feed
Not organic
Likely GMO
Likely antibiotics and hormones and vaccines
are utilized
Is not labeled as such – often is the default
when no other label is present
These are the farms you’ll see scattered
across the country side
Can sometimes mean Feedlot (or factory
farmed) conditions
Naturally Raised
standards (what is natural to one
person is not natural to another)
 Can mean simply that they are outside
 Can mean that they don’t have as MANY
antibiotics, or maybe none at all
 Can mean a variety of things, none of
which are the same from farm to farm
A third party inspection agency has come to
inspect the farm, and has determined they are
adhering to standards
There are various standards across inspection
agencies and jurisdictions
CFIA – lowering standards but governing
Band wagon jumpers – beware!
DOES NOT require farmers to NOT vaccinate
no medication (Drugs/hormones)
No pesticides
Animals must have access to outside
Grass Fed
No standardization
Can mean they got some or they were
entirely grass fed
Grass Finished – means they were ALSO
Finished on grass (usually farmers will use corn
or grain to finish for better fat marbling)
Usually means they have access to outside
USDA has standards but NOT in Canada
Free Range
 Not
 Is supposed to mean they have free
access to pasture land
 May just be Free Run – cage/stall free and
can freely roam about
 May not have any health benefits
depending on the quality of the soil, or if
they are still fed in the barn (corn and
grain etc)
Factory Farmed
Typically refers to CAFO’s (confined Animal
Feeding Operations)
Feedlots, caged hen laying operations, sow
barns, etc
Generally is for the purpose of high volume, is
likely feeding corn/high energy food for quick
production and weight gain
Generally uses stock that has been genetically
manipulated for production
Will use high amounts of medication due to
sickness (Vaccinations, hormones, drugs etc)
 Local
does NOT mean healthy
 Local can mean factory farmed still
 Local can still be GMO, Vaccinated, drug
and hormone filled
 Local only refers to the proximity in which
it is grown to its final destination (your
What’s important to ME?
Humanely raised
Vaccine free
Naturally raised
Drug free
sustainable micro nutrients
Grass Fed
Grass Finished
Socially conscious
List in terms of priority
 List
each of your priorities in order of
 By understanding what is your TOP priority
this will help to guide your purchases
Time and Inputs
 Conventional
has corn – subsidized
Works on volumes
 Grass
fed – takes more time to get them
to market (and more land - $$)
 Organic –depends on type of feed
(certification and attention to detail)
 Cow Calf operations – low meds required,
more attention to detail
Large slaughter houses (work on volumes),
have no ability to identify
Have no humane policies
No traceability
Smaller abattoirs for local meat – sparse
Cost of transport for small batches
Cost of land
Cost of hay (drought, weather dependent)
Micro nutrient density
Soil stewardship – wont be around if we dont
Price At the Farm gate
 Lowest
– Conventional
 Middle – Naturally Raised
 Higher- Organic
 Highest – Organic Grass fed
The NEXT step – Butcher Retail
 Cost
of Grass fed
 Cost of organic
 Cost of naturally raised
 Cost of conventional
Meat – Retail Perspective
 Purchasing,
loss and costs, rent, salaries
 Planning – when buying meat
 Buying better cuts:
 need less when buying better: article
(maintains muscle mass, etc)
 get creative with cuts
Beef Yield (i.e. true COG)
Price /lb
Billed (hot)
Yield (retail)
*as a whole animal butcher we lose up to %30 of what we
pay for by the time the product is ready for sale
Retail Meat – The Numbers
Total Sales
$50 000
Cost of Good
$30 000
Fixed Costs (rent,
insurance, etc)
$2 500
Variable Costs
supplies, delivery,
$13 500
Total Costs
$46 000
Net profit
$4 000
Buying Meat – Plan Ahead
 When
buying at a butcher try to go every
2-3 days
 Plan meals to include leftovers (lunch,
another dinner, etc)
 Consider buying whole pieces (i.e. a
whole chicken can yield 3 meals or more)
 Cook more stews, stir fry, salads where the
average portion size tends to be smaller
Buying Sustainably
 The
3 most popular beef cuts account for
only 15% of the yield
 Find different cuts to try(Flat Iron, Hanger,
Flank, Round)
 Challenge yourself to try recipes for new
cuts every 2 weeks.
 Talk to your butcher and ask questions!
Other Hidden Costs
Health costs Long term
Soil costs long term
Fossil fuels cost long term
Need less when buying quality
“It may cost less in dollars right now because of a
falsified economic system, but when it takes 2 units of
energy to produce 1 unit –we’re missing something”
“you pay for your health at the grocery store or the
(since we have free health care, it would be in quality of life)
Where to get each type of
 Conventional-
Large Grocery Chains,
Costco, Walmart
 Naturally
Raised – Butcher shops, farmers
markets, direct from Farmers
 Grass
Fed and/or Organic- Bauer Butcher,
specialty meat shops, direct from farmers
Meat Industry Myth’s & Facts
Myth or Fact
Loblaws “Free from” program is an Organic
Myth or Fact
Drug Free meat is entirely drug free
Myth or Fact
Local is basically the same as Organic
Myth or Fact
Eating better is A LOT more expensive
Myth or Fact
If I eat conventionally raised beef, its not
REALLY that bad for me
Thank you
Any Questions?
We hope you have gained some insight into
meat, and how you can improve your
grocery shopping

The True Cost of Meat