If you feel like every time you walk into the grocery store prices have increased, you’re right! And rising meat prices are outpacing every other category, so much so that the four multinational corporations that control 85% of the meat industry are being accused of fixing prices and padding profits. Is there any place left where you can buy cheap meat?

Beef and pork prices are said to have increased more than 10% compared to prices last year. Chicken and turkey prices have risen half-that.

We decided we’d conduct our own investigation and so we built a test to compare prices from 2020-2021 at Costco, Walmart, Winco, Aldi, Sam’s Club, and Kroger.

 

Meat prices have risen more rapidly than any other category.

Believe it or not, prices on meats, poultry, eggs, and fish have had a 13% increase in the past year. This is the biggest increase in any Consumer Price Index category. Beef prices have seen the highest increase compared to all other protein prices. We’ve uncovered price increases as high as 150% on ground beef. Keep this in mind the next time you’re thinking about buying beef.

 

Why are meat prices so high?

There are a few factors to blame for increased meat prices, two of which are COVID and inflation. Meat production plants shut down during COVID. And because production slowed, ranchers had no where to send their beef and many had to scale back their beef production big time.

The labor shortage issues exacerbated everything and created a huge imbalance. Once the demand for meat started to rise, there became a supply and demand issue that has skyrocketed the price of meat.

 

Some Costco meat prices have increased as high as 25%, but chicken prices have stayed consistent.

  • The price of boneless chicken breast has consistently stayed the same at $2.99 per pound at Costco.
  • 88% lean ground beef has risen 18% since 2021. Expect to pay $4.49 per pound at Costco.
  • Steak prices at Costco have seen a 25% increase since 2021.

 

Walmart ground beef prices have increased a whopping 111%.

  • Chicken prices at Walmart have seen an increase over 30%. In 2021, we saw prices a little over $2 per pound. Now prices are at $2.79 per pound.
  • Ground beef has seen a nearly $3 price increase at Walmart. A one-pound pack of lean ground beef will cost you $5.62 today.
  • Expect to pay more for steak at Walmart, but it’s not as bad as Costco’s increase. In 2021 the price for a NY Strip Steak was $11.97 per pound. Now you can expect to pay $12.47 per pound, just a 4.17% increase.

 

Aldi chicken prices have increased 87% since 2020.

  • Unlike Costco chicken prices staying consistent, chicken prices at Aldi have increased by 87% since 2020. Price per pound for chicken in 2020 was $2.29. Expect to pay $4.29 per pound now.
  • Ground beef prices have seen a 30% increase from prices reported in 2020. 85% lean ground beef is priced at $4.79 per pound.
  • If you’re going to buy one kind of meat at Aldi, buy steak. The price of USDA Choice Ribeye Steak has increased only 1.91% since 2021.

 

Kroger meat prices have seen the highest increases all around.

  • The price of chicken at Kroger has increased 25% since 2021.
  • With a 152% increase, ground beef at Kroger has the highest increase compared to all other stores. Pay $6.99 for a one-pound pack of ground beef.
  • Steak prices at Kroger have seen over a 100% increase as well. The price of a New York Strip Steak in 2021 was $4.97 per pound. Now, expect to pay $11.99 per pound for the same cut of meat.

 

Sam’s Club ground beef prices have increased minimally compared to other stores (4.67% increase).

  • Currently, Sam’s Club is charging $2.88 per pound for fresh boneless chicken breast. In 2021, the price was $1.89 per pound, which is over a 50% increase.
  • Ground beef prices have increased a very minimal amount since 2021. In 2021, prices were $4.28, now you can expect to pay $4.48 per pound.

 

Winco chicken, beef, and steak prices have all increased.

  • Winco chicken prices have increased by 47% since 2020.
  • Pay $5.18 for one-pound of ground beef at Winco, a 62% increase from 2020 prices.
  • The cost of a tri tip steak was $5.98 per pound in 2020. You’ll be paying an increase of 57% if you want to buy tri tip at Winco today.

 

Where should you buy your meat?

There are plenty of out of the box ways to get cheap meat. Keep in mind, prices vary by location, but remember these meat tips on your next grocery store run:

  • Stock up on chicken on your next Costco trip, it’s the only store with consistent prices on chicken. At $2.18 per pound, Winco is your next best option.
  • Ground beef has had the highest price increases overall. If you’re going to buy it, Sam’s Club has the best prices right now.
  • With a 1.91% increase in steak prices, Aldi is your best bet for red meat.
  • Consider buying a share of a whole cow. How Much Does a Cow Cost?
Meat Prices are Going Up: What's Going to Cost You the Most?