Why is Beef Jerky So Expensive?
The main reason that beef jerky has always been expensive is because it takes a lot of beef to make a bag of finished jerky. Anyone who has ever made jerky at home knows this.
Where’s the Beef?
Let’s say you start with ten pounds of premium steak. You trim off the fat and any fatty gristle striations and already you may have lost up to a few pounds because it cannot be used. Marinade your jerky, cook it, and by the time it is finished and ready to eat… your original ten pounds of meat yields about three to four pounds of finished jerky.
Throw Away the Marinade.
The best beef jerky is not only made with the best (expensive) premium cuts of American beef, but also with the best marinade ingredients and recipes. Create the marinade and mix it well, evenly marinade the jerky meat, then THROW the marinade away. The flavor remains, but the costly marinade gets thrown away from every batch.
And There’s More.
The cost of beef has been rising for years, up to a 25% increase in cost from 2010 to 2020. Most consumers can relate because over the years, even the cost of ground beef at your local supermarket has risen much faster than inflation.
Making Beef Jerky is Labor Intensive.
Most small batch, minimally processed jerky is incredibly labor intensive to make. And the cost of labor keeps rising. In California, the minimum wage has increased two years in a row with more increases coming. It takes a lot of highly-trained people to make even one batch of finished jerky.
Ingredients for jerky marinades come from all over the world. There are no short cuts for quality ingredients and over the years as the desire for complex flavor infusion becomes more desirable, the costs for ingredients keeps rising.
USDA Inspected Production Facilities
There is no such thing as cheap jerky production. Production facilities are highly regulated by the USDA and you can’t expect to make quality jerky without expensive commercial equipment. It is not uncommon for one oven to cost $100,000 and even the smallest production facility start-up may cost more than one million dollars to build out and open.
Bringing Jerky to the World
Packaging, shipping, transportation, shipping supplies, insurance, marketing materials, displays and promotional supplies, advertising, sales staff, social media marketing, quality assurance, new product development, office and warehouse expenses, customer service… the list is endless, but well-worth the deliciousness that follows.