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Does steak cost less delivered in bulk?

Earlier this week, Gather Little by Little ran an article about Omaha Steaks, and how expensive it was in comparison to the grocery store. His calculations had the meat coming in at anywhere from $38-44 per pound. Even for good steak, that’s pretty expensive.

Coincidentally, I purchased bulk steak from a competitor of Omaha, US Beef, a little more than a week earlier. This was a door-to-door sale—something I usually am able to turn away. But I’ve always wanted to try these delivered services anyway, and he was knocking huge amounts off the full price (the story was that he had leftovers from another delivery… I don’t really buy that, but it’s irrelevant) so I gave him a shot.

He was going to give us two packs for the price of one: $369. That was an easy “no.” The price kept dropping, though. $325… $300… eventually down to $250 for two packs. Even at that price, I still would have said “no” and gone on with my day, but it so happened that a friend was over at the house and offered to split it with me. That turned out to be $125 for a case of 61 pieces of meat (which isn’t quite as impressive as it sounds, as most are burgers, but stay with me). At that price, it was certainly worth considering.

Here’s what was included:

  • 5 – 12oz NY Strips
  • 8 – 6oz Filet Mignons wrapped in bacon
  • 8 – 7oz NY Strips
  • 8 – 4oz center cut sirloins
  • 8 – 4oz pepper steaks
  • 24 – 4oz sirloin burger patties

Doing the math, that’s 20.25 lbs of meat, for a cost per pound of $6.17. For steak, that’s not bad at all.

Comparing against a local grocery store, the NY Strips ($5.56/lb for the 12oz US Beef) came out over $3 cheaper per pound than the sale price at the store. Even the burgers (at $3.47/lb from US Beef) were $0.40 cheaper per pound in my order.

Spreadsheet for calculating costs

Spreadsheet for calculating costs

Now, of course, that’s with the discounted price I and my friend got. If I paid full price, would it have worked out as well?

Not so much.

At the full $369 per pack, the cost per pound works out to $18.22 – definitely more expensive than I would pay (but interestingly, way less than GLBL reports for Omaha, though there may be a quality difference). The maximum I’d be willing to pay for the pack I got is probably $175, which would work out to $8.64/lb overall.

Does it look like I got the math right? Do you have any experience with bulk food delivery to your house? Does it seem like a good deal to you? Leave a comment.

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11 comments to Does steak cost less delivered in bulk?

  • Jeff,

    Congrats on what sounds like a pretty decent deal. When are you having a cookout?

    You don’t explicitly state this in your post, but I get the sense that you just spent several paragraphs to reach the conclusion that frozen food is cheaper then fresh? That is hardly surprising. Still it is neat to see it all worked out with some detail. What would be neater still is to visit an area butcher and determine the price per pound for beef bought in bulk. Compare that to your best bulk frozen deal and the comparison is on more even ground..

    Just my .02$

    Dave

    Reply to this comment

  • In part, I guess that’s true. The real goal here, though, was to show that at full price, the bulk, delivered, frozen foods are NOT worth it ($18.22/lb is the lowest cost). The fresh stuff is much cheaper. However, my experience here also shows that those large services will cut a deal that may make it more effective.

    What I’d really like to do next is compare the price of getting the meat from Costco, or similar warehouse stores, to both grocery and an Omaha/US Beef-type service. The grocery/Costco comparison shows bulk vs “standard” while the US Beef/Costco comparison shows fresh vs frozen.

    Even better would be your butcher visit idea, though.

    Reply to this comment

  • Kelly

    I just got the same deal about 5 minutes ago. Same story, but I knew the pitch because I had a friend that used to sell for us beef. He lasted 1 day. He started at $369 (he left a brochure to prove it) and was going to double the order ($185 each.) I said no, and he went down to $180 for the orginal $369 package, no, then $165, no. I finally said, “what can I get for $100?” He ask me to meet him halfway @ $140. I said ok.. I too want to see how good these steaks are. I know it is frozen vs fresh, but WE FREEZE our steaks ANYWAY. From what I can find on the internet $140 is a pretty good price and near cost for the salesmen. Your deal for $125 must have been close to cost. Anyway, I have no idea what they will taste like. Maybe I’ll post tomorrow after I throw down a couple of those Filet Mignon!!

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Hi Kelly,

    I’d love to hear what you think of the taste. I’ve been slowly working through the box, and I think I’m improving my grilling skills. I’ve found it extremely hard to cook the center of a frozen steak without burning the outside, but the last few are coming out much better. Even taking my cooking skills into account, I still think fresh tastes better (no huge shock). The filets though, do taste pretty darn good with that bacon wrapped around it. And actually, I’ve found I really do like the burgers quite a bit. I’m glad there were so many.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Reply to this comment

  • Ken

    Interesting read. I work for a company that provides top quality meat and delevers to your doorstep. There is a big difference in the price of meat depending on the cut and quality of meat. You can get a top quality NY strip for a wide price range. anywhere from $4 at the supermarket to $9 if it is a quality grade, to $18 on a plate at a restaurant. So to say you got a good deal or not is subject to what kind of meat you got specifically…. my guess from US beef would be commodity or select at best.
    I personally get my steaks at myrastellidirect.com/kennyc
    Here there are black angus flat irons which are only $16 for 6 steaks and they are fantastic.

    Reply to this comment

  • Brendan Garner

    If you like these steaks your nuts! US Beef came by my house last week. I paid $100 for that case you guy spaid way more for, so that should say something about the kind of salesmen they are. All it is is burgers but my friend went half with me. For $50 I figure I can’t lose. Guess what? I lost. None of the steaks were any good, just fat and no meat. I got the run around when I called for my money back. Tehy said they will replace not refund. Why would I want more of a bad product?

    In talking with others about this, I find out they have problmes with the law!! No permits, after market stickers, and class action law suits because they say it is Filet Mignon, yet it’s really chuck!!

    NEVER AGAIN!!!!

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Sorry your package sucked. I’ve found that mine actually turn out pretty good if I ignore the instruction to cook them frozen and instead thaw them before cooking.

    That said, it’s probably not something I’d spend the money on again.

    Reply to this comment

  • I bought a smaller version of this (12 steaks for 25$)

    They looked great… but the sauce they came in really made them taste gross. I ended up marinading them in the fridge overnight with my special ingredients.. grilled them up the next day and they were amazing! Great deal.

    Reply to this comment

  • Overall my experience with a beef salesman was good.

    Reply to this comment

  • I just bought the full beef pack (US Beef) described above for $159 (or something close to it). I also heard about these deals, and until he offered that price I was not interested. My salesguy also talked about having extra meat, and needing to sell it. We did the NY strip tonight. Pretty good flavor, but not very tender. I ahd them soaked in water for about 30 minutes before cooking to thaw them. I’ll report back with other tasting notes.

    Reply to this comment

  • Update:

    Ribeyes were very tender and tasted good. I still think store bought thick ribeyes are better. My wife did thaw them and marinate in olive oil. The bacon wrapped filets were ok. Similar to what you can buy (frozen) at Costco. We will try the peppercorn filet and the BBQ sirloin strip tonight.

    Reply to this comment

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