ECONOMICS OF EATING: Understanding the Cost of Beef

Cattle Herd in a Farmer's Field

When you visit a butcher shop or supermarket to buy beef, you might look for good colour and a local producer’s label– but we all know it’s hard not to focus on the price tag. It’s a fact of life: we all weigh our need to spend money prudently with our desire for the highest quality product. This mentality causes consumers to look for the biggest bargain at all times, which is great when you know how the savings are created. Unfortunately, lack of knowledge about the cost of beef can lead you to purchase a lesser quality product just to save a few cents.

Read on for our guide to understanding the cost of beef in Canada.


Hamburger, steak, ribs, roasts– beef is the most popular red meat on the tables of Canadian consumers, especially Alberta. Cattle farms raise cows that are most commonly sold to slaughterhouses that then sell the beef to butchers or supermarkets.


Every level, from farmer to cashier, must profit from the cost of beef– but who sets the price? You! Consumers are the most significant influence on the price of beef. The more beef that is purchased by consumers (whether bought directly, in other products or at restaurants), the higher the demand becomes.


If supply can keep up with demand, the cost of beef stay reasonable– but spikes in beef prices can occur for a number of reasons. Farmers’ herd volumes, the health of cattle, international demand for Canadian beef, and the value of the Canadian dollar are all factors that can sway the price of beef at your local butcher or supermarket.


Look at your labels! Canadian beef is from Canada, not necessarily Alberta. Even Alberta beef can still be sourced from major feedlots with lower standards for animal health and comfort. Here at D’Arcy’s we work closely with our suppliers, ensuring animals receive humane and ethical treatment– sourced locally and organically whenever possible.


The best time to purchase beef might not coincide with when you need or want a prime cut of beef. Instead of relying on coupons or flash sales of supermarket beef (usually discounted because it’s nearing expiration), consult with us at D’Arcy’s to find a fairly priced, better quality product or an alternative that will suit your needs.

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