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The following is part of an Organic Journey Guest Post Series written by Amy, a long time helper behind the scenes of Southern Savers.
This week, I went on a literal journey. Last week’s research led me to realize that I won’t be buying $1.99/lb chicken breasts anymore. After calling several butchers and trying to price out chicken and getting less than great information, I figured the best way to gather info was to go to the stores. I drove around to every local store in Atlanta I could think of, and today, I am sharing my findings with you. Please know that prices can vary from one area to another, so this is just a launching point for those of you outside of Atlanta.
When you start shopping you have to know your budget and priorities. Also, you really have to know your stuff. Three different butchers that I talked to were misinformed about the products they were selling (one was even corrected when he went to a supervisor to have him explain it to me, which helped me to feel less like I was the crazy one!) Several told me that there was no difference at all between organic and the antibiotic free, vegetarian fed chicken. We have to know our stuff and be gracious with those who don’t.
Here’s where I went: Sam’s, Costco, Walmart, Target, Kroger, Publix, Ingles, Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, my local Farmer’s Market and two local butchers. In the charts that follow, if a store isn’t listed, it is because my store didn’t carry that particular type of chicken. Your store might be different.
Yep, these prices are definitely higher than conventional chicken. But, after all I learned, I think that it is worth it for my family. Here are some tips to cut your costs.
This month Fresh Market’s vegetarian fed, antibiotic free chicken breasts are half off their normal price on Tuesdays, and they aren’t the only ones who put their chicken on sale. Once you figure out who carries what you are wanting to buy, look for when they put their chicken on sale. For instance, Publix had their Greenwise boneless, skinless breasts on sale for $4.99 last week. That is a savings of $2.20/lb. Pretty significant stuff. We also occasionally see sales & coupons for Springer Mountain Farms brand.
Look for Markdowns
Fresh meat expires, and as it gets closer to its expiration date, butchers will slash the prices to sell it. It doesn’t hurt to ask your butcher when they typically mark meat down, or if you are a bit more introverted, just get in the habit of checking for marked down meat each time you shop.
Chicken freezes wonderfully, if you find a good deal, stock up! I found more and more chicken brands are moving to a new type of packing that is freezer ready. Happy day for less freezer burn!
Buy a Whole Chicken
Did you notice how much cheaper whole chickens are per pound? I must admit that I hate, absolutely hate messing with raw meat. True confession, my husband browns all ground beef in our house (he’s a saint). In this journey, I’m becoming a big girl though. Just last week, I seared all sides of my chuck roast. One small step for most, one gigantic step for this gal. The more I learn though, I’m realizing that not only are whole chickens more cost effective from a price per pound standpoint, but it is easy to make stock from the bones. This is my baby step (but man, it feels like a big one!)
Use Less Meat
It is easy to stretch our chicken (especially in all these southern comfort casseroles!) by adding more veggies. For me, this means being willing to tinker with recipes and not seeing the recipe as rules for successful cooking, but instead to see them as suggestions to get me started.
If you are looking for pastured chickens, Whole Foods was the only store I found them. They were priced at $4.49/lb for a whole chicken. Local Harvest and Eat Wild are online gold mines to help you find pastured chickens near you if that’s what you are looking for.
What deals have you found where you live? Any other tips to help us stretch our dollars on chicken?