The True Cost of Ground Beef
The true cost of ground beef can be confusing. As is well known, there is substantial cooking loss when cooking ground beef. Below is an example that compares cooking yield loss with product costs. The example uses 80-percent lean ground beef and the true cost of each based on cooking losses per cooking methods used.
In today’s beef markets, wholesale 80-percent lean, uncooked ground beef sells for about $1.85/lb. Based on various cooking methods, the USDA (USDA Handbook 8 Series) rates the following cooking yields and thus its consequential true costs are as follows:
1 cooking yield based on USDA Handbook 8 Series
2 all other costs such as labor for cooking, utilities, handling and waste control are not included
As illustrated, the product loss due to cooking and cooking method adds substantial costs to raw meat, aside from other costs that are harder to identify such as labor, handling, waste, and so on. Not to mention product liability, quality and food safety integrity.
When considering meat toppings and fillings for your recipe development projects, select pre-cooked meat toppings and fillings. Their perceived costs are higher when compared to the costs of uncooked ground beef, but the reality is that if your operation is cooking, you are already paying for these cost, plus much, much more.
The advantages of pre-cooked meats are multifold. Using pre-cooked meats is tremendously more food safe than having to deal with uncooked meats. Precooked meats are convenient to use and you won’t have to deal with waste. When maintained under proper storage conditions, precooked meats will last longer than uncooked meats.
Casey Frye is the Vice President of Research and Development for Burke Corporation.