Meat in the grocery store is expensive.
It really doesn’t matter if you are trying to get pork chops or chicken or steak, the meat section is one the priciest around.
Although your local grocery store may not have lamb available for purchase, you can usually find some at a butcher.
Lamb is one of the most expensive cuts of meat out there.
Some people really enjoy the taste of lamb while others find it a bit difficult to chew.
Here are some reasons lamb is so expensive.
Why Is Lamb So Expensive?
1. Healthy Meat
The biggest thing people look for in a meat is that it is healthy.
They want something lean, which will give them nourishment without being loaded with extra fat.
With lamb, this is quite easy to achieve.
In fact, lamb is one of the leaner meats available.
If you have a standard cut of lamb meat about three ounces in size, you will get more than 20 grams of protein.
The protein is entirely natural and not chemically derived.
This is a good amount of protein for a piece of meat of this size.
However, protein is not the only nutritional benefit of lamb.
Lamb has iron and magnesium in it as well.
In addition to the iron and magnesium, you will also get good amounts of potassium and B-12.
Overall, lamb can be a very healthy meal as long as you prepare it properly.
Once you start adding butter and oils to the lamb, it will lose some of its healthy qualities, and it will gain some extra fat that you probably did not need to add.
One thing you will notice with any type of food that starts to get expensive, chances are it is good for you.
Before avocados were known as being such a great fat, they were affordable, but now they
sell for a few dollars apiece in some areas.
There is no way to win once foods start being considered healthy.
2. Not Factory Farmed
A good portion of the meat we eat in America is factory farmed.
This means that animals are raised in small areas, and they are raised with the idea in place to get them to the point of sale.
Some animals do well with factory farming.
They will handle the stress and enclosures with ease.
Lamb is not one of these animals.
Lambs do not thrive in a factory type of environment.
They are going to get easily stressed, and this will cause them to grow at a slower rate.
The lamb will also end up getting sick when raised in this kind of environment.
Once the lamb is sick and smaller, it is going to be hard to sell and they will probably need to give the lamb a lot of medication.
This kind of meat is then going to be somewhat contaminated and could end up costing less to purchase and to sell.
In other words, the markup is not going to be nearly as good.
Since factory farming does not work quite as well for lambs, they are mostly farm raised.
Although this is great for both the animal and, ultimately, the consumer, the price is going to be considerably higher.
Having the land necessary to raise the lamb and the staff in place to take care of them is a much more complicated process than the factory farming.
Many people who are looking to purely make a profit are going to prefer the factory farming.
Most of the lamb meat you find in the stores is going to be farm raised lamb.
The process works better this way, and people are more likely to purchase this type of lamb.
It will have a noticeably better flavor, and since lamb is known for being expensive, this extra price for farm raised lamb will be worth it for most people.
3. Less Meat Per Animal
Another reason lamb is so expensive is that you don’t get all that much meat from each animal.
In fact, lamb has one of the lowest yields of any of the meat we normally eat.
Lambs are not as large as cows, and they don’t have as many useable parts as something like a pig.
When a farmer raises a lamb and sells it for meat, they will end up having to sell many lambs to make the same money they would with other animals.
When you have to sell large amounts of lamb just to make a profit, you will obviously be in a difficult situation.
Many of the farmers who sell lambs are going to be smaller scale operations that will try and sell a few lambs per year to sustain their lamb farming.
If a farmer is supplying a large amount of lamb to stores, he will need thousands and thousands of sheep to be able to supply enough meat.
Most of the time, lamb are sold as the whole lamb.
They are often sold alive as well.
Live sheep will go to a dealer who will then find a butcher who wants to purchase the sheep.
The butcher usually gets the sheep when it has first been killed.
At this point, the butcher must then take the lamb and cut it into the pieces it needs to sell the lamb to the final customers.
This process is lengthy, and you have to understand a great deal about lambs and their anatomy to do this properly.
For anyone who thought that butchering just means chopping up large slabs of meat, you are quite wrong.
The inside of the animal is divided into many different sections.
Many of these sections are going to be great to sell, while others will be considered waste.
Only a butcher is going to know how to properly prepare the lamb for resale.
5. Profit for the Farmers who Raise Lamb
When farmers raise lamb, they usually sell it to a dealer.
The dealer then sells the lamb to the butcher.
This means the lamb has to pass through a few different people before it makes it to you.
We know from other products that the more people who are involved, the higher the price is going to be for the end user.
Of course, the butcher expects to make money on the meat they sell.
The dealer needs to make money from the butcher.
Let’s not forget that the farmer is the one who actually raised the lamb the entire time, and they clearly depend on their share of the profit.
By the time everyone gets paid out on a lamb, the margins are actually quite slim.
You should be aware of these things when you buy a lamb to eat.
You shouldn’t think that you are being ripped off by the butcher.
This is not the case as you really are just paying for everyone to have their cut as part of this process.
As we mentioned, most of the lambs that are sold are going to go as live lambs.
Once they are sold by the dealer, they then need to go to the butcher.
This is quite a bit of transport and delivery that is involved.
If you are purchasing lamb, you will probably see quite a bit of delivery built into your price.
If a lamb is shipped while it is alive, it is going to need a lot of space and a special hauler specially built for animals.
When a lamb that has been killed is shipped, it will need to be sent in a refrigerated vehicle.
Anytime you start adding in refrigerated shipping, the pricing is going to increase considerably.
With almost any product out there, delivery is going to add to the cost of the product.
Shipping and delivery are quite expensive, and no matter where you are located, the rates are universally high.
7. Older Lambs
Lambs have to be a little older than some animals when they get to selling weight.
This ends up meaning that farmers will need to care for a lamb much longer before it can be sold.
When they have to care for lambs, they also have to feed them, maintain the land, and make sure the animals are healthy and have shelter.
Housing large numbers of lambs while they grow and get to a weight at which they can be sold takes time, but it also takes a lot of money.
For a farmer to be profitable after having to hold on to a lamb for almost a full year, they need to sell it for quite a bit of money.
We already mentioned that lambs have a fairly low yield when it comes to weight.
If a farmer sells the lamb prior to it being full-grown, then the yield will be even lower.
Younger lambs are going to have a very low yield, and it will not be profitable to sell and butcher these animals.
8. Live Lamb vs. Weight Sold to Final Customer
When a lamb is sold to a dealer, it will be sold at the weight of the actual lamb.
Once it is sold, it will then be sent to the butcher.
The butcher will then find that about 50 percent of the lamb is meat.
That meat will then need to be trimmed down further so that the parts are cut up how they need to be to sell to customers.
At this point, the butcher will then lose another portion of the meat they paid for.
Essentially, this means they will have to make up for this difference in their profitability.
To break this down simply, when you purchase a product for ten and find out it is only worth five, you will then have to try and sell it for 15 or more.
This process is something butchers are used to but it still is going to have an impact on the price that is paid by the consumer.
There is no way to tell the exact poundage of meat a butcher can get from a lamb.
It is a bit like gambling when they purchase a lamb.
There are estimates and ideas, but for the most part, it is a bit of a guessing game.
A butcher can either be lucky or be a bit unlucky when it comes to these types of situations.
This is partly why lamb is more expensive than other meat.
9. A Lot of Work for Small Package of Meat
Have you ever noticed that some things come in bulk discounts?
The larger the package of meat, the easier it is for sellers to offer discounts.
Since they are selling such a large amount, they can lower the price and still make money.
When you consider all of the steps that lamb has to go through to get to the final consumer’s table, there are lots of factors that come into play.
This is not as much of a high-volume business with room for error when it comes to pricing and profit.
The margins are slim, and there are many people who need to get a cut in order for the business to work.
The last reason lamb is so expensive is that it is considered to be a luxury cut of meat.
Lamb is often saved for holidays or special occasions.
People know that lamb has to be prepared a certain way, and it is usually more of a high-end sit-down dinner type of meal.
At a high-end restaurant, you will very likely see lamb on the menu.
At a lower price or chain restaurant, chances are they will not bother cooking with lamb at all.
Since lamb has been portrayed as being more of a luxury item, the pricing is usually considerably higher than it is on other lower priced meats like chicken.
Certainly, in a restaurant, people are going to want to spend more money on a rack of lamb than a chicken breast.
This is because lamb has been described as being a luxury food.
As you can see, there are many reasons behind lamb being so expensive.
Some are very well justified and just a part of this process.
Once you enjoy a great lamb dinner, you will likely not be worried about the price you paid for the cut.
Look for sales on lamb meat, or see if a local farmer will sell you lamb in bulk.
Those are the two best ways to try and save a little money on a lamb.