Buying meat in bulk could save hundreds

Buying meat in bulk could save hundreds


by DION LIM / NBC Charlotte

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 12:27 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 27 at 12:40 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A specialty on the menu tonight at the Effren home is chicken fajitas.

“This is something my kids like, and it’s quick and healthy,” smiles Ruthanne Effren, as she sautés red pepper strips in a pan on the stove.

This is a rare weekday evening, where everyone can cook and eat as a family. Even daughter JoJo squeezes limes and helps assemble the dish.

“It gives me time to spend with my family in the kitchen.”

With the Effren gang following certain nutritional guidelines as part of a Paleo diet, the family eats a large amount of protein and vegetables, and on certain days, stays away from refined sugars and carbohydrates.

You can bet they go through a LOT of chicken.

“Close to 10 pounds a week.  It’s very expensive. Sometimes we have to look at our budget and say what we need this month.”

Americans eat more meat than any other county in the world.  With the average person, eating 62 pounds of beef and 60 pounds of chicken a year, costs can really add up.  

Meantime, across town, cars are lining up at Huntersville United Methodist Church. Moms, dads and all kinds of folks are picking up large boxes of meat.

Zaycon Foods is an online ordering service, where customers log on, pick a time and date the company is visiting the area, and order meat. Today, the delivery from Zaycon is all natural, boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Customers say the whole process is fast.

“I come in and less than five minutes, usually, I’ve got it in my truck and I’m on my way!” smiles a mom, Jenny Clinnard.

The prices for these cases of meat fluctuate depending on market prices, but today, the Zaycon chicken costs $1.84 a pound.  The only catch is you need to buy it in bulk.  Not warehouse bulk of five or ten pounds at a time -- we’re talking 40.

“All I got to do is put them in quart-sized bags, put them in the freezer, and they last me a real long time. Or we’ll share with friends” says one mom, picking up her order.

“Price beats anything.  Anything around the Charlotte area” says another customer.

So we wanted to find out, not only at grocery stores, but at those warehouse clubs too -- Are the prices with Zaycon really all that much better?

We went to several area grocery stores, and found, fresh, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, not on sale, cost about 5 bucks a pound.  At the warehouse club, about $3 a pound.  Do the math, and Zaycon saves about $1.15 a pound over the warehouse club, and $3.15 over the grocery store.  That’s a savings of almost $200 for the entire year.

But even with the lower prices, it’s still up to the consumer.  Pay for the convenience of buying meat each week, or the cost-savings of paying less, but finding a place to package, freeze and store it all.

Back at the Effren home, where mom, dad, JoJo and her brother are sitting down to their tortilla-less fajitas, we ask if the Zaycon buying model would work for their lifestyle.

“If it was saving me money down the road, it would definitely be something I’d be interested in.  Definitely something to consider.  Absolutely.”