The organic food industry has been booming over the last decade. A 2011 study done by the Organic Trade Association, reported a record 78% U.S. families buy organic food (see article in IndyStar). How many of those families are making organic meat choices? If you aren't one of those families is it because price is an issue? In my ongoing mission to decide whether not it's worth your money to buy a Costco membership - today we are going to look at what prices you would pay if you have a Costco membership for organic meat - specially chicken.
To read more about organic, check out my entire list of organic blog posts.
What is Organic Chicken?
What makes chicken organic? I went straight to the source for requirements for chicken to be certified USDA Organic (you can read the whole speal at the USDA website).
"Farmers and ranchers must accommodate the health and natural behavior of their animals year-round. For example, organic livestock must be:
- Generally, managed organically from the last third of gestation (mammals) or second day of life
- Allowed year-round access to the outdoors except under specific conditions (e.g., inclement weather).
- Raised on certified organic land meeting all organic crop production standards.
- Raised per animal health and welfare standards.
- Fed 100 percent certified organic feed, except for trace minerals and vitamins used to meet the animal’s nutritional requirements.
- Managed without antibiotics, added growth hormones, mammalian or avian byproducts, or other prohibited feed ingredients (e.g., urea, manure, or arsenic compounds).
Two main things most people are probably looking for here is that their fed is organic and the land they are raised on is certified organic.
What Type of Organic Chicken Does Costco Carry?
All the organic chicken I found at my local Costco was from Coleman Natural. They raise their birds all over the country on family farms. The farms are close by to their processing plants. They make frequent visits to the ranches/farms to be sure that their standards are being met, including testing to be sure no antibotics or hormones are given. The company was the first to bring chickens labeled free range and organic to the market.
How Much Does Organic Chicken Cost at Costco?
On my visit they only offered three types of chicken : whole fryer, drumsticks, and boneless skinless breasts. Here are the prices from my visit last month. For prices for the conventionally raised chicken, check out my Costco Chicken Prices post.
Chicken Type, Price
Whole Fryer, $2.49/lb
Unlike with the convential chicken the whole fryer is not the cheapest. You are going to pay $1.40 more per pound for the organic.
Love dark meat the best? Buy drumsticks. They are the cheapest way to get organic chicken at Costco. The bones can be saved up and used for making homemade chicken stock later.
Boneless Skinless Breasts, $5.99/lb
This is where things get really pricey. It's twice as much money for the organic boneless skinless breasts. You save money if you buy a whole fryer and learn to cut it up yourself. This way you can get organic breasts for $2.49/lb plus you will have dark meat and bones for stock making. I posted some videos below to help you.
Here is a video that shows you how to cut a whole chicken to it's parts.
In this video you will see how to de-bone chicken, so you can have boneless skinless chicken breasts for the cost of a fryer chicken. Make sure to save those bones for stock. Making homemade chicken stock will not only save you money but give you a great ingredient for soups, sauces, etc.
Organic chicken at Costco is reasonably priced. You are going to pay more for organic but if you take the time to butcher your own fryer than it is affordable. Or save money and time and just go with the drumsticks.