Computing retail beef prices for a whole animal

Asked December 13, 2012, 7:23 PM EST

Is there an algorithm for determining what to charge for the various cuts of meat from an animal that we—a small, rural, co-op grocery store—have purchased and had slaughtered and processed?

Wells County North Dakota beef cattle small meat processors

1 Response

There is not a pricing mechanism for retail beef. The price is set by the market, not by costs. That is, you should charge whatever the local market will pay. That being said, if you have a good idea of the actual costs of the animal and processing costs, a typical markup ranges from 10% to 100%, depending on the cut. You can work backwards on the basis of needed price. For example, ground beef should be the largest single item you produce, and it will typically have the lowest markup. In contrast, rib eyes and tenderloins will have a higher markup. I've attached the latest USDA prices for wholesale cuts, which may be a good place to start. These prices are not retail, so there is no markup added. For more information, you can contact me directly at or 701-231-8975.