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Publication #FCS8718

Compare the Cost per Serving1

Jennifer Hillan and Claudia Peñuela2

Sometimes the cost per pound or ounce isn’t the best way to find the lowest-priced food. For some foods, like meat or poultry, it’s best to compare the cost per serving. Some cuts of meat and poultry have more bone and fat loss than others. For example, boneless cuts have more edible meat (servings per pound) than cuts with bones. To find the best buy for various cuts of meat, use the table below to find the number of servings per pound. Then divide the price per pound by the number of servings per pound.

(Remember that a serving of meat is about three ounces.)

Table 1. Servings per pound for various cuts of beef and poultry. 

Source: Burson, DE. Buying Meat by the Serving. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Fact Sheet. Publication G89-947.

Beef for stew

4

Whole chicken

2

Bottom round roast

3

Breast

Brisket

3

Breast (boneless)

4

Chuck roast

2

Thigh

Chuck roast (boneless)

Drumsticks

2

Ground beef

4

Leg quarter

2

Short ribs

2

Wings

Do you know how to find the best buy in the meat department? Let’s try it!

To find the cost per serving, divide the price per pound (from the food label) by the number of servings per pound (see Table 1):

PRICE PER POUND ÷ NUMBER OF SERVINGS PER POUND = COST PER SERVING

Example

  • Bottom round roast is on sale for $3.29 per pound

  • Chuck roast (with bone) is $3.19 per pound

                 Which is the better buy?_______________

Answer

  • Bottom round roast has 3 servings per pound.

 $3.29 divided by 3 equals $1.10 per serving.

  • Chuck roast with bone has 2 servings per pound.

$3.19 divided by 2 equals $1.60 per serving.

So, even though the bottom round costs more per pound, it is the better buy because it costs less per serving. You get more meat for your money!

Now it’s your turn!

Table 2. Which is the better buy?. 

Chicken wings are $1.99 per pound

Chicken breast (with bone) is $2.99 per pound

  • How many servings per pound are in the wings?

  • What is the cost per serving of the wings?

  • How many servings per pound are in the breast?

  • What is the cost per serving of the breast?

Which, then, is the better buy per serving?*

*=(answer appears on PDF version)

Congratulations! You are on your way to becoming a smarter shopper!

Footnotes

1.

This document is FCS8718, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date November 2001. Revised June 2011. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Written in 2001 by Jennifer Hillan, MSH, RD, LD/N, University of Florida. Revised in 2011 by Claudia Peñuela, EFNEP nutrition assistant, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences; Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida; Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.