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Cluck or Chuck — Analyzing Chicken and Beef Costs Across the USA

Protein is an important part of your health, but which protein should you choose? Most people go for either chicken or beef, so using the data collected by COLI in the COLI 2023 Annual Average publication we can determine where the most and least expensive places are to buy a whole chicken and ground beef.

When looking for ground beef, the cheapest places are McAllen, TX and Temple, TX, where you will only be paying $4.69 and $4.93 per pound, respectively. There are plenty of tasty dishes you can make with ground beef, from a meat and potato casserole to classic homemade hamburgers. For those of you who want to make something quick after a long exercise session, maybe consider some simple tacos or an easy beef stroganoff.

For those of you who prefer chicken, you can get several quick meals out of a whole chicken, if you’re willing to do a little slicing and dicing. Of course, you could cook a whole roasted chicken and make those leftovers last, especially when the price is as low as $1.10 in a place like Bullhead City, AZ. But you could also make a nice chicken soup, or some garlic chicken.

If you’re living in one of these places, you might consider buying chicken instead, since the average price for a pound of ground beef is as high as $7.04 in Daytona Beach, FL or $6.76 in Kitsap County, WA. If you do decide to purchase some ground beef, consider making a larger meal that lasts a little longer than a quick taco, something like a shepherd’s pie or some chili.

In Bakersfield, CA, the price of a whole chicken is $3.49 per pound, which can add up quickly, so you might be better off finding an alternate source of protein than beef or chicken, such as eggs, beans, or cheese. That’s right! You can get protein from cheese.

Protein is an important component of the food you eat when it comes to your health, and using COLI we can determine how much you might expect to pay for such an essential part of your diet. And for those already paying for a gym membership, your wallet will thank you for being conscious of how much you’re spending on protein after your exercise sessions.

To learn more about other products or how your organization can become a data collection participant for the Cost of Living Index visit www.coli.org.