Why Is Jerky So Expensive?

A can of beef jerky


If you've ever wondered why beef jerky is so expensive, you're not alone. The answer lies in the many factors and processes that go into making this popular snack. In this article, we will discuss the reasons behind beef jerky's high price tag. So sit back and relax as we take you on a journey through the world of beef jerky production.

1. High-Quality Ingredients  

So why is beef jerky so expensive? Well one of the reasons is ingredient quality. The quality of the raw ingredients, such as meat, spices, marinades, and other inputs, has a direct impact on the end product's quality. We've seen that higher-quality raw materials result in a better jerky end product.

For example, most jerky producers import crazy spices from all over the world. This gives their Jerky complexity and a distinguished flavor. Another example would be the type of meat. At Prevail beef jerky, we use high quality grass-fed beef only.

You may cut corners and work with low-cost suppliers, but the end products will be less flavorful. The best beef jerky isn't only about spice but also about freshness. We seek for vibrant and flavorful spice mixtures that allow our jerkies to sing. In the end, good components create the finest beef jerky, but they do come at a cost and add to the overall price.

A cow farm

It's important to note that, when it comes to raw ingredients, there is a limit to the amount of improvement possible before you reach a point of diminishing returns. The finest cuts of beef for jerky are lean, which cost more than fattier ones. Because top and bottom rounds give the greatest flavor and texture for jerky, high-quality jerky makers prefer to utilize these lean cuts. This comprises less expensive, fattier portions with more marbling, which means it sacrifices quality for a somewhat cheaper price tag. When it comes to beef jerky, the flavor and texture of high-quality cuts are well worth the money.

In short: The quality of the ingredients has a direct impact on the end product's quality. Higher-quality raw materials result in a better jerky end product. Good components create the finest beef jerky, but they do come at a cost and add to the overall price.

 2. Processing And Packaging

The next major contributor to beef jerky's high price tag is processing and packaging. Unlike most other snacks, beef jerky is a "dry" food. This means that there is no additional moisture added during the manufacturing process. 

Compare this to potato chips or candy bars, where a good portion of the weight comes from water or oil. By removing water, processors are able to create a product with a longer shelf life and reduced shipping weight. This increased efficiency in production and shipping results in significant cost savings, which are passed on to the end consumer.

A pack of prevail beef jerky

Another benefit of producing a dry snack like beef jerky is that it doesn't require refrigeration until after it has been opened. This opens up new distribution possibilities for manufacturers as well as retailers. 

In order to maintain a long shelf life and protect the product from pests, beef jerky is often packed into airtight containers or bags. This packaging also needs to be strong enough to withstand the rigors of shipping. All of these factors add up, resulting in increased production costs that are passed on to the end-user.

In short: beef jerky is expensive because of the high-quality ingredients, the cost-effective processing and packaging, and the need to maintain a long shelf life. These factors work together to create a product that is worth its price tag. So if you're looking for a delicious and healthy snack, be prepared to pay a bit more for beef jerky!

3. Result Of The Dehydration Process

The dehydration process is another key factor in beef jerky's high price tag. Jerky is made by dehydrating raw meat using heat, air, or smoke. This process removes most of the water from the meat, resulting in a final product that is about 50-60% moisture. The dehydration process also concentrates the flavors and nutrients in the meat, making for a more flavorful and nutritious snack.

Features Of Prevail Beef Jerky

The downside of making jerky with this processing method is that it requires significant energy inputs and results in a loss of weight for the manufacturer. For example, if you start with 100 pounds of premium steak, you will end up with only 50 pounds of dried jerky. This loss of weight means that there are significantly higher fixed costs associated with producing finished jerky. These costs are passed on to the end-user in the form of a higher price tag.

In short: Raw beef is about 75% water, and most of it evaporates during the dehydration process. As a result, this procedure substantially increases overall expenses by at least three times, resulting in a greater-tasting end product.

4. High Demand

The final factor driving the high price of beef jerky is the simple fact that it is in high demand. Beef jerky is a popular snack with people of all ages and backgrounds. This widespread appeal means that there is a constant demand for this product, which drives up prices.

5. Labor-Intensive Process

A butcher cutting a piece of meat

Another factor contributing to the high price of beef jerky is the fact that it is a labor-intensive product. Unlike many other snacks, beef jerky is made entirely by hand. This means that there are no machines involved in the jerky making process. From start to finish, each and every piece of beef jerky is made by human hands.

This process of making beef jerky is labor-intensive and requires significant time and effort on the part of the manufacturer. It also necessitates the employment of skilled workers who can produce a quality product. All of this contributes to higher production costs and drives up the price tag for consumers.

In short: Premium beef jerky is a labor-intensive product that requires significant time and effort to produce. This results in higher production costs, which are passed on to the end-user.

 6. Government Regulations

A bowl of beef jerky next to a PREVAIL Jerky pack

Government regulations are also a contributing factor to the high price of beef jerky products. Unlike many other snacks, good beef jerky is a heavily regulated product. There are a number of government agencies that are responsible for ensuring the safety and quality of this product. This includes the USDA, FDA, HACCP, and state departments of health.

The cost of compliance with these government regulations is significant and often passed on to the end consumer in the form of higher prices. For example, manufacturers must test their products for contaminants such as E. coli and salmonella.

They must also follow strict guidelines for labeling and packaging. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant fines and penalties from government agencies.

In short: Beef jerky is a heavily regulated product, and the cost of compliance with government regulations is passed on to the end-user.

 7. Ingredient Shipping Costs

Another cost that is passed on to the end consumer is the cost of shipping ingredients to the manufacturing plant. Jerky manufacturers need a variety of ingredients such as beef, salt, sugar, and spices. These ingredients are often sourced from all over the world, which adds to shipping costs.

Three shipping trucks

These ingredient shipping costs are another reason why beef jerky is more expensive than other snacks. Manufacturers unwillingly pass on these higher costs to the end-user in order to remain profitable.

So there you have it; seven reasons why beef jerky is so expensive. While it may be frustrating for consumers, these factors ultimately result in a high-quality, tasty product that is in high demand. 

Is Cheap Beef Jerky Good?

The answer to this question varies. Cheap beef jerky is often made with low-quality, processed meat. It is also loaded with unhealthy additives and preservatives. This combination of factors might result in a poor-tasting, unhealthy product. If you want to enjoy the benefits of beef jerky, it is best to purchase a quality product from a reputable source. This will ensure that you are getting a high-quality, healthy snack.

PREVAIL's High Quality Beef Jerky

PREVAIL Beef Jerky

Prevail beef jerky is the perfect snack for people on the go. Our high quality beef jerky is made with only the finest natural ingredients, organic spices, and is also Paleo and Gluten Free certified. This results in a top-quality, sugar-free, nutritious, and delicious snack that is sure to satisfy your cravings.

Prevail beef jerky is currently available in a variety of flavors including Umami, Spicy, and Lemongrass. We also have a variety of packaging options to choose from, including single packs, four-packs, and eight-packs. So whether you're looking for a quick snack or something to take with you on your next adventure, Prevail beef jerky has you covered!


In a way, while beef jerky may have a higher cost than other snacks, it ensures that beef jerky producers maintain higher levels of quality and safety. This is because beef jerky companies must justify the high price of their product, and they are well aware of it.

Beef jerky that is low in quality is dry, hard as a rock, and devoid of the distinctive flavor of beef. Even this low-quality beef jerky, on the other hand, is pricey to produce. As a result, high-quality jerky becomes more cost-effective to produce and charges a little extra. Prevail Jerky is a cost effective, tasty option that you won't regret purchasing!