How Much Does Meat Actually Cost?

In the U.S., you can buy a pack of gum for
just one or two bucks. But cleaning old chewing gum off of sidewalks and streets can cost
a town a hundred thousand dollars a year, a hidden toll the community has to pay. In
fact, pretty much everything we consume has hidden costs associated with it – especially
the meat, dairy, and eggs that make up a quarter of the American diet. To start, there’s the cost of raising the
animals, which the government helps cover by offering crop insurance, cheap water, low-interest
loans, and insanely low fees for grazing on public lands.  If the cost of these subsidies
showed up on the weekly grocery bill of an average American family of four instead of
hiding in their tax statement, it would add about 10 dollars per trip. Then there are the health care costs associated
with producing and eating the animals. We raise them in a way that breeds antibiotic-resistant
illnesses that sicken humans. And the large quantities in which we eat them – 25 pounds
of meat, 5 gallons of milk, 2 dozen eggs, and a pound of animal fats per family per
week – contribute to major chronic diseases like stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and
some cancers. If the medical costs and lost wages from all these diseases were included
in the family’s weekly grocery bill, they would add another 25 dollars. Then there’s the potentially disastrous
cost of damaging our planet’s ability to sustain us. Only a tenth of the food livestock eat
gets turned into food we can eat. The animals use the rest just to stay alive, and along
the way, they pollute our water with their poop and our air with their methane breath
… and their poop. To feed the 9 billion animals we eat each year, we need to grow
roughly 3 times as many crops as we would if we just ate plants. All that effort emits
huge amounts of greenhouse gases, adds poisonous chemicals and concentrated nutrients to the
soil, air, and our water sources, and erodes billions of tons of topsoil each year. Paying
for these damages up front would add a whopping 240 dollars to the family’s grocery bill. Of course, the average American family doesn’t
actually fork over 475 dollars at the checkout counter each week, because we as a society
have defaulted to paying for those costs in other ways. But understanding just how expensive
meat, dairy, and eggs really are might lead us to eat less of them, because an additional
275 dollars per week is enough to make even a mouth-watering bacon cheeseburger harder
to swallow. Hey this is Henry, thanks for watching! For
some really nuanced unpacking of the strong feelings people have (in both directions)
about eating less meat, we recommend Brian Kateman’s TEDx talk and Hank Green’s video
“Why Are Vegetarians Annoying?” (links in the video description). This video was sponsored by, a
leading provider of audiobooks including periodicals, fiction and nonfiction. In our research, we
used the book “Meatonomics”, by David Simon, which, unsurprisingly, is about the
economics of producing and consuming meat. It’s the first attempt we’ve seen at inclusively
quantifying the hidden costs of animal-based foods in America, and Simon includes enough
solid statistics and figures to help you consider the issue on your own (though it may not surprise
you that he concludes Americans eat too much meat and dairy). You can get a free 30-day
trial, and download Meatonomics, or any audiobook of your choice, by going to
Again, that’s And we’d love to hear your thoughts about eating

100 thoughts on “How Much Does Meat Actually Cost?

  1. Assuming we stopped eating animal based staples, can we get all the nutrients we need including protein from plants alone? I've heard of beans & rice or soybean products having all essential amino acids but is it enough without eating it excessively or regularly? One of the hardest problems I have with eating plants is the portions needed for me to feel full & obtain correct nutrition. I could easily eat a plate filled with salad & not feel satisfied. Restaurants often make meat the main course with vegetable portions small & bland. Spoilage is another issue as many plants can't be frozen & be appetizing as meat while having a long shelf life.

  2. This channel is funny informative but hidden. Well leave subliminal messages. They guys are on one path but they hid?I may know what you're hiding but it's not even the most horrendous thing so? Anywho keep it hush if you're shy n much love♡

  3. Considering how delicious fatty meats are there is no way humans will just give it up. The problem is those who abstain from eating meat still pay the wanton costs of meat eaters in taxes. Life competing vs other life forms and their decisions of the self vs other's decisions, same old story same old problems.

  4. Actually, this means it's more economical to eat MORE meat, not less. Because those costs are hidden, you are paying them regardless of if you eat meat or not. So a family which spends $20 on meat/dairy per week is still spending the same $275 extra hidden cost as a family which spends $400 on meat, which means the more meat you consume the LESS $/pound each pound of meat will cost you! Thanks MinuteEarth, I will now consume the maximum amount of meat I possibly can to make it as cheap as possible! 🙂

  5. I don't like vegans or vegetarians who don't eat meat because they wan't to sympathize with the animals but in actuality plants could possibly feel pain and there is no such thing as living withought something else dying but I do understand vegans and vegetarians who don't eat meat because of the reasons stated in the video

  6. Meat and eggs causing cancer? are you fucking shitting me? that has nothing to do with the meat, but everything to do with the preparation of the meat. Get your act together.

  7. the health bill is at least relative to the quality of animal products you eat, as for the crops, allot of them aren't eatable to us anyway, like originally cows essentially turned grass into food for humans, since we need some amount of meat and can't eat grass this used to be very useful.

  8. But if the whole world only eats plants and not meats, every one will turn into pussies just like the creators of this channels. Without real men, the life on the planet as we know it will stop since instead of marrying women, men will have their dicks cut off and turn them into vaginas and start wearing dresses. Do you really want that to happen to our world?

  9. The entire world needs to ban Meat. I m a meat eater too. But for the collective good of the planet, this we can and should do.
    Their wont be any food to feed those animals anyways.

  10. I don't mind if we stop making junk food as long as the favorite ones stayed each company has to pay a fine of some sorts and whichever company goes bankrupt has to leave the stores but the healthy snacks can stay you know what scratch that junk food should just become more healthy and meat should get more expensive so ppl stop buying it and sales go down and only very few companies can stay like the best ones because no way can everyone be a vegetarian because no one can make them because riots and stuff yeah and I think we are trying to stop war now stopping wars is something everyone can agree on and if anyone is to suspicious then we can spy OK that sound good it should and then we just power basically everything by solar power we will need A LOT of solar panels though ppl who understand this kind of stuff needs to spread the word go ahead and copy and paste and edit this kind of stuff with the creators permission of course we should all work together to have a peaceful planet and if all else fails then to the moon we go i guess oh well ( idk how to spell it but I think you should know what I'm talking about ) we can always try to uh oh never mind! Idk how to say it but let's hope we can save our planet! 😉😼🌎🌏🌍🌽🌲🌳🌿🌾🍃🌱🌰🌵🍂🍁🍀🌺🌈🌼🌻🌸🌹🌷🌺⛅☁

  11. You will truly understand this if you live in a country without government intervention in reducing the cost of meat. In those countries, eating meat is a status symbol, poor people are normally slim and people become thick after gaining wealth so are able to afford meat.

  12. "might lead us to eat LESS of them" (with a small piece of meat shown with higher amount of veggies, which is a better diet regardless of what you believe)
    The same idiots that's shouting "I'M NOT TURNING VEGAN" "STILL GONNA EAT MEAT" & "I'M IGNORING THIS PROPAGANDA" are the same idiots who can barely listen, watch, or comprehend information 😒

  13. What an incredibly biased and disingenuous video with strawmans and other fallacies. Worst MinuteEarth video.

  14. Everyone dies in the end so in living life to the fullest and eat meat and sweats, yes did you know sweets are made of jelletin which is pig fat so in not going vegan, and don't go on about this global warming crap yes it's real but but it happened for millions of years before we EVOLVED into humans from apes

  15. Where did those figures for a family of four come from? Mine doesn't even go through most of that much in a month, let alone a week, and I would say we were pretty average. I mean, 1lbs of hamburger is more than enough for spaghetti sauce for two meals and you only need like, a cup of milk, if even, for your cereal. Eggs are the weekend breakfast when you have time to cook. One steak is enough for stir fry or stroganoph.

    Maybe there should be a closer look at the amount of waste businesses create instead of how much 'we eat' and apply penalties and laws there. After working in a grocery store and a restaurant, the amount of waste is enough to feed dozens of families a day, and that's just what I've personally seen. I would hate to see global totals.

  16. The ecological cost seems to account for future costs and way out of proportion. There's about 125m households in the US. If you really add $240×125,000,000×52 that's about $1.5 trillion spent on ecological impact each year. That's equal to 40% of the entire US budget for comparison. While there's indeed costs due to higher temperatures such as more hurricanes etc. and soil needs to be replenished more often than normally, they don't cost $1.5 trillion. Seems to me the authors extrapolated current pollution growth rates into the next 100 years, assumed that the world would continue to pollute at exponential rate and then averaged the cost over 100 years to come to this number. Bad, bad science filled with bad assumptions. Or you took the worst case scenario and presented it as the real scenario. Either way, if you think Earth will have a tornado in every city each week and people wouldn't be smart enough to build stronger buildings you're wrong. I agree about the rest of the costs but the ecological impact is absurd.

  17. My family is larger, yet still only has half to three quarters the average amount of animal products, huh.

  18. I highly doubt the cost of wasting 90% of our fresh water becomes $10 on the grocery bill of an American that averages eating 3 burgers a week. It's substantially more. You also said nothing regarding deforestation done to provide food for these animals.

  19. 0:06 a cheewing gum in serbia costs about 0.01 us dollars or 1 serbian dinar. Or a chocolate thingy soft bar costs about 24 dinars or 0.24 dollars

  20. If you are vegetarian or vegan, why should you have to pay for the hidden costs of meat? You should only have to pay those costs when you purchase them.

  21. Some people think that this video wants them to stop eating burgers, while it's just inform use about the effects from today's farming. You will continue to eat what you want at the end of the day. The video can't stop you from eating what you love. It giving us just another perspective of the world today, and hoping that we can make the world a better place tomorrow. So why people reacting like the video take away their rights of having foods.

  22. without even mentioning that by using all of those plants to grow an animal and then kill it, we are taking food away from starving children in the poor countries that export their grains for the rich to feed livestock. we could feed more then 10 billion people with the food we are currently growing

  23. How about end government subsidies for meat and for grains. Heck all industries and let the real cost be seen so market forces could act properly.

  24. Manure can be used to fertilize the ground where the crops grow. Which is actually what it's used for.
    Methane is really useful to humans, as it's constantly used in domestic cooking. Maybe attaching something to the animal's butt would make it a renewable resource?
    People could also go putting fruit trees to re-forest the place if deforesting to produce food is a problem.

    You can argue about how bad it is to the planet that we want to eat meat, or you can think aropund it and make it a good thing instead by using that thing life gave you, that we humans like to call "brain". You people are gifted with higher intelligence than any other creature on the world, so instead of complaining about how humans are the worst for wanting to have variety on their diet, you should use your brain to actually help this world by thinking around the problem, and try to kill two birds with a single shot.

  25. im glad that we dont have to pay so much

    although i have been thinking

    why do we have a money system anyway?

    why does stuff need money

    if ya think about it, money is useless

  26. Another hidden cost to meat is the sentient creature you are sentencing to death for your tastebuds.

    If you are against people killing animals for fun, why aren't you vegan yet?

  27. Stop acting like the government is doing you a favor by giving all these subsidies they are not your friend

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