We've long sought a chicken that meets our high standards for health, humane husbandry, and sustainability.
It hasn't been easy, because raising chickens the old-fashioned way takes much longer and is more costly.
We'd like to explain why our Heritage Chicken costs more than standard supermarket birds … including certified-organic chicken.
Heritage Chicken: A whole different animal
Cheap supermarket chicken comes from the huge, often-inhumane factory farms that have driven many poultry farmers out of business … or turned them into contractors for large agri-corporations.
The Heritage Chicken we offer is a very different animal. Comparing them to supermarket chicken (even organic chicken) is like comparing "apples to oranges.”
From the 1930s through the 1960's, poultry producers set out to raise bigger, cheaper chickens. They achieved their goal through crossbreeding and by feeding their birds growth-accelerating antibiotics: a practice that may create antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Today's huge, bland, low-cost supermarket chickens grow incredibly fast, but have trouble walking and suffer ailments caused by their grotesquely abnormal bodies.
We will only sell heritage-breed chickens grown naturally and humanely, without antibiotic growth-promoters, to a size at or below what the ASPCA calls a chicken's "skeletal capacity.”
Neither is it fair to compare our slow-growing Heritage Chickens to the certified-organic birds sold by regular and "natural” supermarket chains.
That's because large-scale certified-organic chicken farms generally raise the same fast-growing, bland, hybrid Cornish Cross chickens found on conventional factory farms. This explains how they are able to raise and sell them for so much less than our Heritage Chicken.
Heritage Chicken cost: Comparable to Vital Choice seafood and beef
While our Heritage Chickens costs considerably more than supermarket chicken, it's not more costly than some of our most popular seafood and beef products.
Depending on the number you order, the price of our Heritage Chicken currently ranges from $13.57 to $16.86 per pound.
This is less than half the cost of many of our seafood and grass-fed organic beef products … even our lowest-priced premium canned sockeye salmon sells for more than $13 per pound, yet many customers consider it a great value.
On top of the high wholesale cost of our Heritage Chickens, the convenience of home delivery (with Free Shipping on orders of $99 or more) and very high level of service our customers have come to expect—a rare personal touch—adds further cost.
Cost vs. value: We all get what we pay for
When it comes to food products, value is a combination of quality, service and price. Normally you can have two of these, but seldom all three.
Like most food retailers, we do not make large profits on the sale of our foods … we simply work hard to find and source the very best, back them with fantastic "worry free” service, then charge what we must to accomplish this and remain in business.
This approach will always cost more, but Vital Choice customers repeatedly tell us that they appreciate the value of the "real foods” we strive to discover, develop, and offer.
Our top priority is to find and offer foods that meet the highest health, quality, and sustainability standards.
Unless and until foods that meet such high standards can be produced on much larger scales, they will rarely rank among the cheapest.
Unfortunately, that transformation of our food production system will only happen when many more consumers will pay for genuinely healthful, delicious, sustainable foods…in other words, the real cost of raising these types of foods.