There are plenty of reasons to buy food online. New delivery services like Instacart send out people to shop for you according to your online selections and deliver groceries to your door the same day. But if our local grocery store doesn’t have the selections you want, the experience can leave you feeling unenthusiastic about future purchases.
If you want to buy high-quality meat online, your best bet might be to go with a specialty online seller like GTA Meats that deals strictly with meats. There is no reason why high quality and specialty meats cannot be transported safely. It’s only a matter of transporting it properly, which means it’s likely to be more expensive.
Is Buying Meat Online Safe?
When it comes to buying perishable food online, there’s no such thing as a risk-free venture. But there are ways to optimize your chances. The first thing you should do is to go with a reputable online vendor. Omaha Steaks or Butcher Box, for example, are good places to start.
You want to go with a company that uses flash freezing, packs their products properly, and ships promptly. If you can’t find this information on their site, you can try looking up online reviews, or call the company yourself.
There may be quantity restrictions, especially during pandemic conditions. But the vendors mentioned above are well known and have a good reputation. They would be a decent standard of quality to compare to as you continue your search.
Is it Expensive?
If you were to use a service like Instacart to hire a shopper/driver to collect your selections for you, the price won’t be much more than what you would normally pay. This is a good service to use if you’re stuck at home for health or other reasons.
But if you’re looking to buy high-quality, prime cuts or hard to find meats, your best bet is to go with a premium service like the ones mentioned above. In this case, you can expect to pay as much as $20 for a single high-quality steak.
That is about par for the course no matter where you shop, which means these companies have done a good job of absorbing the shipping costs.
The Pros & Cons of Online Meat Shopping
Whether you will be best served by buying meat online or going to your local butcher or grocery will depend on your situation. So it’s helpful to cover all of the pertinent virtues of online meat shopping. I think you’ll find that the list of pros stacks up rather well.
Pro: Unbeatable Convenience
It doesn’t get more convenient than delivery right to your door. In some rural locations, front door delivery might be hard to find. But when it works, it works famously.
Pro: More Choice
With a popular, high-quality vendor like the ones mentioned above, you’re going to have an excellent list of selections to choose from. This not only means that it will be easier to match your tastes, but it will also be easier to find high-quality cuts.
Pro: Higher Quality (usually)
Companies that deliver meats almost always use a flash-freezing process prior to shipping. That means they will be fresher on arrival than just about anything you find at the store. Remember, at the store they want it to look nice- and that’s not conducive to safe storage.
Pro: More Process Transparency
Because of the obvious concerns with putting meat on a truck and driving around the country with it, online meat sellers have responded to high scrutiny with high transparency.
That’s a good thing. It means they promise more than your local grocery can- and they strive to keep those promises.
Con: It Can Be Expensive
Online meat sellers have to do more to ensure food safety and quality. They have to pay their delivery contractors, who have to use expensive equipment to transport meat. They also have to absorb the costs of delivery failures- which do happen.
Also, buying higher quality meat is going to be more expensive no matter where you get it.
Con: Vetting a Vendor May Take Time
To be reasonably sure you’re getting a good product that is safe, you need to scrutinize the vendor. This can take time. Sometimes it can be easy. If you find lots of good reviews online, if you find plenty of info on the seller’s site, and if they take phone calls promptly- you’re in luck.
In some cases, you could vet a company in a few hours. Sometimes it will take longer. But if you compare this to the vetting process of your local grocery- you’ll quickly realize that there really isn’t one other than trial and error.
Con: Food Safety May Be an Issue
As always, food safety can be an issue. But I think you’ll find this to be true no matter where you get your meat from. You should do your best to vet your seller fully. But you should understand that accidents do happen and that in life there’s no such thing as a 100% guarantee.
At the end of the day, choosing a source for your meats is all about context. The right meat vendor for you, whether it is online or not, is one that provides fresh, high-quality products of your choice at an acceptable price. It may take time to find a seller that ticks all the boxes for you, but when you do, keep those contact details handy for your next big order.