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Cattle Buyer By Day, Consumer Watcher By Night

When he’s not buying and selling cattle, Rick Wright’s hobby is to watch shoppers peruse the packages at the Costco meat counter – just to gauge their reactions.

“They’ll pick up a beef tenderloin, take a look at it, then drop it like it’s on fire when they see the price,” he said.

It’s hard to not sympathize, he added, at a price of $20.29/kg and even $7/kg for hamburger, compared to pork loin at $5.29/kg.

“What blew me away was the chicken wings,” he said. “Those wings were $11.04 per kilo. If you pulled the edible meat off of those wings and weighed it, the price per kg would be higher than the tenderloin.”

Chicken wings, he noted, used to be thrown away as unsalable, until some savvy marketer figured out how to pitch them as a desirable convenience food.

“We need in the beef industry to find chicken wings,” said Wright, who added that increased exports of tongues, hearts, tripe, shanks and tails to Asia or other countries could boost overall value per head in the future.

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