Trendy broths are making the price of bones rise
It’s an ancient remedy that promises to cure virtually every ailment. But now, that ~elixir of life~ is becoming less and less affordable. We’re talking about the bone broth trend — and the fact that it’s pushing up the price of bones.
Sipping bone broth has been trendy for the last couple of years now, rising in popularity thanks to the Paleo Diet and rave reviews from celebrities — like former Laker Kobe Bryant — who have praised the hot stock for its health benefits.
And while bone broth, which is typically made from hot water simmered for hours with roasted animal bones, vegetables, and fresh herbs, should be cheap to make (those ingredients are not expensive, after all) the popularity of the broth has caused the price of animal bones — which were once basically considered scrap — to rise exponentially.
According to a report from NPR, farmers say their bones are flying out the door at prices they couldn’t have imagined. Katherine Johnson of Dragonfly Farms in Virginia, for example, said that just three years ago she’d leave her bones with her butcher instead of bringing them back to her farm for consumers.
"They didn't sell," she explained. "They take up a lot of space and we have to pay to have them packaged."
Now, though, she can barely keep them in stock, and they’re selling for about $2 per pound; previously, bones could go for about half that price or less. Whoa.
Sisters Tressa and Katie Yellig, who own broth company Salt, Fire & Time and the Broth Bar in Portland, Oregon, say they’ve noticed a steep jump in the price of bones, too. The sisters went from paying about $30 for 30 to 50 pounds of bones from a farmer, to $4 a pound from some butchers — a dramatic rise.
"You have to remember, [bones] were waste products that were going to dog food. Farmers were ecstatic if they could get anything for them," said Tressa.
But these days, “trying to get enough bones is really hard,” she said.
With promises to cure everything from stomach ailments to allergies to inflammation — despite the fact that science doesn’t quite back up those claims — the trend doesn’t seem to be going away soon. So start factoring the price of bones into your food budget, because longevity don’t come cheap.