How to Save Money on Meat with Zaycon Foods

Saving Money with Zaycon Foods-a nationwide food buying "club" of sorts

Disclosure: I was not monetarily compensated in any way for this post, but I did receive a free box of chicken. All opinions are my own.

A passion of mine is teaching families how they can live healthfully on a budget. Meat is one of the most important food items to buy, and many families today are looking for how to save money on meat.

For several years, my family lived on less than $20,000 per year net income. (Yes, it really felt like I was a stay-at-home mom who could barely afford it!) But it was around the same time that I began my natural living journey.

It was incredibly frustrating to know what I needed to feed my family but not be able to afford to do so.

Sometimes, we simply have to compromise. When we can’t afford all organic, we focus on buying whole, real foods instead. We strive to buy hormone and antibiotic-free meat, as we feel like this is especially important.

Still, our food budget gets eaten away much too quickly.

A few years ago someone introduced me to Zaycon Foods. The company is a buying club of sorts (except there are no extra fees–ever!) that delivers to locations all over the U.S.

They specialize in fresh-from-the-farm meat and offer some produce as well.

zaycon delivery

The Zaycon Foods delivery man was ready for us when we arrived to pick up the chicken!

Zaycon’s customers choose them for three reasons:

Quality: They only sell what they eat themselves— high-quality, healthy food products.

Price: Fresh, high-quality retail food products sold for wholesale prices.

Customer Service: Exceptional service all along the way, from order to reminder to convenient, efficient pickup. (Speaking of reminders, Zaycon sent me both email and text reminders to make sure I didn’t forget to pick up my chicken!)

Their most popular product is their fresh, boneless, skinless chicken breasts–which contain no hormones*, additives or artificial ingredients. The chicken comes directly from the farm and has never been frozen.

They sell the chicken in 40-lb. boxes–for only about $1.79 per lb.! (In contrast, the chicken breasts we buy at BJ’s are nearly $4 per pound. Check the prices before ordering…they fluctuate but are generally MUCH cheaper than at the grocery store!)

I had the opportunity to try out a box of their chicken about a month ago.

One big question I had from Zaycon was whether or not their chicken is also antibiotic-free. (And I knew this was a question you would have as well!)

*It is illegal to sell chicken with hormones in the United States. All U.S. chicken is supposed to be hormone-free.

40 lbs of chicken

This is what a box of 40 lbs. of chicken breasts looks like.

This is what Zaycon told me about the quality of their chicken:

“They are non-caged, antibiotic-free chickens. They just aren’t certified organic because the farms opted to keep medicine on-site for the ones who get sick.”

They went on to explain:

“Antibiotics are kept on-hand in case a chicken gets sick. If a chicken is sick and is treated with antibiotics, it is not processed until the antibiotics are out of its system. As of now, meat can’t be classified as ‘certified organic’ unless there are absolutely no antibiotics on-site. But they are not given antibiotics for any other reason that if one of them gets sick.”

When I asked about GMOs in their chicken feed, they told me this:

“We can’t say non-GMO because the farms can’t ensure that all the corn feed they receive is non-GMO (due to cross-contamination, etc).”

I was actually really, really satisfied with this answer.

The stark truth is that not everyone can afford organic, antibiotic-free, cage-free chicken. As my husband said the other day: “Until someone has my budget to work with they cannot judge the food I buy.”

We do the best we can with what we have. I know a lot of you are in the same boat.

From my research and interview with the company, I really see no difference in Zaycon‘s chicken and the antibiotic-free chicken I’ve been purchasing at BJ’s (where the label says the chickens eat a vegetarian diet, and I have always assumed the feed is probably full of GMO corn/soy. So we’ve compromised).

OK–there is one big difference: the price.

If you are looking for a good, affordable, fresh, quality chicken option, Zaycon may be for you!

Note: You can only buy the chicken in 40-lb. cases. There is no maximum amount that you can buy, but you obviously will need the space for at least 40 lbs. (which is the size of the box pictured).

We do not have space for that much chicken at one time, so we are using my parents’ chest freezer. You can always choose to go in with a friend as well!

box of zaycon chicken

The chicken breasts themselves are HUGE. I asked about the size, and this is what the company told me:

“We also request only Jumbo-Sized chickens. So when the plants are processing the animals, they box the biggest ones for us. Some people see how big our chicken breasts are and wonder if they are genetically modified or filled with solution. But they aren’t. We just get the jumbo ones.”

They do NOT come individually wrapped or pre-trimmed, so you will have to do that. It took me about an hour to bag all of mine up in freezer bags. Two chicken breasts are plenty to feed my family of 4 eaters (and my girls eat just as much as the adults do!)

Other products Zaycon offers include:

  •  fresh 93/7 super lean ground beef: LFTB Free (no pink slime), cattle have a grass diet which is supplemented by grain only after they reach approximately 700 pounds, no hormones or antibiotics, 100% grown in the USA, no chemicals orr additives or water added to meat during processing. Prior to processing, inspectors from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service randomly sample cattle under a monitoring plan and perform testing for antibiotic residues.
  • premium hickory-smoked bacon
  • non-homogenized whole milk from a family farm in Spokane, Washington: We are dairy intolerant in our family, but I was SUPER impressed with the description of their milk. Not only does it come from cows on a family farm, but the cows are grass-fed, only given antibiotics if sick (and then not milked until they test negative for antibiotics), free of GMOs, low-temp. pasteurized (they explain on their site why they are not legally able to sell raw milk).
  • bacon-wrapped pork fillets
  • fresh strawberries (not organic)
  • beef franks
  • Polish sausage
  • pork loin ribs
  • pork sausage links
  • catfish filets
  • turkey-breast roast
  • ham
  • wild Alaskan code fillets
  • wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon filets

processing chicken

All of Zaycon’s prices are listed on their website and vary per “event,” as they call the days when they delivery certain products to areas nationwide.

Most events only carry 1-2 of the products. For example, the event I attended only offered chicken. We arrived, and the man checked us off the list and transferred the 40-lb. box directly from the delivery truck to our van!

You can sign up for a Zaycon account here.

Don’t worry…they will NOT ask for your credit card, and you will NOT be required to buy anything. Having an account just allows you an easy way to place orders, keep up with events in your area and collect referral points. You can earn $1 for every person you refer!

If you register for an event (place an order), I would do so as soon as you know Zaycon is coming to a town near you because their events fill up FAST! I get their newsletter, so I know ahead of time when they will be coming and what products they will be offering. I want to try their beef next!

Find Zaycon Foods on Facebook here.

zaycon chicken

Disclosure: I was not monetarily compensated in any way for this post, but I did receive a free box of chicken. I have also used my referral link, so I will earn $1 for every person who places an order. It’s not a lot, but, hey, every little bit counts, right? If you sign up, go ahead and get yourself a referral link and start earning points toward a purchase! All opinions are my own.

Had you ever heard of Zaycon Foods? What do you think about what Zaycon Foods offers? Do you think you would ever give them a try? What are you ideas for ways to save money on meat?

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Comments

  1. Jaqulene says

    I’m sorry but I have ordered Zaycon several times and will never do it again. The first couple of times they were great but this last time when I got my chicken I got a 40lb block of frozen chicken and let me just say that trying to process that chicken was nearly impossible. I ended up having to thaw the chicken part way and then separate partially frozen chicken breasts and re-freeze them. I know that its really not a good idea to thaw and then re-freeze but really what was my option? That was more than $70 worth of meat in one big frozen brick. Anyhow I just wanted to share my story to show that contrary to what the company said clearly my chicken was not fresh from the farm as they claim because it takes a heck of a long time to freeze 40lbs of chicken into a solid block. Don’t believe everything a company claims.

    • says

      Hi Jacqueline,

      Did you contact Zaycon about this? I’m sorry you had a rough experience. That really stinks. But that doesn’t mean they are lying about their practices. I think they could get in serious trouble if they froze that chicken and then thawed it out and sold it as “fresh.” People could get sick from that…and all kinds of lawsuits would ensue!

      I shared your experience with Zaycon, and this is what they said: “We had a thermostat issue with one truck on our chicken sale where the product was accidentally frozen. We did offer partial refunds for everyone who called us about it. We are currently installing devices in all of our trucks that will notify us if the temperature reaches a certain level. Unfortunately, the issue happened over night and the driver noticed it the next morning. In the future we’ll be able to solve these problems before they happen.”

      So I would encourage you–no matter how long time has passed–to ask for a refund! You should get what you ordered, and it sounds like you didn’t! And if you were satisfied before and this was your only bad experience…maybe give them another chance?
      Erin recently posted..How Buying a Year’s Supply of Face Wash Saves Me Money {Jenuinely Pure Review & Giveaway}My Profile

    • Cindy Cornell says

      I loved Zaycon the first couple times too. My 3rd time I got a few pounds of some unrecognizable meat placed in a small bag inside my bag of chicken. It had a liver texture and was flat and as large as my hand. Never figured it out and it smelled strange when cooked, so it went in the garbage. Never got anywhere with customer service. My 4th order was GB. Tasted great but of course they owed me a little over $8 credit because I got less than the 40 lbs in each box. It took me over 2 months and several phone calls and emails to get that. My next order pickup date was changed and I couldn’t get it. They credited my account-Zaycon account, NOT my credit card- without a problem, but I was upset about buying 2 months early and then having the date change less than 1 week prior, especially since I live over an hour away–and NO I can’t get someone else to get it for me. They have a hard time understanding that. My 5th order was a big one–$300.00. I used the money they put on my Zaycon account along with a credit card. Sure enough, they changed the pickup date again last minute to a Saturday evening of all things. Had to cancel. I was so disappointed. Missed out on bacon last time and now the GB! Really had to fight for this one. First they wanted me to get someone else to pick it up, then they wanted to credit my account and not give me my money back on my card–Zaycon, your customers aren’t stupid, we know you credit our accounts to ensure we will spend it on your product. This was my last order because of changing dates and how hard I had to fight for my own money….love the product, but the customer service sucks!!!

  2. says

    We use Zaycon for our beef! We love it! We can get 10lb rolls for $40, which is $4/lb. When we run out of beef we wind up paying $7-8/lb for grassfed at the grocery store.

    One thing I would like to know that wasn’t mentioned here…are the chickens air chilled or water bathed?

    • says

      I had to ask! Here is what they said, Kimberly:

      “The chickens aren’t water bathed. They are air-chilled, but I’ve been told that it’s a relatively quick process.”

      I had no idea their beef was of such good quality until I started researching for this chicken review! Most of the “grass-fed” beef around here sounds the same…grass-fed and then grain finished. I see they are coming to our area with their beef in August. Can’t wait to give it a try!!
      Erin recently posted..17 Free or Frugal Summer Activities for KidsMy Profile

      • says

        And the great thing about the beef is that we can definitely tell that it is grass-fed. The smell is immediately obvious. ;-)

        Thanks for checking on the chicken! I was hoping for air chilled, as water bathed is usually a lovely soak in a chlorine bath and the water seeps in to the chicken. Air-chilled is what I was looking for! Thx!

        • EC says

          All beef begins in pasture and all conventionally grown beef ends grain finished. The beef is just fresh conventional beef. At least now their supplier has stopped their previous practice of adding pink slime.

          • Cindy Cornell says

            The company that provides the ground beef is called National Beef, and they sell commercially to many stores, just not the general public. And no, it is NOT grass fed.

  3. Tina Horst says

    signed up and shared on facebook. I too, have to make concessions about my food and I hate it.

  4. says

    I have used Zaycon in the past as well, and while I definitely prefer to buy my meat straight from the farmer where I know my cage-free chickens are really and truly free to roam, I do feel that Zaycon is a good compromise who can’t afford or don’t have access to meat from a local farm. I feel like it is at least a small step up from conventional store-bought food, and cheaper to boot! I’d definitely recommend it to someone starting out on whole foods.
    MaryEllen@ImperfectHomemaker recently posted..What to Do When Potty Training Isn’t WorkingMy Profile

  5. says

    We have ordered Zaycon chicken for years, and just love it. I’m branching out to try the beef for the first time this summer! I will say after my first order I found a foodsaver vacuum system at Kohl’s on sale, and with my 30% off it was pretty cheap. It’s great for streamlining the processing of the chicken! And, I have never had one bad experience. Yes, you get fat on the chicken, but honestly I get fat on the chicken I spent $6.99lb for at the store. The thing I noticed on my first order is that the chicken smells good! Chicken from the grocery store smells… well, bad, and zaycon chicken smells pretty great in comparison!

  6. Loree says

    We LOVE Zaycon foods. I have been ordering their chicken and bacon for over a year. I have to put a little work into when I get the chicken, but it is so worth it to me. I can buy chicken on sale at the local store for 1.99 if I watch the ads and it isn’t as good as the chicken we buy from Zaycon. The chicken is juicy and wonderful! You will not be disappointed with the food you get from them!

  7. Mary Beth says

    How often they do a chicken event? I was looking at upcoming events in the Memphis, Jackson, and Birmingham areas and its all beef and bacon through August. I’ve been lookin for a way to buy better chicken, and I hope this is it! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Olga St. P says

    Thanks for a great article, I just created my own account on their website. Now to find out when the events will be in NJ/PA area. I searched the site, but no luck. I will give them a call on Monday.

  9. Sara says

    I have always wondered where exactly their meat (chicken and beef) comes from? I have searched their website and was unable to locate a specific farm or city where the meat is produced. I like to know if the meat I eat is from a feedlot farm or a high quality family farm. I understand that the meat is “non-caged, antibiotic-free chickens” but where is the meat from? My concern is that chickens are raised in different states and then brought together for packaging then shipped out. Are all the chickens in the 40 pound box from the same farm or even from the same city? I usually buy all my meat from a local farm but am willing to try Zaycon if I had a little more information about where the meat is from.

    • EC says

      The chicken comes from some of the biggest national sellers who in turn hire growers who have to follow precisely how to grow the birds. The birds are not caged but stuffed into warehouses and are indoors their entire lives. They are given proprietary feed with undisclosed ingredients which in standard practice contain antibiotics. There is no other way to prevent the birds from getting sick. (Aside from having fewer and allowing them to be outside.) They also have the side effect of producing giant birds. I used to live near one of the growing areas.
      Zaycon was not aware the ground beef they sold contained pink slime so I wouldn’t take their word for any growing practice, you absolutely have to talk to the supplying company about exact growing practices.

    • Cindy Cornell says

      The chickens are supposed to come right from the farm somewhere in your own area. The ground beef comes from the National Beef company that sells commercially to only businesses, and I know the ham you can buy right from the store-can’t think of the brand name at the moment-but last Easter, I was able to purchase it 30 cents less a pound at Jewel or Walmart. I shop at both and can’t remember which one.

  10. says

    I just looked at their website and they ship National Beef-which was included in the recall for e.coli contamination. Over 22,000 pounds recalled….I don’t think I’ll be using them after all :(

  11. EC says

    Did you ask if the hens are fed arsenic to promote growth?
    What about feed – does it contain antibiotics? Oftentimes the growers don’t know what is in the feed. Where do these chickens come from? Zaycon sells a LOT of chicken. It would be difficult to fill the orders with a huge number of small farms. I get the idea that these are conventional chickens and the farmers lost their contract with the original big brand.

  12. MJ says

    I just want to let you all know that I have been blocked from Zaycon’s Facebook page after I asked about the 50,000 lbs of beef that has been recalled as of July 31st 2013 from National Beef. It was I and another gentleman commenting.. the whole thread was deleted after they told me that “their product was not affected (this is not current)” they must have thought I meant the June recall. Either way, after being a loyal customer for 2 years I’m really worried that they would not only delete my concerns but also block me from their page. They should be letting us know about this as all the beef I have received through them has come from National Beef. This has me extremely worried! Preventing people from openly asking concerning questions is unacceptable and quite frankly scary. I also find it concerning that this supplier is on their second recall in only 2 months!

    • Rene says

      I agree this is a huge concern. Oftentimes recalls are expanded. If you call them, they say on their recording the beef they resold from National Beef is not included in the recall. But what if the recall is expanded – will they call all their customers?
      I also have concerns with how much they really know about the food they are reselling because when they were selling beef with pink slime they had no idea their supplier added it to their beef until a few days after it became national news.
      I asked them if their chicken supplier uses feed with antibiotics and/or arsenic (both legal) and they didn’t know offhand but the product expert will call me after finding out. That is a big deal to me too.

  13. Katie says

    I was really curious about your post because Zaycon’s chicken was more expensive than my local store’s on-sale bulk chicken (exact same product), so I was really interested to see what you’d come up with! But I guess it only works if your local store is more expensive :) Also, the price I got at my store only comes around once or twice a year, where Zaycon’s deliveries are more frequent.

  14. says

    I just made my first order and got the chicken last week. Gotta say this was a great deal for me and the chicken has been AWESOME!! Thanks for your review it was very helpful.