pork chops freeze drying cost analysis

Pork Chops

How much does it costs to freeze dry Pork Chops?

The raw pork chops were $1.99/lb. It costs about $0.47/lb. to freeze dry and package it using the Large, 5-tray Harvest Right freeze dryer. The total costs were $2.46/lb.

We freeze dried 9.2 lbs. of pork chops, and analyzed every cost aspect that went into the process. See the cost table below for a cost breakdown of each freeze drying cycle. Our cost per kilowatt hour is $0.10 (this number came off our power bill). With some "simple" analysis of the data we pulled from our freeze dryer logs, we calculated the cost per stage of the cycle. You can also see the exact stages of the cycle.

To see the total costs including the raw pork chops, power used, materials, storage, and machine maintenance, that's also included below.

2.42 lbs of freeze dried pork chops on a scale

Our adventure in freeze drying cost analysis began with pork chops. With so many commercial options for freeze dried meats, we wanted to have an easy way to understand what would be more cost effective: Buy from the commercial producers, or freeze dry our own meats (in this case, pork chops).

Here is the cost to freeze dry your own pork chops:

raw pork chops wrapped in plastic with price sticker
Pork $1.99/ lb. 9.20 lbs. $18.31
Power used $0.10/ KWH 23.31 KWH $2.33
Mylar Bags $0.33/ bag 4 bags $1.32
O2 packet $0.10/ packet 4 packets $0.40
Freeze dryer oil + filtering $0.25/ cycle 1 cycle $0.25
Total     $22.61

 

Cost per pound:    
$2.46/lb rehydrated = $22.61 / 9.20lbs. (raw weight)
$9.34/lb dried = $22.61 / 2.42lbs. (dried weight)

The bottom line…

After shopping around, I found several suppliers of freeze dried pork chops. The lowest price I found was $76.87 for a can with 1.25 lbs. The highest price was $120 for about the same amount.

Lowest price: $76.87 / 1.25lbs. = 61.50/lb
Highest price: $120.00 / ~1.25lbs. = ~96.00/lb

Using the lowest-priced product, this comes out to a cost of $61.50 per pound of dry pork chops. I saved about $52.34 ($61.50 - $9.16) per pound of dried pork chops. The total finished weight of the batch in my large freeze drier was 2.42 pounds and the savings per pound was $52.34/lb. The total savings was $126.66 for this one batch in the Larger freeze dryer!

The freeze dryer is automated, so the time I spent on food prep, freeze dryer loading and maintenance, and packaging and storing the pork chops, was about one hour for the batch. I saved about $126 for my time...that's not a bad hourly wage :-).

Machine cost

So, let's say the freeze dryer cost $4000 — which is about the price for the Large freeze dryer — it would take 32 batches ($4000/$126.66) to pay for the machine. If you were to dry one batch per week of pork chops, and dried nothing else, your breakeven for the large machine would be 8 months. That's not a bad ROI.

Freeze drying your own pork chops seems to be a great candidate for saving money. We will be freeze drying many other foods to discover the best ways save you the most money.

Having a freeze dryer at home makes it easy to dry your own recipes and cool snacks. But we want to know if it could be more cost effective to buy some of the more generic, commodity foods from the commercial guys. Because, let's face it, one home freeze dryer can only produce so much.

9.2 lbs Pork Chops - energy cost breakdown

*This cycle was done in the large, 5-tray Harvest Right freeze dryer.
Freeze Dry CycleCost $HoursEnergy Used
Totals:$2.3331 Hr 24 Min23.31 KWH
Freezing$0.448.984.35 KWH
Drying$1.2413.4212.44 KWH
Final Dry$0.597.005.86 KWH
Defrost$0.072.000.66 KWH

Freeze drying costs

Freeze drying time

Pressure and Temperature for the freeze dryer cycle:

A Pressure and Temperature graph of Pork Chops freeze dried - 9.2 lbs

Interactive pressure graph

 

Interactive temperature graph

 

4 thoughts on “Pork Chops

  1. Hi Guys,
    I would like to know the average weight loss of fruits as a percentage after freeze drying
    eg: If I freeze dry 1 Kg of strawberries, what would be the net weight after freeze drying

    Thanx

    Reply

  2. Thank you for such a through and informative content regarding the freeze drying process. As I was wondering if it’s worthy to buy freeze dried food for 3 months at $500 per person? I’ve come across your content. It definitely seems worthy to buy your own machine as you’ve done. However, my concern rather than the cost of the machine, is the rise in the electricity bill. Looking at your breakdown above with 31 hrs 24 mins of machine usage time, the cost is only $2.33? I don’t get how it can be that low for that length of usage? Howe incredibly efficient is this machine? My wife had a dehydrator she used a few times one month, and our usual electricity bill was almost three times as much…

    Reply

    1. Thanks for the great feedback, we really appreciate it!
      The machines are quite efficient. This cost analysis was done with the 5-tray freeze dryer, which we have found to be the most efficient of the three. This post gives an idea of the efficiencies compared between the three machines.
      For the $2.33 (for the power costs), that has a lot to do with our low power rate of $0.10/ KWH. You will want to check your power bills to determine what type of tiered pricing your utility company charges you.

      Reply

Leave a Reply