Why Is Wagyu Beef So Expensive and Is It Really Worth It? 

If you’ve ever wondered why the most exquisite cuts of beef come with hefty price tags, then you’re not alone. The answer lies in the incredible quality of Wagyu beef, which has been praised by chefs and foodies alike for its incomparable flavor, succulent texture, and unparalleled marbling.

So, why is Wagyu beef so expensive and is it really worth the crazy high price? In this article, we’ll explore the factors that contribute to the high cost of Wagyu beef, from unique cow breeds to the import quota from Japan.

What exactly is Wagyu beef?

There’s a reason Japanese Wagyu beef is often referred to as the “Rolls Royce” of beef! It’s due to its luxurious, melt-in-your-mouth taste and buttery texture. It is an extremely succulent, juicy and tender beef that is bursting with umami, savory and sweet flavors. Wagyu beef is also highly prized for its marbling, which results in an incredibly tender and flavorful steak. It’s the perfect choice for a truly indulgent meal!

For more reading about everything you wanted to know about Japanese Wagyu beef, check out this article.

Why is Wagyu Beef so expensive and luxurious?

There are many contributing factors to what exactly makes Japanese Wagyu beef so expensive and so darn tasty. Let’s explore them.

#1. Limited Land in Japan

One of the main reasons for the high cost of Wagyu beef is the limited land available for cattle in Japan. Wagyu cattle are bred in a specific area, and the limited land available cannot accommodate the large number of cattle that would be needed to lower the cost. This means the supply is limited, and if you’re at all familiar with economics 101, you’ll know it drives up the price.

#2. Unique Breeds of Cattle

Wagyu is made from 4 unique breeds of cattle, and the only place where authentic Wagyu cows are bred is in Japan. The breed has been carefully developed over centuries, resulting in a high-quality product that is not available anywhere else in the world!

#3. Longer Feeding Time

Wagyu cattle are fed for up to 600-700 days, which is five times longer than average US cattle. This longer feeding time allows the cattle to develop a unique flavor and texture, which is why Wagyu beef is so highly sought after.

#4. Smaller Feed Lots and Economies of Scale

The size of feed lots in Japan is much smaller than in the US, which means they can’t benefit from economies of scale. This means that the cost of producing Wagyu beef is higher than it would be in the US, which contributes to the high cost.

#5. High Labor and Training Costs

Raising Wagyu cattle requires a great deal of skill and training. The farmers and ranchers who raise Wagyu cattle are highly trained and go through a rigorous certification program. To add on top of that, their salaries are often higher when compared to labor costs on American farms and elsewhere, all of which contributes to the cost and quality of Wagyu beef.

#6. Tracing System

The Japanese National Livestock Breeding Center has a rigorous security and tracing system in place. |In fact, every single Wagyu cow is given a unique 10-digit code at birth, and it can be traced back all the way to its grandfather and where it was raised! This ensures the highest quality and consistency, which is another reason Wagyu beef is so expensive.

#7. US Import Quota and Tax

The US has an import quota of 200,000 kg of Wagyu beef per year, and the US imposes an import tax of 26.4% on all Japanese Wagyu beef. On top of this, we have the shipping costs of transporting all of that delicious heavy meat all the way from across the Pacific to the US. These all add to the cost of Wagyu beef, making it even more expensive than it would otherwise be.

Is Wagyu beef worth the price?

Wagyu beef is one of the most expensive meats in the world, and there are a number of factors that contribute to its high cost. From limited land and unique cow breeds in Japan to smaller feed lots and the US import quota, there are many reasons why Wagyu beef is so expensive.

But to answer this question if Wagyu is worth the high price, it’s a resounding YES! Wagyu is like no other beef you’ll ever taste – it’s incredibly marbled, juicy, and tender, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture and a rich, buttery flavor. Whether you’re grilling it, searing it, or slow-cooking it, you’ll be amazed at how flavorful and succulent it is. Plus, its high-quality fat content makes it a healthier option than other cuts of beef.

So go ahead, treat yourself – it’s worth every penny!

Where to buy Wagyu beef?

For the absolute best tasting Wagyu beef in Vietnam, why not get it directly from the source? That’s where IKKA can help. 

Proud to be a direct import partner from Miyazaki-gyu’s farm (Japanese wagyu beef olympic champion for 20 years in a row), we offer the finest selection of premium A5 Wagyu straight from Japan to our shop to your door.

You simply can’t get finer quality steak in the country!