How Much Is Wagyu Beef Per Kilo? A Full Guide

Are you a foodie looking to indulge in the finest cuts of meat? Then you’ve probably heard of Wagyu beef.

Known for its exceptional taste and texture, this premium beef is highly sought after by meat lovers around the world. But with prices ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars per kilogram, you might be wondering if it’s worth the splurge.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind the high cost of Wagyu beef and help you decide if it’s worth the investment.

So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn all about the world’s most expensive meat.

How Much Is Wagyu Beef Per Kilo?

Wagyu beef is considered one of the most expensive meats in the world, with prices ranging from €300 to €550 per kilogram for authentic Japanese A5 Wagyu. However, the price can vary depending on the grade, location, and other factors.

American Wagyu, for example, is more affordable than its Japanese counterpart but still comes with a hefty price tag. High-grade Wagyu can cost up to $200 per pound, while the rarest steak in the world, olive Wagyu, can cost anywhere from $120 to over $300 for a steak.

The price of Wagyu beef also depends on where you buy it. Restaurants and stores often add charges on top of the price of the steak itself, so it’s important to do your research and compare prices before making a purchase.

What Is Wagyu Beef And Why Is It So Special?

Wagyu beef is a highly sought-after and luxurious meat that comes exclusively from Japan. What sets it apart from other beef is its copious marbling, which creates a buttery tenderness unlike any other steak. The marbling is a result of the meticulous cattle raising techniques practiced by expert Japanese farmers over decades.

Wagyu cows are raised by specialty breeders until they are between seven and 10 months old, when they are sold to a farmer along with a birth certificate certifying their pure bloodline. These animals cost farmers as much as $30,000 each, which is as much as 10 times more than the typical American Angus.

After auction, the cows are taken to feeding farms where they’re given names and allowed to roam and graze in a stress-free environment. Wagyu farmers take great pride in providing a humane life for their cows, and they are given plenty of room in their pens and outside on the pasture to graze. During this period, the cows mature for two or three years or until they reach about 1,500 pounds or gain around 50% fat.

The way Wagyu cows are fed and cared for is important to ensuring that they reach this milestone. Wagyu cows are never given growth promotants, steroids, hormones or drugs to help them gain weight faster. The process is natural, which means it takes more time than it does in the typical methods used in the U.S. Most Wagyu farmers provide their cows with three meals a day made up of high-energy ingredients, including hay, grain and wheat.

Wagyu cows are not routinely massaged or serenaded with classical music (at least not daily), but farmers do take great care to ensure that their muscles do not become tense. This generally means simply avoiding rigorous activity and stress, but it may also involve using a stiff brush to increase blood circulation and work out tension.

Wagyu beef is also known for being good for you. It comes packed with a higher concentration of monounsaturated fats (the good fats), omega-3 and omega-6 than other beef. Wagyu is also high in conjugated linoleic acid, a naturally occurring fatty acid which is also a popular dietary supplement.

The History And Origins Of Wagyu Beef

Wagyu beef is an ancient breed of cattle that originated in Japan. The genetic origins of this breed can be traced back as much as 35,000 years ago. Initially, Wagyu cattle were used as draft animals for agricultural work and bred for physical stamina. However, the Japanese government saw an opportunity to promote Western culinary ideas and diet in the late 19th century. In 1868, after the Meiji Restoration, the government began to introduce Western food habits and culture to the Japanese people. As part of this effort, they started crossbreeding native cattle with imported breeds such as Brown Swiss, Devon, Shorthorn, Simmental, Ayrshire, and Korean cattle.

The genetic process of crossbreeding continued until 1910 when the government closed off any further genetic infusions from outside sources. This resulted in the variation of conformation within the Wagyu breed being greater than the variation across British and European breeds. The three major black strains – Tajiri or Tajima, Fujiyoshi (Shimane), and Kedaka (Tottori) – evolved due to regional geographic isolation in Japan. These breeding differences have produced a Japanese national herd that comprises 90% black cattle with the remainder being of the red strains Kochi and Kumamoto.

Today, Japan regards four different cattle breeds as Wagyu: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Shorthorn, and Japanese Polled. The production of Wagyu beef in Japan is highly regulated, and progeny testing is mandatory. Only the very best proven genetics are kept for breeding. The Japanese Government in the late 1990s banned further exports of Wagyu genetics and declared Wagyu a national living treasure. Zenwa is the Government-held entity in Japan that oversees the WAGYU registry for Japanese Black, Brown, Polled and Shorthorn.

Wagyu cattle were first imported into the United States in 1975 when two black and two red bulls were imported by Morris Whitney. In 1989, the Japanese began to reduce their tariffs on imported beef which encouraged U.S. producers to produce high-quality products for export to Japan. During the 1990s, there were several importations of Wagyu males and females into the U.S., most were black but a few red Wagyu were also imported. Wagyu genetics around the world today outside of Japan can be traced to these imports.

The Different Grades Of Wagyu Beef And Their Prices

Wagyu beef is graded based on two factors: yield and grade. Yield refers to the ratio of meat compared to the actual carcass weight, while grade refers to the overall beef marbling score, beef color standard, beef fat standard, firmness, and texture.

In Japan, Wagyu beef is graded by giving a letter from A-C and a number from 1-5. A is the best letter, and 5 is the best number, so the very best Wagyu on Earth is graded A5. The letter refers to how much meat can be taken from a specific cow. Cows with a larger ratio of meat to bone and other tissues get a higher grade because, on cows with this higher ratio, the meat tends to be of better quality.

The price of Wagyu beef also varies depending on its grade. High-grade Wagyu can cost up to $200 per pound, while the rarest steak in the world, olive Wagyu, can cost anywhere from $120 to over $300 for a steak. Wagyu calves can be 40 times the price of US cattle, and the adult cows can sell for as much as $30,000.

The Japanese Meat Grading Association (JMGA) oversees the grading of Wagyu beef, much like the U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees the beef from cattle in the United States. The JMGA gives a score for Wagyu beef based on its fat color, meat color, rib eye shape, size of ribeye area, and IMF%, which refers to its marbling. The Japanese beef grading system gives Wagyu beef a grade from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. Quality scores range from 1 to 12, with Grade 12 being the cream of the crop as far as Wagyu beef is concerned because it has both the highest quality score and the highest Wagyu rating.

Wagyu with a lot of marbling, especially with Beef Marbling Standard (BMS) of No. 10 or higher is said to have the best marbling and priced higher. To qualify as A5 Japanese Wagyu, beef must be graded as Grade A for yield and Grade 5 in BMS, BFS, BCS, firmness and texture.

How Is Wagyu Beef Raised And Why Does It Affect The Price?

Wagyu beef is raised with a meticulous feeding routine that can last up to two years. The cows are fed a diet that includes high energy ingredients such as wheat and grains, and they are given three meals per day. This diet allows them to gain as much as 2 pounds per day, which contributes to the high cost of raising them.

The cattle are raised on imported, higher quality grain rather than local produce, which adds to the cost of production. In addition, the cows must be genetically tied to one of four Japanese born breeds in order to be eligible for a wagyu designation in Japan. These breeds were chosen for their endurance and predisposition for marbling, which is the white specks of intramuscular fat that can be seen throughout a cut of lean pink meat.

Prior to slaughter, a cow bred for wagyu beef can amass up to 50% of its weight in fat due to the meticulous feeding routine. This results in a unique taste and texture that is highly sought after by food enthusiasts.

The exclusivity of the product, the experience it delivers to customers, and the expenses breeders incur contribute to the high price of wagyu beef. An adult cow can be sold for as much as $30,000, and the concentrated feed required to expand their bovine’s waistline is also expensive.

The Health Benefits Of Wagyu Beef

While Wagyu beef is known for its luxurious taste and texture, it also offers a range of health benefits. One of the most significant benefits of Wagyu beef is its low cholesterol levels. Compared to other types of meat, including fish and chicken, Wagyu beef has the lowest cholesterol levels. This is due to its high percentage of monounsaturated fat, which is considered “good” fat and is essential for energy and cell growth.

In addition to being low in cholesterol, Wagyu beef is also rich in essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids have been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions. The high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) found in Wagyu beef also contribute to its health benefits, as CLA has been shown to have potential health benefits such as a lower risk of disease and diabetes.

Wagyu beef is also an excellent source of protein and iron, which are essential nutrients that help transport oxygen throughout the body and maintain weight and energy. When consumed in moderation, Wagyu beef can be a healthier alternative to regular domestic beef due to its unique nutritional qualities.

It’s worth noting that the way Wagyu cattle are raised also contributes to their health benefits. Japanese Wagyu farmers carefully breed and raise their cattle in excellent conditions, feeding them a balanced, high-energy diet that encourages the development of intramuscular fat cells. This attention to detail results in meat that is not only delicious but also healthier for consumption.

Is Wagyu Beef Worth The Investment? A Cost-benefit Analysis

When it comes to Wagyu beef, the question on many people’s minds is whether it’s worth the investment. After all, with prices so high, it’s important to consider the cost-benefit ratio before making a purchase.

On the one hand, Wagyu beef is considered one of the most prized meats in the world. Its superior eating quality, thanks to its high levels of intra-muscular fat and finer meat texture, make for a truly aromatic culinary experience. Additionally, Wagyu beef is rich in nutrients such as protein, folate, zinc, and fiber, which can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

However, on the other hand, the high cost of Wagyu beef can be prohibitive for many consumers. Authentic Japanese A5 Wagyu can cost upwards of €550 per kilogram, while American Wagyu can still cost up to $200 per pound. And that’s not even factoring in any additional charges added by restaurants or stores.

Ultimately, whether or not Wagyu beef is worth the investment depends on your personal preferences and financial situation. If you’re a foodie who values quality over quantity and has the disposable income to spare, then Wagyu beef may be a worthwhile indulgence. However, if you’re on a tight budget or don’t place as much importance on food quality, then it may not be worth the high price tag.