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What is Wagyu? Why is it so expensive ?!

Speaking in literal terms, the word Wagyu means Japanese Cow.

Wagyu Beef is known for it's Marbling. Marbling is the intramuscular fat found dispersed in-between the muscle layers, where as your other cattle breeds only have a fat layer on the edge of each cut. The fat in other cattle is saturated, which is not so good for your health.

It's all about the intense fat marbling in the meat, it is what gives it the rich flavor. A good quality, high grade cut of Wagyu will literally melt in your mouth.

Wagyu on the other hand is naturally predisposed with a gene to convert saturated fat into unsaturated fat.  


Why the price?

In a nutshell, it's the marbling due to super genetics in Wagyu cattle.

The health benefits of it being loaded with omega 3 and 6 unsaturated fatty acids.

The intramuscular marbling makes it the tastiest meat in world, so much so that when going above a grade 10 you have to eat it in smaller portions due to its buttery richness. Wagyu is a delicacy.

The process of rearing the cattle to produce such a result adds to the price,

Wagyu is not part of commercial farming bracket. In layman's terms; Wagyu in the beef sector, is like the salmon when it comes to fish. Wagyu just isn't as quick to get a hold of like salmon. Its a specialty.

"In layman's terms; Wagyu in the beef sector, is like the salmon when it comes to fish."


Wagyu cattle are bred in Japan originally. Various breeds have come into existence. The most expensive will be the Kobe Beef; which strictly can only be bred in Kobe, Hyogo Province of Japan. Modern Wagyu is usually a cross with native breeds.

In South Africa we have a Program that all Wagyu beef suppliers have to adhere to. The Wagyu Society of South Africa has established the Certified Wagyu Beef Program (CWB) which aims to ensure the integrity of the South African Wagyu beef supply chain and so assure the end customer of product reliability and quality.

You can head over to their website, should you want to dig into the nitty gritty.

 Wagyu South Africa Breed Program

The price tag, as mentioned earlier, is due to how the Wagyu cattle are raised. The cattle have to be reared and fed according to strict guidelines. A stress free environment is key. Wagyu cattle are fed for 600 days after weaning, which is double than that of other breeds.

Genetic testing is a part of this process, and only the cows with the best genetics are allowed to stay in the reproductive lineup. The higher the DNA rating the more expensive.

Continue reading

Marbling & Fat

The Wagyu Story

Wagyu, Wine and Good Times

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