Press Centre

Most expensive beef in the world - for a fraction of the price.

One of the most expensive meats in the world, costing up to £100 per kilo, could soon be on sale at Asda – for a fraction of the price.

Wagyu meat, coveted by gourmets and multi-millionaires for its mouth watering, tender, succulent flavours, is normally imported from Japan.

But now the supermarket plans to establish the first commercial-scale herds of prized Wagyu cattle here, in the UK – cutting costs, boosting supply and sending prices plunging.

Asda meat spokesman Pearce Hughes said : “ Wagyu beef is the best in the world , but until now it has been the preserve of the extremely well-to-do.

“ We want to make it affordable for the average man on the street. If it’s good enough for millionaires, then it’s good enough for everyone. “ The move will also have a major impact upon farming, creating a valuable new market for hard pressed British beef farmers.

It’s the latest step in Asda’s campaign to bring the world’s most exclusive foods to the average man on the street at prices they can afford.

The supermarket is already in the process of establishing truffle forests in Yorkshire, cutting dramatically the price of the gourmet ingredient.

Asda’s first trial herd will be established on a dairy farm at Northallerton, also in Yorkshire, with plans underway to established similar prized herds all over the UK.

Initially, Wagyu bull semen will be crossed with Holstein dairy cattle, producing a slightly less highly marbled meat which many British customers prefer.

However, once supplies have been boosted, smaller herds of pure bred Wagyu will also be established.Wagyu beef – also known as Kobe beef – is acknowledged by experts to be the best, most succulent beef in the world.

It comes from small herds of rare Imperial Japanese Wagyu cattle, renowned for their extensively marbled meat which melts as it cooks, giving superb depth of flavour.

Herdsmen often supplement cow feed with beer and saki, and massage each animal regularly .

Said Asda’s Pearce Hughes: “ The key to reducing price is to boost supply. Asda already has some of the UK’s best dairy herdsmen among it dedicated milk suppliers, so it makes sense to call upon their expertise.

“ Producing Wagyu herds in the UK will also cut food miles and production costs substantially – savings we can pass onto the customer.

“ Eventually we hope to be able sell Wagyu beef for approximately one third of the price currently charged by Harrods and Selfridges.

“ There’s no doubt that this move could have a major impact upon the farming industry we look forward to the day when characters from Radio Four’s The Archers programme talk about massaging their cows as well as milking them.”

Posted in Press Centre on 05 February 2008