Food & Beverages

2 Million Wagyu: 96% Japanese Domination and Surprising Export Figures!

15 Sep, 2023 | Statistics

Indulging in a succulent cut of beef is a true joy for many food enthusiasts around the globe. Among the various breeds of cattle, Wagyu stands out as a highly regarded and sought-after delicacy. With only two million full-blood 100% Wagyu cattle globally, this rare breed has captivated the taste buds of connoisseurs worldwide.

Rise in Consumer Demand for Wagyu Beef

Globally, the majority of Wagyu cattle, amounting to 96% are present in Japan. This breed has deep roots in Japanese culture. Australia boasts the second-largest Wagyu population, comprising 18% of the global total, followed by the United states with 2% and New Zealand with 1%. The US, Australia, and Japan lead the charge as top Wagyu exporters. Impressively, the United states imports approximately 80-90% of Australian Wagyu exports, emphasizing the growing popularity. Australia, renowned for its high-quality beef, exports approximately 85% of its Wagyu production worldwide. On the other hand, Japan’s beef exports, while smaller in comparison, still contribute around 10% to the international market. 

In Japan, where Wagyu is deeply ingrained in culinary traditions, a survey revealed that a majority of consumers purchase domestically produced Wagyu beef at least once a month. Of the respondents, 16% enjoyed Japanese Wagyu beef on a monthly basis, while 14.5% indulged once a week. Surprisingly, a small percentage of 1.6% relished this exquisite meat almost every day, while 12.5% refrained from purchasing it altogether. In the US, where culinary exploration knows no bounds, the allure of Wagyu beef is celebrated in many forms. According to a survey, 57% of American consumers purchase Wagyu beef for special occasions or reserve it as a luxurious treat, while 19% savour it as a part of their everyday consumption. 

Global Emergence of “Wagyu Omakase” Restaurants

As the demand for Wagyu beef continues to flourish, the emergence of “Wagyu Omakase” restaurants has become a global trend. In the US alone, there are now 500 establishments dedicated to serving the finest Wagyu experiences. Japan follows closely with 300 such establishments, while Hong Kong and Singapore boast 100 and 50 Wagyu Omakase restaurants, respectively. When it comes to choosing Wagyu beef, certain attributes take center stage. According to a survey conducted by the International Taste Institute, tenderness is deemed the most important quality by 85% of respondents. Juiciness and flavor follow closely behind, with 77% and 76% of participants considering them crucial factors in their selection process. 

The increasing demand for premium and healthy meat alternatives, as well as flourishing luxury hospitality industry, are the key drivers of Wagyu beef growth. Consumer demand for this premium product continues to rise, with a global population of only two million full-blood 100% Wagyu cattle, this breed has achieved remarkable acclaim.

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