Kobe beef, as a kind of Wagju beef (Japanese beef), is one of the most famous high-priced delicacies in the world. It is difficult for ordinary people to enjoy real Kobe beef. Many wonder why it is so expensive.
The price of authentic Kobe beef is usually no less than $300 per pound, which is twice the price of regular beef. Rare is precious. The most crucial reason why Kobe beef is so expensive is the small production. To meet the “Kobe cattle” standard, the most basic requirement is that the cattle need to be born and raised in Hyogo Prefecture and have a pure Tajima cattle bloodline. Every born cow will be issued a "Cow Registration Certificate" by the government, stating its ancestry and stamping its nose. There are about 3,000 cattle that can meet the quality requirements of Kobe beef each year, thus the production is very limited. Compared to other beef, the supply of Kobe beef is very scarce, which naturally increases the price.
There are only four markets in Japan that conduct “Kobe beef” ratings and auctions, and the Kobe Central Wholesale Market is the larger one. In order to qualify for the “Kobe Beef” ranks, in addition to the aforementioned requirements, the meat quality of the beef must also meet the highest standards. Participating wagyu beef is distinguished by the degree of meat quality and fat distribution. A5 is regarded as the top level, so only a few of the wagyu can be successfully selected.
The high price of Kobe beef leads to people’s fantasy about the living environment of the cattle. Many think the cattle are fed with beer and pampered with massages and music and so on. However, the fact is that beer and music are actually used for lifting their appetite, while the massage is a myth generated from the old time cattle breeding when they are treated as working cattle. “Back in the old days, they used to go out in the field and work really hard. The weather was super cold, so the animals would go back to the pen, and their joints used to literally seize up, like arthritis. The farmers used to pound on the cows so that when they went back out into the field, their joints weren't tight. That's kind of where the massage myth came from.”
In conclusion, the high price of Kobe beef comes from its superior flavor yet limited production. When buying Kobe beef, people also need to pay special attention to whether they are genuine.