Wagyu beef is set to revolutionise British cattle farming, was the message from the first UK Wagyu Revolution Conference recently held by The Wagyu Breeders Association (WBA), held in East Yorkshire.
Speaking at the conference was Graham Truscott, CEO of the Australian Wagyu Association (AWA), presented on the global Wagyu situation and the opportunities for UK farmers to capitalise on the high demand worldwide for premium Wagyu beef.
Mr Truscott said: "Overall interest in Wagyu is growing rapidly in Britain and Ireland with strong opportunities for marketing into high-end restaurant and retail sectors."
Mr Truscott has overseen the huge success of Wagyu in Australia where membership in the past 12 months grow by 32 per cent and registrations of cattle by 20 per cent, with numbers predicted to triple in the next few years.
WBA Chairman, Mike Tucker said: "The inherent qualities of Wagyu beef are tenderness, marbling and healthy eating which drive premium and profit. A key message from the Conference is demand for Wagyu will continue to outstrip supply for many years so those getting on board now will be well-rewarded into the future.
“Our vision is to give the beef sector a new, exciting and viable option, and to take the lead in improving the eating experience in the red meat industry."
AWA Board Member and Treasurer Steve Binnie also attended and gave a commercial farmer’s perspective on his switch from native-bred cattle and a handful of Wagyu in 2015 to having over 1,000 Wagyu calves in 2016.
He also summarised the latest findings of the world’s leading researcher on the ‘healthiness’ of marbled Wagyu beef, Dr Stephen Smith of Texas A&M, which indicate Wagyu beef contains extraordinary amounts of monounsaturated ‘healthy’ oleic acid.
"Healthiness in all foods is a major focus, and none more so than at the premium pricing level. Customers willing and able to pay for the best expect the best, and that often equates to health benefits," he said.
The fundamental strategy of the WBA is for customers throughout the supply chain to have confidence in the integrity and provenance of Wagyu beef. Wagyu producers have at their disposal a cutting-edge, online registration and DNA tag interface which means animals can be marketed through established British Wagyu branding backed by robust science to ensure lifetime traceability.