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ASDA bullish on beef


Seldom does a retailer have the opportunity to use the phrase “bull semen” in a press release, but there’s no way around the reference when the subject involves the introduction of Wagyu beef herds to the United Kingdom.

ASDA plans to establish the United Kingdom’s first commercial scale herds of Wagyu cattle in a move it said will reduce costs, boost supply and send prices plunging. Wagyu beef, also known as Kobe beef, originated in Japan and is the most expensive in the world, due to the manner in which it is raised.

The first trial herd will be established on a dairy farm at Northallerton in Yorkshire, with plans underway to establish similar herds throughout the United Kingdom. To do so, ASDA said it will inseminate Holstein dairy cattle with Wagyu bull semen. That will result in a slightly less highly marbled meat than pure bred Wagyu cattle, but that’s OK because ASDA contends British customers prefer the less marbled beef. Eventually, ASDA plans to establish smaller herds of pure bred Wagyu cattle.

As for the price, “eventually we hope to be able sell Wagyu beef for approximately one third of the price currently charged by Harrods and Selfridges,” said ASDA spokesman Pearce Hughes.

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