Why are Korean beef prices so high?

by Busan Haps Magazine
Stripes Korea
The average price of Korean beef has always been much higher than import beef — but why?
According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries and Food Trade Corporation, 100 grams of top-quality hanwoo, or Korean beef, is 7,472 won, a nearly 15% increase from last year.
Distribution is seen as the main reason for the high cost — approximately 42% of the retail price comes from this. In addition, less cows for consumption of hanwoo are driving up the price. The Korea Rural Economic Institute forecast 194,000 cows to be slaughtered over the summer season, less than the 226,000 from last year.
After hanwoo prices fell between 2012-13, increased costs in production of beef from the price of feed and employee wages, and the governments policy of reducing the number of female cows which ended up causing farms to close because they were losing money by raising the cows, have also contributed to the high prices according the Joongang Ilbo.
These are some of the contributing factors which keep prices high and which are borne by the consumer.
Though beef consumption has risen steadily, the price of hanwoo beef is set to remain high for the immediate future.
According to the report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the country’s annual per capita consumption of meat came to 42.7 kilograms in 2013, up nearly four times from 11.3 kg in 1980.

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