How to Choose the Right Japanese Wagyu Supplier

The demand for Japanese A5 Wagyu beef has never been higher. But, knowing how to choose the right Wagyu supplier for your butcher shop, restaurant or high-end food store can be a little challenging. Unlike other types of beef, Wagyu is a specialty product imported directly from Japan, and supplies of this hard-to-acquire product are limited.


Not only that, but because demand exceeds supply, there is a significant number of counterfeit A5 Wagyu beef on the market, which makes finding authentic Japanese A5 even more difficult.

To help you choose a Wagyu supplier that meets the needs of your business, we’ve put together an easy to follow roadmap for how to choose the right A5 Wagyu Supplier.

  • Guarantee of authenticity
  • Cost of the Wagyu
  • Safety Compliance
  • Vendor Dependability
  • Industry Reputation


Guarantee of authenticity

There are lots of counterfeit cuts of meat being sold as genuine A5 Wagyu, which are, in fact, not genuine at all. The other hurdle shops face when sourcing is mislabeled products. Much of the Wagyu available in the US is mislabeled as A5 Wagyu, when it is actually American Wagyu. For unsuspecting food business owners, this mislabeling can lead to distrust between the business and the customer. 

You see, American Wagyu isn’t the same as Japanese A5 Wagyu. American Wagyu is created by crossbreeding American cattle like Angus beef cows with full-blooded Wagyu cows. The  marbling on these cuts of meat are certainly richer than your typical Angus steak, but they don’t compare to the real deal. When choosing your Wagyu supplier, always check the fine print on the food labeling.


A5 Wagyu beef is a luxury product, so the price a supplier quotes you will be on the higher side. However, if you notice the supplier’s prices are much, much higher than their competitors, this could be a sign of price gouging. A good Wagyu supplier will always charge a fair, but market rate for their products.

Typical Japanese A5 Wagyu pricing hovers around:

  • $160/lb for Japanese A5 Wagyu New York Strip Steak
  • $190/lb for Japanese A5 Wagyu Ribeye Steak
  • $300/lb for Japanese A5 Wagyu Filet Mignon

Safety Compliance

In addition to cost, authenticity, and the quality of the product, verifying that a meat supplier is in compliance with all local, state and federal food safety certifications is crucial to keeping your customers safe.

All meat suppliers undergo a complex series of certifications in order to receive their licenses to distribute meat to businesses like butcher shops, distributors, restaurants and specialty food grocers. Regardless if you use an online Wagyu supplier or someone local, you should always confirm they meet all of the necessary safety compliance standards.


Vendor Dependability

Using a Wagyu supplier you can depend on is a no-brainer. When your restaurant, butcher shop or specialty food market advertises that you carry Japanese A5 Wagyu, your customers expect to find it on your menu or behind your meat counter, which makes working with a dependable Wagyu supplier crucial to your business’s success. Because if a supplier misses a delivery, and you tell your customers that the product is in stock, but your customers discover it isn’t, you risk damaging customer loyalty, and negatively impacting your reputation in the community. 

Similarly, your food business relies on suppliers delivering goods within the quoted delivery time so that you can schedule staff accordingly. If dependability is an issue with your supplier, that may be a red flag.


Industry Reputation

Word-of-mouth is one of the most tried and true ways to choose the right Wagyu supplier. Knowing someone who has first hand experience with a purveyor's sales practices, their staff, and their reputation is one of the best indicators on the quality of their product, and how they treat their customers.

Is their product fresh? Is it authentic? Do they have authenticity certificates for their Wagyu to verify that it is, in fact, the product that the supplier says it is?

The best A5 Wagyu beef suppliers have relationships with farmers directly in Japan, which allows them to source the best possible beef.


Summing Things Up

Genuine Japanese A5 Wagyu is one of the most loved food products on the market. It’s melt-in-your mouth flavor and exquisitely soft texture commands respect in the food world. Things like: the health and safety of your customers, quality, authenticity, and supplier ethics, should be a priority for every food business owner.

Japanese A5 Wagyu beef is a luxury food product that is difficult to source, but with the right supplier, your customers will be knocking down your door!

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