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Retailers Make Huge Profits From Beef Sales

19 January 2012

SOUTH KOREA - Excessive profits by department stores and supermarket chains were cited on Thursday as the main reason why hanwoo meat (beef) remains expensive despite a plunge in homebred cattle prices.

A report by the Consumers Union of Korea showed that department stores and large discount chains increased the prices of the top grade 1++ hanwoo by up to 12 per cent last year, while the wholesale price dropped 23 per cent during the same period.

The Korea Herald reports that beef prices at major retailers almost doubled the prices of smaller vendors, said the consumer advocacy group that surveyed hanwoo prices at 511 distributors and 130 restaurants in 11 cities in recent weeks.

Some retailers and restaurants are arguing that the quality and nutrition of beef could be different even among the same grade hanwoo.

The consumer group, however, made it clear that there should be no quality difference in the same grade hanwoo as all the hanwoo traded is graded at teh abattoir.

“Even when taking into account additional charges, we cannot understand how beef prices at major retailers can be more than double those of other vendors,” Kang Jung-wha, the head of the consumer union told the Herald.

“If the grade is same, there is no quality difference regardless where they are sold,” she said.

Beef cattle prices have fallen sharply as a result of an oversupply of cows raised here over the past two years, weighing heavily on cattle breeders.

The Ministries of Agriculture, Home Affairs and the nation’s antitrust watchdog are reviewing ways to simplify the five-stage distribution system to three stages to benefits both cattle breeders and consumers.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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