Shock as Australian Beef Cheaper in Tokyo Than in Coles and Woolworths

Shock as Australian Beef Cheaper in Tokyo Than in Coles and Woolworths

During a recent trip to Japan, Andrew Dunlop, a farmer from New South Wales with significant experience in the red meat industry, was astounded to find Australian cubed beef selling for $18.35 per kilogram in Tokyo. This price was notably lower by $2 to $4 per kilo compared to what similar products cost in Australian supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths. The beef he encountered in Japan was sold through the Hanamasa retail network, known as a discount retailer, and was considered comparable in quality to what is available in Australia.

Mr. Dunlop pointed out that despite the additional costs of international shipping and a 25 percent import tariff, Australian beef in Japan could still compete with prices in the Australian market. He highlighted the concentration of power in the Australian supermarket industry, emphasizing that the Japanese retail landscape is less consolidated, with no single retailer holding a dominant market share. This disparity in market structure may be contributing to the more competitive pricing of Australian beef in Japan compared to domestic prices.

Australian Cattle Industry Council chair John Gunthorpe praised the quality of Australian beef exported to Japan, noting its superior presentation with minimal fat or sinew. He emphasized that the beef being sold in Japan comes from the same farms as those supplying Australian supermarkets, leading him to believe that it is a fair comparison. However, Nationals leader David Littleproud criticized Australian supermarkets for what he perceives as price gouging, stating that the additional costs associated with exporting to Japan should be reflected in the pricing of products in Australia.