Statistics have shown that the European Union consumed about 7.7 million tonnes of beef and veal in 2021, placing fourth in the amount of consumption worldwide. While South Korea consumed about 860,000 tonnes of beef in 2022.
Since prehistoric times humans hunted wild oxen for survival needs, eating the flesh of bovines, and beef has been desired throughout a long period of time. It is evidenced with the world-famous and most earliest known cave paintings, such as those of Lascaux, showing aurochs in hunting scenes. Domestic beef cattle is descended from these huge mammals with long curving horns, which once wandered European forests. Those domesticated ones are raised to provide ready access to beef, milk, and leather.
By the Middle Ages, eating meat, particularly beef, had been developed as a signification of wealth and status. Conspicuous consumption was a luxury and a symbol of power and richness for the affluent nobility, with feasts designed to display the host’s wealth and status.
While cattle held an important cultural and economical role in South Korea, nowadays bulgogi restaurants are filled over the streets among the nation. In the past, beef was taken as a supreme food in the society for those who wanted to be a king or act as a king. As long as you are born as a king, you must eat beef in the daily life. Beef also appeared in the first record of “Records of the Joseon Dynasty”, which foretells that the Lee Sung-gye family established the Joseon Dynasty, approximately 14th century, demanding all generations of the kings of Joseon should all eat beef as a symbol of royalty and power. On the 15th of Emperor Taizong (1415), due to severe drought, Wang withdrew his meal (meat meal) from drinking. Mr. Yanshan, who knows how to choose different parts of beef to enjoy, became the first king to propose beef as a daily food. Beef symbolizes the taste of the king. The nobles and scholar-bureaucrats with official positions like to eat beef. In order to replenish the energy consumed by studying, the country also starts with giving them beef.
Beef, which was treated as such a precious treat, has become a food ingredient that is easier to obtain and more commonly seen than in the past, but it is still in the limelight as a delicious food to people today. In particular, grilled beef is an indispensable menu item to be enjoyed with good people on company dinners or special occasions, and is also used as a gift for parents or other important guests on holidays such as New Year’s Day or Chuseok. The taste and quality of beef that you enjoy eating and enjoying with your loved ones is very important, and you must know who produces it, how it is distributed, and whether the process is safe. And European premium beef is a product that can give you, the consumer, confidence in this respect.
Photo credits: ©PROVACUNO/Organización Interprofesional Agroalimentaria de la Carne de Vacuno