While feeding sweets to cattle isn't exactly a brand new concept, Mayura Station managing partner Scott De Bruin says his cows eat only “the best”: Cadbury’s chocolate, as well as gummy bears and other ingredients.
“A happy cow is a good cow,” De Bruin told Fortune, adding that he believes the term ‘Wagyu’ is overused on menus and has therefore renamed his products ‘Mayura beef.’
De Bruin says his feeding regime – which involves weekly deliveries of 10 tons of chocolate and includes a few secret ingredients – brings his costs up about 25 percent, but it’s well worth it for the feedback he receives.
“To actually include this in the feed is actually quite expensive for us,” he says.
“It’s much more expensive than feeding corn. So for us, it’s not about lowering the cost or producing it more economically. This is about producing an item that distinguishes itself in flavor.”
De Bruin said that about half a year after he introduced chocolate to his cows’ diet, customers began telling him: “‘your beef has this really unique flavor. It’s quite different not only to normal beef, but to the other Wagyu beef that’s out on the market.”
Chocolate-fed beef has also earned praise from some of Hong Kong’s Michelin Star chefs, along with clients from restaurants at the Four Seasons Hotel and 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana who have taken to swapping out ‘Wagyu’ on their menus.
“This beef is by far the best beef on the market,” Shane Osborn, a two Michelin-starred chef, told Bloomberg. “When people come into restaurants like Arcane, and they see the Mayura beef on the menu, they’ll buy that, and they consistently say that’s some of the best beef they’ve ever eaten.”
De Bruin hopes his recent rebranding from ‘Wagyu’ to ‘Mayura’ will help stabilize beef prices and allow for a more consistent product. He adds that current demand for his chocolate-fed beef “far exceeds our production.” The farm plans to increase production in December, with a goal of doubling its current output to roughly 50 metric tons of beef per month.