Our animals eat grass, which is a rarity for most meat sold in Australia. Most meat is fed grain and kept in feedlots.
In feedlots thousands of animals are confined in a small space. The real estate required to fatten that same number of animals on grass would be (and is) very costly. By having this large number of animals in a small space large economies of scale can be achieved – in comparison we operate with around 40 breeding cows at any one time.
Grass fed animals are usually not ready for consumption until 18 and upwards of 24 months for cattle and up to 10 months for lambs. If you count this extra time as that animal paying “rent” on the land grazed, plus opportunity cost for the time which could be used developing another animal, then it isn’t hard to see how the cost goes up.
In short our meat costs more than the major supermarkets because;