Tofu makers plan to raise wholesale prices by around 20 percent this autumn, their first full-fledged markup in about 15 years, informed sources said.
The move is being made because profit margins have been shrinking in line with the rising cost of raw materials prompted by higher prices for imported soybeans and the government’s recent weakening of the yen, the sources said Saturday.
Companies including 18 manufacturers belonging to an industry group in the Kinki region are expected to hike prices in October. They are likely to be followed by other manufacturers nationwide.
Tofu makers, who have been struggling with low prices for their products amid persistent deflation, held demonstrations in Tokyo in May to call public attention to their plight.
Yasuo Hachijin, head of the Kinki industry group and president of Kyoto-based Global Protein Foods Inc., said prices of raw materials have climbed 20 percent over the past five years while distribution costs have fallen 20 percent.
He said the hike will not be enough to fill the gap and that the industry will have consider another one, depending on the situation.