Price hikes hit a total of 32,396 items produced by 195 major food and beverage firms in the nation in 2023, the largest amount in 30 years since the collapse of the bubble economy in the 1990s, according to research firm Teikoku Databank.
The figure marks a 25.7% rise from 2022, when prices went up for 25,768 food items.
The number of items whose prices will be raised next year is forecast to fall sharply to up to around 15,000. Still, an official warned that prices may rise for more items than forecast depending on cost factors and foreign exchange movements.
In 2023, price hikes hit over 5,000 items in each of February, when major makers raised frozen food prices, and April, when prices of mayonnaise and other goods rose due to egg shortages. About 4,760 items saw prices rise in October.
The pace of price hikes slowed toward the end of 2023 as makers became increasingly concerned about falling sales volumes. Prices for only 139 and 678 items increased in November and December, respectively.
According to the survey, households of two people or more cut spending on food by ¥3,685 per month, with a growing number of budget-minded consumers shifting to cheaper private brand items, or reducing the number of items they purchase.
In 2024, prices for 3,891 items, including olive oil and whisky, are set to rise by May.
Price hikes may result from growth in personnel costs associated with wage increases as well as a rebound in utility bills following the expiration of the government's subsidy program.
Another possible factor is a surge in logistics costs due to the so-called 2024 problem, linked to serious truck driver shortages that may arise from new overtime regulations.