Business / Economy

Consumers in Japan likely to see food and beverage prices rise from March

JIJI

Waves of price hikes for food and beverage products are set to hit shoppers in Japan from March.

Makers say they can no longer prevent soaring material and logistics costs from being passed on to consumers.

The price increases are expected to impact households and lead to a tightening of purse strings ahead of the scheduled consumption tax hike in October.

In March, prices for products including ice cream and surimi fish paste will rise.

Meiji Co. will mark up the prices of 23 ice cream products, with the suggested retail price of its mainstay Meiji Essel Super Cup set to be raised from ¥140 to ¥151.

“We’ve implemented measures to absorb cost increases, but it’s difficult to continue sales at the current prices,” said a public relations official from the unit of Meiji Holdings Co.

For instance, the per-pack price of Morinaga Milk Industry Co.’s popular Pino bite-sized chocolate-coated ice creams will jump ¥11 to ¥152.

Ezaki Glico Co. and Lotte Co. will also follow suit with their products.

Also in March, Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd. will raise the prices of all its surimi paste products for household use, including packs of “Ikechikuwa” tubes, by 5 to 10 percent.

Nippon Suisan attributes the price hikes to increased expenses related to the procurement of materials, such as walleye pollack surimi paste, as well as labor costs.

At Nippon Flour Mills Co. the prices of 16 frozen food items, including cooked rice products, will go up by 5 to 13 percent.

From April, prices for nonalcoholic drinks, dairy products such as milk and yogurt, and instant noodles will increase.

Among major beverage makers, Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Inc. and Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. plan to raise prices by around ¥20 chiefly for products in 2.0-liter plastic bottles, in their first markups in 27 and 21 years, respectively.