• Jiji


Prices of household foods, such as flour products and cooking oil, are set to spike in Japan from early next year.

The price hikes stem from rising ingredient prices, following a global surge in demand after economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis, as well as from climbing logistics costs.

With companies unable to find ways to offset the high costs, some products have already seen prices raised, hitting consumers.

Yamazaki Baking Co. plans to raise the shipping price of its bread and pastries by an average of 7.3% from Jan. 1 next year. Nisshin Foods Inc., a unit of Nisshin Seifun Group Inc., will raise the prices of wheat flour products by around 3% to 6% and mixed flour products by around 4% to 6% from Jan. 4.

The moves come after the government in October revised up the prices at which imported wheat is sold to the private sector by 19% from six months before.

International wheat prices have skyrocketed on strong demand from China, dealing a blow to Japan — which relies on imports for 90% of its wheat.

Some food makers will also raise prices of noodles as a result.

For cooking oil, J-Oil Mills Inc. plans to raise the prices of rapeseed oil products by at least ¥40 per kilogram from Feb. 1. Cooking oil prices were already raised four times in 2021.

The production of rapeseed has decreased due to a drought in Canada, a major producer.

The climbing prices also reflect growing demand for vegetable oil, not only for food but also for use as a biofuel in decarbonization efforts.

Higher edible oil prices are also impacting other products. Kewpie Corp. plans to raise the prices of its mayonnaise products from March 1, following its last hike in July this year. Calbee Inc. will raise potato chip prices from late next month.

“The rise in ingredients prices is accelerating,” a top official at a major food maker said, while a source from a midsize supermarket operator said that “logistic costs are also rising due to high crude oil prices.”

Climbing food prices tend to discourage consumers from spending. “The price hikes may chill consumer sentiment and put a damper on ‘revenge consumption,'” or buying to satisfy suppressed appetite amid the coronavirus crisis, said Shinichiro Kobayashi of Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting Co.

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