Japan set for another round of food, beverage price hikes

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Beverages are seen on the shelves of a Tokyo supermarket in September.

Consumers’ purse strings are set to be stretched yet further by a second round of price hikes early next year, following recent rises in October.

Prices of 4,425 food and beverage items will escalate between January and April, credit research firm Teikoku Databank announced Thursday after compiling price revision plans for 105 major food and beverage makers, based on plans as of the end-of-November.

The average price increase will be 17% — three percentage points higher than October’s hikes. Some 3269 items, or about 70% of the total, will be hiked in February.

Processed foods such as frozen and canned foods account for about half of the rises. Soaring costs of raw materials, electricity and gas are being compounded by the yen’s depreciation, driving up import prices and making it difficult for firms to maintain their selling prices simply by cutting costs.

In January, Nisshin Seifun Welna Inc., Showa Sangyo Co. and Nippn Corp. will raise the prices of tempura flour and spaghetti for home use; in February, Nichirei Foods Inc. will increase the prices of almost all frozen foods for home use by about 6% to 20%; and in March, Nissui Corp. will up the cost of chikuwa and other surimi ground-fish products by about 8% to 30%.

Traditionally, the retail industry pulls in considerable income during the year-end and New Year’s holidays in late December and early January, so manufacturers likely have refrained from raising prices during this period.

“Next year’s price hikes are on track to quickly reach 5,000 items,” a person in charge at Teikoku Databank said.