TOKYO: A wave of price increases is likely to push up costs for enjoying Christmas in Japan.
Soaring materials costs and a weak yen led to higher prices for cakes, fried chicken, a Christmas meal unique to Japan, and “chanmery” nonalcoholic sparkling drinks.
The average price of a 15-centimeter whole cake rose by 209 yen, or about 5 pct, from the previous year to 4,040 yen, according to a survey released by Teikoku Databank Ltd. on Dec. 6.
Prices for flour, the main ingredient of cakes, jumped by about 50 pct and those for strawberries and milk rose by some 10 pct each. Sugar and egg prices also went up.
“Prices for some cakes climbed 10 pct or more,” said an official at Teikoku Databank, a credit research company.
The price of two types of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s flagship Party Barrel products increased to 4,480 yen from 4,100 yen. An official at Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan Ltd. said, however, that reservations have so far been robust as they include upgraded cakes.
In October, chanmery producers, including Hatakosen Co., based in the western Japan city of Osaka, and Tombow Beverage Co., based in the central city of Toyama, raised prices.
“Soaring prices for bottles and others are torturing us,” said an official at Kimura Drink Co., another chanmery maker based in Shimada, Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, which raised its prices in April.
Price increases are also affecting toys. Tomy Co.’s “Kurohige Kiki Ippatsu” pop-up pirate toy posted a price increase of 242 yen to 2,420 yen.
This year, prices for as much as over 20,000 food items rose in Japan.
The average budget for this year’s Christmas rose by 1,700 yen to some 20,000 yen, according to research firm Intage Inc.
An official at Intage said that the increase “reflects people’s desire to enjoy (Christmas) this year,” after COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed.