A wave of price increases is pushing up the cost of enjoying Christmas in Japan this year.Soaring material costs and a weak yen have led to higher prices for cakes, fried chicken and “chanmery” nonalcoholic sparkling drinks.The average price of a 15-centimeter whole cake rose by ¥209, or about 5%, from the previous year to ¥4,040, according to a survey by Teikoku Databank.Prices for flour, the main ingredient of cakes, jumped by about 50% and those for strawberries and milk rose by some 10% each. Sugar and egg prices also went up.“Prices for some cakes climbed 10% 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 from ¥4,100. An official at Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan said, however, that reservations have so far been robust as they include upgraded cakes.In October, chanmery producers, including Hatakosen and Tombow Beverage, raised prices.“Soaring prices for bottles and others are torturing us,” said an official at Kimura Drink, another chanmery maker, which raised its prices in April.Price increases are also affecting toys. Tomy’s Kurohige Kiki Ippatsu pop-up pirate toy posted a price increase of ¥242 to ¥2,420.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 to some ¥20,000, according to research firm Intage.An official at Intage said that the increase “reflects people’s desire to enjoy (Christmas) this year,” after COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed.
This article was originally published by the Japanese Times.