Japan Retail Egg Prices Up from Last Year

JAPAN - Retail egg prices, once immune to price trends, have this year risen within a range of 10 per cent to 20 per cent compared with last year, weighing on restaurants and households.
calendar icon 22 July 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

The Japan News reports that according to ja.z-tamago Co., the nation’s largest egg wholesaler, the average domestic wholesale price of eggs was ¥199 per kilogram in June, up 28 per cent from ¥155 the year before. Statistics from the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry also show that the average retail egg price per kilogram in June rose to ¥235, a 14 per cent increase from the same month last year.

"Although the consumption tax has been raised, we have kept our prices unchanged," said an operator of a restaurant that serves chicken dishes in Tokyo. "But it will become difficult for us to continue at these prices."

The restaurant, with menu items such as oyakodon, a chicken and egg rice bowl dish, usually uses 300 eggs a day. Last year, it paid less than ¥2,500 for 10 kilograms of eggs, but the price has climbed to nearly ¥3,000 this year.

A shop in Tsukiji, Tokyo, that specializes in a dish called Tamagoyaki has also been hit by the price increases as it has paid 10 per cent to 20 per cent more for eggs this year than it did last year. It said a wholesaler has sought additional price hikes.

Last week, a supermarket in Suginami Ward, Tokyo, sold a pack of 10 eggs for ¥202, excluding tax. A housewife living nearby said, "I could buy them for ¥100 to less than ¥200 last year."

A price increase in poultry feed imports due to the weaker yen has driven egg prices higher. The government’s efforts to control chicken supplies also has led to a jump in egg prices. To assist poultry farmers struggling with higher costs from poultry feed imports, the government issued guidelines last year urging a cut of 5 million in the annual supply of about 140 million chickens.

Despite such a support measure, poultry farmers continue to struggle.

Masayuki Takeshita, chairman of the Shimane prefectural poultry association, said that livestock food prices have risen about 30 per cent from three years ago. As electricity charges have also been on the rise, Mr Takeshita said, "Even at the current prices, we are struggling to continue production."

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