Food and beverages prices in Japan set to rise further

Soaring costs of raw materials and energy mean that prices of food and drinks in Japan will continue to rise in the coming months.

That is the finding of a survey of nearly 200 food and beverage makers nationwide by private research firm Teikoku Databank at the end of February.

It shows that the prices of more than 3,400 items like processed foods and snacks are set to increase in March. They include products which had a price hike recently. Some will cost the same but the volume will be reduced.

The research firm says April will likely bring another round of price-sticker shock.

Nearly 5,000 items including sausages and dairy products are already set to get more expensive next month.

The average rate of increase is 16 percent in yen terms.

Price hikes have already affected more than 15,000 items this year, including those that are set to go up. Over 8,000 of them are frozen food and other processed products.

Teikoku Databank says many companies had not been able to fully pass on their higher costs to consumers. That meant there are more price rises looming than previously expected.

The firm says electricity rates may also go up from April, following requests for government approval by power companies. It says the effect of surging feed costs and the spread of bird flu on the supply of eggs may drive prices up further.