High wheat prices a headache for udon restaurants

Some udon noodle restaurants in Japan are voicing concerns about the high price of imported wheat. This comes as the government has raised the price of imported wheat for milling companies to a record high.

Kagawa Prefecture, western Japan is home to many such udon restaurants. One of them serves up to about 700 udon dishes a day, using 60 to 70 kilograms of flour.

It already raised prices by 10 to 20 yen per dish, around 7 to 15 cents, in March last year.

Operator Sanuki Mengyo says it will have to consider further increases if flour prices go up. But it says a big hike would be difficult out of consideration for its regular customers.

Sanuki Mengyo President Kagawa Masaaki says the company has made various efforts to keep costs down, including adjusting the refrigerator's temperature setting, and reducing the flame to boil the noodles.

He adds, "We'll keep trying to find ways to continue serving our dishes at prices our customers appreciate."

Other operators have already decided to close shop out of concerns they cannot manage another big price increase.