Prices for okonomiyaki and takoyaki mixes on Mercari Photo: Twitter/@sx_cjp
business

Flour products sell online for outrageous prices in Japan

24 Comments
By Dale Roll, SoraNews24

As recommendations to stay home and avoid going out continue in order to help stave off the spread of coronavirus, more and more people are eating at home and taking up hobbies like cooking and baking to pass the time. As a result, the demand for basic ingredients like flour has gone up as increasing numbers of home chefs are buying it to cook with, which has caused the stock of flour products in some supermarkets to run dry.

In the wake of stores selling out, some cunning citizens have turned entrepreneur and taken it upon themselves to resupply the flour market–by reselling flour products at exorbitant prices. On Japanese e-commerce site Mercari, sellers are typically offering flour, pancake mix, okonimiyaki mix, takoyaki mix, and other flour-based batter mixes at two to three times their normal price, and sometimes much more. One seller was even selling one-kilogram bags of bread flour for as much as 1,980 yen each (though those specific listings have since been removed.)

The Japanese government, however, wants its citizens to know that there is no production shortage of flour. The minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Taku Eto, called the price gouging “extremely outrageous” at a cabinet meeting held on May 1 and expressed concerns that resellers will spark panic buying in other citizens, who, upon seeing the flour for sale online, may come to the conclusion that there is a shortage. “If this reselling continues, the ministry will have to take action,” he said.

Both Eto and the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who held a press conference after the cabinet meeting, encouraged citizens not to panic buy. “We’re aware of the low stock of flour products in some stores,” Suga said. “Currently we have a domestic stockpile of the raw materials needed to make flour, so there is no shortage. Mills were asked to continue working in full production even over the Golden Week holidays, so please make your purchases calmly and rationally.”

As for the administrators of apps like Mercari, they’re doing their own part to combat price-gouging sellers. Mercari itself has released a statement saying that they noticed an increase in flour products listed on its website, but not a significant change in the price of flour. Nevertheless, they are putting efforts into removing overpriced listings, and have also banned the sale of medical equipment such as masks, since selling them at high prices became a major problem in the initial panic, and has since become illegal.

So though there is currently a minor shortage of flour products in stores in Japan, it’s not a permanent shortage, and supermarkets should restock their flour products soon.

Source: NHK News via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

24 Comments
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opportunist scumbags!

17 ( +20 / -3 )

When someone loses their job(s) and they cannot support themselves or others in the family while not receiving their meager ¥100,000 they must resort to other means.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

You know, while I am totally against price gouging at stores here, online, it's "buyer-beware" in my book.

If there are folks who are willing to get proverbially raped and buy this stuff online, it's on them! If no one buys it, the sellers are stuck.

There's a sucker born every minute!

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

The Japanese government, however, wants its citizens to know that there is no production shortage of flour.

So which is it?

So though there is currently a minor shortage of flour products in stores in Japan, it’s not a permanent shortage, and supermarkets should restock their flour products soon

Seems to me, that this is another thread meant only to stir the pot! I do all the shopping for my family, and roughly a month ago, there were stores that were sold out of specific types of flour, BUT not ALL flour.

Now all these things are totally available!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I have been dealing with this one recently since I bake my own bread. The local store ran out of bread flour and yeast. Usually, I bought 1 kg flour bags for about ¥300 and 50 gm packets of active dried yeast for about ¥300.

Most the wheat is imported from Australia I think.

First place to look was Amazon my normal search place. Need to search carefully and only buy from Japan based companies. Quite a few Chinese ones. I've had several items from China recently. They were good, no problems.

I found very good bread flour, better than my normal brand 25 kg bag for ¥6200 including shipping. $248/kg. Yeast needed a bigger search because of stupid prices. 2 x 125 gms of SAF-Instant dried yeast. ¥1918 including shipping. ¥378/50 gms.

SAF-Instant is the best active dried yeast and only needs half the amount of other brands. Just ordered 500 gms for ¥1918 including shipping. Arrives beginning of June.

Found a good company called Mama Pan which sells flours and yeast.

In the end I gained better flour and yeast making more tasty bread.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

i bake bread at home.bread flour /from canadian wheat/buying in local grocery shop for 155jpy/kg,dry yeast also same place,french item some 350jpy for 150g....

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The law of supply and demand behaving as advertised = pandemic capitalism.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Bought some Hoshino Natural Yeast, suppose to be popular but I couldn't get it to work for me.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Who’d thought this white powder would be worth gold dust prices? I thought I was looking at a Japanese food shop outside of Japan when I saw the prices!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If you don't want it for that price, don't buy it, plain and simple. Your life isn't depending on you getting some takoyaki mix, and perhaps the people who have it want to unload some. The only problem here, besides the questionable morality in price-gouging, is if shops are selling stuff to people in bulk when they have only a limited amount. Ie., if people are hoarding. Now they know there is a shortage, so supermarkets should be limiting. I happen to have a lot of stock, some of it I bought quite a bit before Corona because I always keep a healthy supply in case of emergency. Some I bought in cases on Amazon when reporting on the virus started. Not hard to predict. It's sitting next to the numerous rolls of toilet paper, tissues, and hand sanitizer. It's enough to last me and mine a while, and I'm not selling it (I have given some flour away to a friend who couldn't find any).

Now, another problem that has seen this develop is the fact that people shop here daily for what they plan to use THAT DAY, which is why Koike's request to only shop once every three threw the elderly into a tizzy. If you don't keep anything on hand, don't expect it to be waiting for you in this kind of situation.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Isn't it rather hypocritical for the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Taku Eto, to call the price gouging “extremely outrageous".

The price of rice and many other agricultural products in Japan is extremely outrageous, the taxes on imported rice. Isn't JA guilty of price gouging. The restrictions on some other agricultural products such as butter are extremely outrageous, and the recent butter shortage was the result of his ministries regulations.

Price gouging by businesses seems quite acceptable, but by individuals trying to make a few yen to survive it is outrageous.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I wondered why okonomiyaki flour had sold out! However, there is still an abundance of other flour available and all you need to do to make okonomiyaki dough (and takoyaki) is add some powdered dashi and a few other basic things anyway.

I actually buy a lot of flour (wheat, buckwheat, tapioca, chickpea) from online Indian shops like www.indojin.com and http://sartajfoods.jp/ because it's cheaper than almost everywhere else but still good quality. The beans and spices are good too, definitely recommend checking them out

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I haven't had any issue buying flour at normal price from my regular weekly delivery company.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I’m with Yubaru. If people are willing to pay it then do be it. Buyers get shafted every day but now it’s wrong that individuals do the shafting and not the corporations. Hypocrisy knows no bounds.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"“If this reselling continues, the ministry will have to take action,” he said.""

As always TOOOO Late Sir.

Responsible businesses have always done it.

It should be the store responsibility to limit the purchases or control over buying so all customers can have access to their stock.

By limiting the number of same item purchase per person whenever shortages or over buying accrue.

These limitations are the norm in times of crises and should have been implemented on Masks, Sanitizers, Toilet papers, and so on.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Even at their normal price, I've always felt that buying bread was always cheaper than making it yourself in Japan. Ridiculously over-priced, even before the pandemic. Then again, the bread in Japan is god damn awful. As bad as the typical Japanese 'peanut butter'.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Baking bread is cheaper than buying but not the main point. Good for the hands and state of mind. Better taste and the smell of new bread.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Scalpers!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder what % of Japanese houses have ovens for baking or how often they bake since baked goods aren't really a part of the traditional Japanese cuisine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many small ovens available, big enough for two breads, a cake or pie.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've always felt that buying bread was always cheaper than making it yourself in Japan.

Except that the soft white sweet cotton-bread you can buy cannot compare in any way with a proper home-naked whole meal loaf.

I wonder what % of Japanese houses have ovens for baking or how often they bake

The article mentions ‘flour, pancake mix, okonimiyaki mix, takoyaki mix, and other flour-based batter mixes’, so mainly for cooking on a hot plate or frying pan, not in an oven. Most Japanese I know who might contemplate making their own bread would consider one of those electric bread-makers to be an essential item.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Home- naked??

Gives bread a whole new perspective...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The same crazy hike of flour prices happened in Amazon.jp too, and it seems we cannot do anything about it to report this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The flour and yeast I bought from Amazon are making better bread than before. It's a win.

My local super still as no flour or yeast.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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