Last week, the internet was abuzz with chatter that snack maker Yaokin was planning to raise the price of its most popular line of crunchy munchies by two yen. Since it’s a product loved by people both young and old, such a decision would have national-level consequences, and sure enough, Yaokin has confirmed that the rumors are true, and this spring it will indeed be raising the price of its Umaibo puffed corn snacks.
The company made the official announcement through the Umaibo Twitter account.
The statement reads:
“Thank you for your continued support of Umaibo. As has been reported in various media outlets, due to an increase in the cost of Umaibo’s ingredients and shipping, as well as other expenses, as of April 1, 2022, we will be raising the price from 10 yen to 12 yen.
We were able to keep the price at 10 yen for the past 42 years thanks entirely to your support and the cooperation of everyone involved I Umaibo’s production and distribution, and we are deeply grateful to you all.
In addition, we sincerely apologize for the confusion and commotion that caused prior to our official announcement.
We will continue to do our utmost to bring you all products that make everyone happy.”
Yes, all of those numbers are correct. Umaibo will only be going up two yen in price, and it’s been at its current price of a ridiculously inexpensive 10 yen ever since it first went on sale in 1979.
Granted, puffed corn isn’t exactly haute cuisine, but in this day and age, it’s amazing to think that any company is selling its flagship product for such a low price, especially since Umaibo isn’t some tiny, single-bite snack that’d leave you feeling hungrier than if you’d eaten nothing at all. Nor does it skimp on flavor, as there are dozens and dozens of different flavors, from salty to spicy to sweet, all with large numbers of fans.
Those fans, though, aren’t about to turn their backs on Umaibo over a two-yen price hike, and have responded to Yaokin’s tweet with:
“You really worked hard keeping them at 10 yen for us.”
“Thank you for keeping the price at 10 yen for so long.”
“No problem at all with the new price.”
“I could go up to 100 yen.”
“I just have one request: Please don’t make them smaller.”
The solemn tone of Yaokin’s announcement might seem farcical, but it’s not unprecedented in the Japanese snack world. Multiple commenters were reminded of the time when Akaginyugyu, makers of the Garigari-kun brand of shaved ice popsicles (another delicacy very near and dear to the hearts of Japan’s snack lovers), apologized for a 10-yen increase in their prices, which had also been held incredibly low for many years.
While two yen isn’t a big increase in absolute terms, it’s still a sudden 20-percent jump that comes at a time when Japan is seeing prices rise for a wide variety of consumer goods, without similar gains in wages. Another factor is that Umaibo’s cheap price makes them especially appealing to elementary school-age kids, for whom an extra two yen is a bigger portion of their spending money than it is for older Umaibo fans.
If the reactions from Twitter users are anything to go by, though, scrounging up another pair of one-yen coins to get their Umaibo fix sounds like something most people are willing to do.
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