A most worrying epidemic sweeping Japan at present is the news that butter is disappearing from shop shelves.
This problem is a result of the lack of milk produced in Japan due to a decrease in consumer demand. Other causes are also the recent price hikes in corn feed and grains for cows, meaning milk manufacturers are unable to increase the amount of milk producing cows.
However, shoppers are now hit with the double whammy of rising butter prices as well as supply shortages.
Butter is now an important part of a households diet and with butter stocks only arriving once a week at supermarkets, all products are selling once they hit the shelves.
Butter prices are set to rise again by 8-10%, either this month or in May.
There has been a splurge of media coverage on this issue for a long time, but even more so when concerns were raised that there would be a butter supply shortage at the most important time of the year—Christmas cake time. Along with the increases in wheat prices, small cake makers encountered difficulties as larger cake producers were able to buy huge wholesale amounts of butter, meaning even less supply for smalltime makers.
The problem is spreading and is likely to stay this way for the foreseeable future. Expect more concerned butter consumers to be making their way into the mornings news for the coming year.
The Japan Times:
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