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Rising flour import costs trigger bakery bread, noodle price hikes

Date Posted: 2007-11-15

Okinawa’s largest bread bakers and noodle factories say they must raise product prices starting next month, in order to remain competitive.

Gushiken bread factory in Uruma City says prices will go up by 6~10% because of another price increase for imported flour. Gushiken’s president, Toshimasa Inamine, and Okiko bread factory in Nishihara’s president, Tatsuo Nakada, say they’re seeing price increases after 17 years of holding steady. Both say they must increase prices to compensate.

San Foods, a noodle maker based in Itoman City, is experiencing the same problem. President Kenichi Higo says “We have not raised prices in 30 years, but now we had to make an increase.” San Foods boosted prices ¥10~15 this month. Okiko breads will be ¥10~20 higher next month, increases of 8~10%.

Bakers attribute the cost hikes for flour to the worldwide demand for bio-fuels made from corn, a demand that has seen many farmers switching from growing wheat to corn. The local companies say the higher prices will be seen in everything from soba noodles to cakes and sweet breads.

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