The Japanese Internet buzzed with a rumor earlier this week about snack maker Yaokin’s plans to increase the price of its most beloved line of crunchy munchies. It’s a popular product that is loved by both young and old. Such a decision would have significant national-level consequences. Yaokin confirmed that the rumors were true and will be increasing the price of its Umaibo puff corn snacks this spring.
Umaibo made official announcement via Twitter.
いつもうまい棒を応援してくださっている皆様へ pic.twitter.com/2VkgctkQ3j— うまい棒【やおきん公式】＠第２回うまい棒川柳受賞作発表中！ (@Umaemon_40th) January 27, 2022
The rough google translate on the announcement reads as follows:
Thank you for supporting Umaibo. As reported in each media, the increase in transportation and raw materials for the product has led us to increase the price of everyone’s beloved snack from 10 yen to 12 yen starting from April of 2022.
It was to everyone’s support that our product was able to maintain the price of 10 yen for 47 years.
Thanks to the cooperation of everyone involved in manufacturing and distribution, thank you from the bottom of our heart and we’re sorry for the inconvenience caused.
We will continue to deliver products that will please your hearts and we will do our best in coming days.
All of these numbers are accurate. Umaibo’s price will go up by two yen (US1.7 cents). It has been at its current price (a ridiculously low), 10 yen (8.7 cents) since 1979.
Puffed corn isn’t haute cuisine. However, it’s incredible to see a company selling its flagship product at low prices. Umaibo, while small and easy, isn’t a snack that will make you feel hungry. It doesn’t skimp on flavor. There are many flavors to choose from, including sweet and spicy.
These fans aren’t going to abandon Umaibo because of a two-yen price increase, and they responded to Yaokin with:
It doesn’t matter at all
On the contrary, it is amazing that I have not raised the price until now
You may raise the price.
Umaibo is delicious, so I just buy it lol
I’ve loved it since I was a kid!
Thank you for 10 yen so far
Even if it’s 12 yen, it’s a snack that’s kind to your wallet, so I’ll continue to eat a lot.
Although Yaokin’s solemn announcement may seem absurd, it is not unusual in the Japanese snack industry. Many commenters were reminded that a similar restaurant owner apologized for putting less fillings in his taiyaki, because he was about to go broke. Similar happened to the makers of Garigari-Kun shaved popsicles (another Japanese delicacy dear to their hearts), and they had apologized for an increase of 10 yen in their prices. This price was also held extremely low for many years.
Although two yen isn’t a significant increase in absolute terms it is a 20 percent jump. This is when Japan is experiencing a rise in prices for many consumer goods without comparable gains in wages. Umaibo’s low cost makes them attractive to elementary-school-aged children, who spend more on Umaibo than older Umaibo lovers.
However, if Twitter users’ reactions are any indication, it seems like most people would be willing to grab another pair of yen coins for their Umaibo quota.
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