Fresh Vegetable Price Spike in Japan Boosts Frozen Sales

Escalating prices for fresh produce in Japan has spurred increased sales of frozen vegetables, according to a report published by Nikkei Asian Review on March 16. Asparagus from Peru and spinach from China have been selling briskly at Inageya supermarket outlets, while China-sourced frozen spinach has also in high demand among shoppers at the Summit chain.

Nikkei noted that the Inageya chain has decided to maintain stable levels of frozen vegetable stocks throughout the year by signing a supply contract with an Osaka-based food trading company.

Lower harvest yields caused by cold temperatures and other unfavorable weather conditions have been blamed for fresh vegetable price spikes of 30% to 40% over prices charged in February and March of 2017. Spinach was recently going for approximately ¥200 per bunch, while broccoli was fetching up to ¥298.

“The price for a 200-gram pack of frozen spinach, on the other hand, was around 200 yen, while 250 grams of frozen broccoli was priced between ¥191 and ¥196, almost unchanged on the year,” reported Nikkei staff writer Shu Matsuda.

Frozen vegetables are getting a higher profile at an increasing number of retail stores, as they are now being merchandised alongside fresh produce in special display freezer cases. One such retailer is Life Corp., which saw frozen vegetables sales in February jump by 30%.