Grilled Eel Prices Falling in Japan This Summer

Economy

Tokyo, July 18 (Jiji Press)--Prices of "kabayaki" grilled eels, a summer delicacy in Japan, are falling slightly this year after years of hikes, thanks to expectations for an increase in supply following large catches of glass, or baby eels, since the beginning of this spring.

Sales are seen to be brisk, with competition among retailers peaking ahead of the Day of the Ox on Tuesday, when many people in the country eat grilled eel, a nutritious dish believed to help them combat the summer heat. Demand from those choosing to stay home amid the novel coronavirus epidemic is also expected to push up sales.

Catches of glass eels had been extremely poor in recent years. But this year's domestic catches are surging nearly five-fold year on year.

It will take some time for the young eels to grow, and they will be shipped in autumn or later. But retailers "are lowering prices of eels in inventory to sell them out early," with eel supply certain to start increasing, a retail industry official in Tokyo said.

Grilled eel prices started to go down around June at the Toyosu wholesale food market in Tokyo's Koto Ward. Wholesale prices of kabayaki of eels produced in China stood at between 500 and 900 yen per fillet in early July, down 10 to 20 pct from a year before, when prices hit record-high levels due to extremely poor catches.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press