Japanese Ice Cream Manufacturer Akagi-Nyugyo's Iconic Ice Cream "Garigari-kun" package

Japanese Consumers Favorably Accept Price Hike in Ice Cream

On December 20th, the company Akagi-Nyugyo announced its famous “Garigari-kun” ice cream will rise in cost for the first time in eight years. Starting March 1st, 2024, ice cream like fan favorite “Garigari-kun Soda” will jump from 76 yen (0.53 USD) to 86 yen (0.60 USD).

Akagi-Nyugyo cites the need to maintain quality while commodity and distribution budgets grow increasingly untenable to offset operationally.

A Somber Commercial Announces Prior Price Hike

The last “Garigari-kun” increase came in April 2016 after 25 years at 60 yen (0.42 USD) per stick. A memorably somber commercial aired then, playing a 1960s Japanese song named “Price Raise” while employees lined up with remorseful expressions. You can click here to watch the entire commercial.

All the employees from Akagi-Nyugyo deeply bowing to apologize for its price raise of 10 yen in 2016

(Image from the original commercial moviecollectionjp)

Lyrics emphasized reluctance despite inevitability: “A price increase within this year cannot be avoided. A price hike in the near future cannot be avoided either.” This reflected sincere efforts to avoid the decision until raw material costs forced their hand.

Praised for Skipping Easy Profiteering

While food price hikes typically prompt criticism, Japanese consumers had opposite reactions to “Garigari-kun's” 2016 move. Many felt the items still seemed inexpensive and appreciated Akagi-Nyugyo avoiding opportunistic profits. Some consumers said, "It's still cheap," "They have worked so hard to keep the prices low," and "I don't mind paying 100 yen [for "Garigari-kun"]."

Mascot character "Garigari-kun" and its ice cream

(Image from Akagi-Nyugyo)

This goodwill comes from the company’s perceived sincerity and commitment to quality over money. Their consistency engenders customer empathy even when finances necessitate boosts.

Commitment to Affordability and Taste

The recent price hike doesn't mean Akagi-Nyugyo gave up quickly or didn't try their best to keep costs low for their customers. However, it shows they exhausted every option to avoid this outcome until economic conditions left no other choice.

Most companies lack either the skill or integrity to communicate dilemmas adequately when raising their prices. Akagi-Nyugyo's consistency in prioritizing inexpensive deliciousness before profits is now paying dividends in the form of customer empathy.

Global inflation rate stayed high at 6.9%

(Image from International Monetary Fund)

Looking back this year, the inflation rate stayed high at 6.9% globally in 2023. The United Kingdom had an inflation rate of 7.7%, being one of the highest in developed nations. Some other countries, such as Sweden, had an inflation rate of 6.9%, and Australia had 5.8%. While these countries had high inflation rates in 2023, Japan kept its rate lower at 3.2%.

This low-maintained inflation may partially come from the constant hard work of Japanese companies such as Akagi-Nyugyo. These companies cut costs internally and make the manufacturing process more efficient.

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