The prices for American “Minced Cod” which is the basis for “Kamaboko”, “Chikuwa” and other processed boiled fish paste products are expected to become bullish. The demand for a replacements arising out of BSE and Avian flu breakouts in Europe and Asia are causing a rise inquiries about fillets (sold in threes). Meanwhile, the production of mince is falling, so fears of a shortage are placing focus on bream and other “golden thread” fish. However, high oil prices are predicted to cause a slump in fish harvests. Domestic inventory is at a low standard, and we are likely to see more and more markets trying out a price increase by the fall season.
Price negotiations for American produced Minced Cod are conducted twice a year in spring and fall between the American and Japanese fishing industries
Importers were demanding a price drop due to domestic fish cake makers’ profit deterioration, but with a worldwide expansion in demand looming, the spring negotiations this year decided on the 3rd straight price increase.
Producers are shifting from mince to fillets, which have a higher unit price, making the fears of a mince shortage high. Due to this, there was a partial movement to use “golden-thread” as a replacement. However, last year’s import quantity was 54,060 tonnes, a 14% decrease from the previous year. According to a fishing company, this is because of “the lackluster response from the consumer.”
This year, with an increase in cost of fishing boat operation due to the rising price of crude oil, and harvest amounts shaky, there are some who predict that domestic influx may be limited. There is a movement among fishing companies to find other replacements, but at present they have not found a promising contender.
The Farming, Forest, and Fisheries Minsitry says that minced Cod inventories were 41,937 tonnes at the end of this March, 23% lower than they were in March of last year. With an increasing crunch in supply and demand, wholesale prices for frozen minced Cod increased 13% to 295 yen per kilogram. Depending on the supply quantity for the fall season, further price increases are likely. (KM)