Yesterday was Eel Day in Japan, where it is customary to eat eel in the summer. What are the characteristics and prices of eel consumption market in Japan this year?
The eel shop has been in operation for more than 60 years, and many Japanese people lined up despite the temperature reaching 38 degrees Celsius. Customers at the end of the 200-meter-long line had to wait up to three hours to buy an eel. Because of its nutritional value, eel is one of the most sought after summer delicacies in Japan. Shops like this one sell 1,200 grilled eels a day on peak days.
The price of such a grilled eel is about 130 yuan, more than 10 percent more than last summer. For many Japanese consumers, eating eel in summer has become a luxury.
Many restaurants and supermarkets have also raised the price of eel rice. The main reason for the price rise of eel-related products is the decline in eel breeding due to the shortage of young eel. Only about 10 tons of young eel were caught in Japan this year, down 9 percent from last year, according to the Fisheries Agency. This has also led to higher prices for fresh eels, with wholesale prices for fresh eels at some well-known places reaching about 250 yuan per kilogram, about 40 percent higher than this time last year
As the price of Japanese eels rose, so did the price of Chinese eels in the Japanese market. Some wholesale prices reached about 210 yuan per kilogram, up more than 50% year on year. Currently, Chinese eels account for more than half of the Japanese market.
Moreover, many Japanese merchants say that Chinese eels taste as good as Chinese eels. A Japanese journalist recently tasted them in a report and found that they could not tell the difference between Chinese and Japanese eels in taste. It also shows that Chinese eels are gaining acceptance in the Japanese market, which is also good news for Chinese eel farmers and businesses.