The End of the High-end White Bread Boom in Japan

Bakeries selling “high-end white bread,” which had been on the rise for a while, are closing one after another. The boom of high-end white bread is slowing down sharply.

At one time, shoppers formed long lines to buy white bread that cost nearly 1,000 yen per loaf. This boom spread not only to the city center, but also to the countryside, where bakeries selling only “high-end bread” overflowed.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ “Family Income and Expenditure Survey,” the average spending on bread in January of both 2016 and 2017, before the boom began, was 706 yen and 703 yen, respectively. In January 2018, the first year of the boom, the average expenditure rose to 744 yen, and then to 768 yen in January 2019, 784 yen in January 2020, and 841 yen in January 2021. The boom in high-end white bread is thought to have driven the rise in average spending.

However, in January 2022, the national average for white bread was 842 yen, an increase of only 1 yen. Signs that “people are getting tired of high-end white bread” are already becoming apparent.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has caused the global price of wheat, the raw material for bread, to rise sharply. As the price of even the “ordinary bread” that we normally eat is slowly rising, it is thought that people can no longer afford to pay attention to high-end white bread.

Recently, the nationwide bakeries that had led the boom have decided to close their doors in large numbers, giving the impression that the “high-end bread boom is over.