Economy

Japan’s Sakuma’s Drops maker to close after 114 years

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

A still from Studio Ghibli’s Grave of the Fireflies, with an appearance by candy brand Sakuma’s Drops. Pic: Studio Ghibli
A still from Studio Ghibli’s Grave of the Fireflies, with an appearance by candy brand Sakuma’s Drops. Pic: Studio Ghibli

Related tags: Japan, Candy, Confectionery

Sakuma Seika Co, one of Japan’s oldest candy companies, has announced it is to close in January due to a drop in sales and rising production costs.

With eight fruit flavours available, Sakuma’s Drops are sold in an iconic red steel can and the colourful hard candies have been a family favourite for over 100 years.

The news has been met with sadness across the country. Established by Sojiro Sakuma in 1908, the candies has appeared in numerous Japanese films, including the hit anime film, Grave of the Fireflies​.

The Tokyo company said the brand is a victim of surging raw material and energy prices, but it had not raised the price of the Drops for several years for fear of losing customers. Many Japanese firms are wary of raising prices despite the economic climate.

Reuters reported near double-digit wholesale inflation and a weak yen have squeezed profits at many food producers. In January, the maker of popular corn snack Umaibo raised prices for the first time since the snack’s 1979 debut, making national headlines.

Sakumaseika suffered a net loss of more than 150 million yen ($1 million) in the 2021 financial year, according to analysts. The future of Sakumaseika’s 100 employees remained uncertain, a company representative told local media.

We always had a can at home when I was in grade school​,” 53-year-old sweets-shop owner Naoe Watanabe told Reuters “It feels like a sign of the times. There are so many choices now, compared to when I was a kid​.”

Related topics: Manufacturers, Candy

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