Sushi platter

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Freight costs as well as a supply shortage has hiked the price of sushi rice

Brits are set to shell out more for sushi, with the price of sushi rice surging amid “complex” supply issues.

The cost of sushi rice has risen by roughly 35% since September 2020 due to “short supply and very high demand”, according to Eurostar Commodities

Freight costs have risen by 19% over that period, with Eurostar adding there could be “no paddy rice left in the entire global market” by spring.

“Right now the entire industry is clamouring to buy the rice that they need, and this is driving the price up further,” said its director Jason Bull.

Na Wang, marketing manager for Japanese ingredients supplier Tazaki Foods, added the cost of sushi rice had been “soaring for the past two to three years” and would likely continue to do so.

Because most sushi rice used in the UK comes from Italy, Brexit had added serious costs and complicated logistics, Wang said.

Indeed, “additional paperwork required after 1 January is adding cost and complexity to the food chain,” said Bull.

“Europe does not grow enough rice to fulfil demand and so it is topped up with rice from the rest of the world – but this year they will also have a massive shortfall due to freight and logistical issues.”

Cargos coming from East Asian countries, including Japan, Thailand and Vietnam, had been “really suffering from the freight cost increase”, Wang added.

Suppliers are hoping to push through price increases. Wang said Tazaki Foods has already kicked off negotiations with its customers.

“Whether that’s a price increase we’ll pass on to consumers for the retail side, we don’t really know”, said Wang.

The complexities of the supply chain would likely affect “not only the rice, but just a lot of other products” in the world foods aisles, she warned.