【News】 Japanese government issues first guideline on fair trade of foods to put the brakes on “tofu” discount sales (April 16, 2017)

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has recently drew up guidelines to promote fair trades of “tofu (bean curd)” and fried bean curd, which are popular food items sold at supermarkets and other retail shops.

MAFF plans to improve unfair trade of those products so that the manufacturers will be able to make a reasonable profit, which will possibly help to secure the income of soybean producers.

Tofu does not keep for a long time. It is apt to be sold as bargain items at the retail market, where a number of problems are occurring between manufacturers and retailers frequently abusing their superior power.

MAFF conducted researches on sales of tofu and tofu products in the market and found some kinds of controversial transactions. Some retail dealers, for instance, unilaterally notified tofu manufacturers of reducing contract prices to implement bargain sales of tofu.

Other tofu manufacturers received one-sidedly cancelation of a contract on sales of private brand tofu from supermarkets and were not paid of wrapping film costs.

MAFF’s guideline on fair trades of tofu and tofu products lays down respective measures to be taken by retailers for improving unfair deals including these cases.

The number of tofu shops and companies reached to the peak of some 50 thousands in 1960 and has decreased year by year to 7.5 thousands.

Lots of proprietors of family-run tofu shops retired due to aging. In addition, many tofu companies have gone out one after another due to unfair discount sales of tofu and tofu products at supermarkets and retail shops.

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