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Traditional moon cakes becoming more costly of a treat

(Global Times)

13:01, August 15, 2011


Shoppers excite over a giant moon cake on display at a shopping mall along Nanjing Road West in Shanghai yesterday. The traditional holiday treat is being put on to store shelves around the city ahead of next month's Mid-Autumn Festival. (Global Times Photo)

Shanghai residents can expect to fork out at least 5 percent more than last year when purchasing some of the city's most popular brand name moon cakes this year for the approaching Mid-Autumn Moon Festival on September 12.

Famous moon cake brands Xinghualou and Xinya have already marked up prices by as much as 10 percent and as little as 5 percent compared to last year's holiday period, with producers blaming the increase on rising commodity prices.

Xinghualou upped the price of its traditional moon cakes consisting of special fillings made from sweetened bean paste, coconut, lotus seed paste and five types of nuts and seeds, by 0.20 yuan ($0.03) to 0.50 yuan a piece.

A press officer, surnamed Zhu, from Xinghualou, said the price of raw materials, particularly sugar, have skyrocketed this year, forcing the company to spend roughly 20 percent more on the ingredients.

"But since our reputation is based on the fact that we don't put additives in our products, we have no choice but to raise prices," she told the Global Times Sunday. "We're trying to offset the increase by selling more cakes this year, by winning over customers who used to buy ones with additives, but no longer want to."

Xinya, meanwhile, has increased moon cake prices from 5 yuan to 6 yuan each. Foreign companies competing in the market have also raised prices. H?agen-Dazs is charging 588 yuan instead of 528 yuan for a nine-piece gift box of ice cream moon cakes this year.

"While we're less impacted by the rising cost of raw materials in China since the filling of our moon cake ice cream products are imported from abroad, we've had to deal with increasing labor and logistics costs," Guo Yu, public relations manager for H?agen-Dazs, told the Global Times Sunday.

But she said that the company is trying to keep costs down by better managing workers and using more efficient transportation practices.

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