Monday, April 27th, 2009
Butter… Up to now, I never thought much about butter, other than spreading it on my bread in the morning and using it for my cooking. Now I start baking stroopwafels, I realize how expensive butter is in Japan.
Butter is a delicious solid fat churned from milk. It’s used in baking, frying, and as a spread on toast and muffins. Recipes that call for butter in most better cookbooks are referring to unsalted butter = sweet cream butter = sweet butter. Salted butter doesn’t spoil as readily (the salt serves as a preservative).
When you buy butter in the supermarket in Japan, the price is ¥370 per 200gr. I still remember the days, that I bought butter in the Netherlands for about ¥150 for 250gr. I always wonder why the Japanese decided to put only 200gr. instead of 250gr. Perhaps to make it look cheaper.\r\n\r\nIt turns out that 60% to 70% of our stroopwafel price is the price of butter, so I started to analyze why the price of butter is so extremely high here in Japan. I called my sister and she confirmed that butter in the Netherlands is still €120 per 250gr, which is ¥160. The price almost didn”t change in 25 years.\r\n
So, I thought, it would be a good idea to import the butter. I checked out the import duties and found some info on the Japan customs website. I got quite a shock…
I found the following entry:
04.05 Butter and other fats and oils derived from milk; dairy spreads 0405.10 Butter Of a fat content, by weight, not exceeding 85% (35% + 1,159 yen/kg)
So, for each kilo, that is imported, there is an additional tarrif of ¥1,159/kg. No wonder butter is so outrageously expensive here in Japan. If the fat contents is higher than 85%, the tarrif goes up to ¥1,363/kg.
I thought, well there must be a way around that? Perhaps importing the dough directly from the Netherlands. I checked and checked, and checked, but any food product imported is taxed according to milk fat content at the same rate or more.
The only way to get around it would be to import it as a lubricant for machinery (no tax), or as a waste product for animal fodder (no tax), unless it contains lactose, then per each\r\nkilogram, 70 yen plus 7 yen for every 1% exceeding 10% by weight of lactoce
So, conclusion is that I probably have to live with it… 70% of our stroopwafel cost price is butter…, so we are paying ¥1,159 tarrifs for every kilo we use. I think I never paid so much tax in my whole life.