Ramune is a very popular soft drink in Japan but it is available elsewhere too, especially now that online shopping has made everything so easy to obtain.
The original blend has a lemon flavor that probably had its roots in British lemonade. Strangely enough, it was first developed by a pharmacist as a medicinal drink for cholera!
Ramune is basically Japan’s national soft drink and children especially love collecting the marbles that come as stoppers with each bottle. Nowadays, Ramune comes in various other flavors such as orange, melon, pineapple, strawberry, and grape.
As time has gone on, the prices of many things have increased substantially. More and more people complain about rising prices around the world, which is an inevitable thing because of many different factors, for instance, the COVID pandemic and its related supply chain issues.
This has affected all kinds of products, including foods, clothes, and even drinks. For example, Ramune is a delicious drink but since it is, at best, just a carbonated soft drink in a small (200 ml) bottle, people often ask why it is so expensive.
We’ll explore that in this article and see if we can give you some good reasons for this.
Why Is Ramune So Expensive?
1. Importing and Exporting Costs
Ramune is made and bottled in Japan so it is definitely cheaper there. A bottle from a vending machine will cost you about 80-90 yen, the equivalent of about 65 cents in the U.S.
Japan imports high fructose corn syrup for the beverage from America, but this does not add substantially to the cost.
The crunch comes when the beverage is shipped out of Japan. This shipping process incurs all kinds of costs with the result that a pack of 6 bottles costs about $30 on Amazon, or $5 per bottle!
Japan is the only country in the world that manufactures Ramune, so every other country has to import it. This means that for as long as Japan is the only producer, the price of the drink will continue to increase around the world.
2. Supply and Demand
Another reason why Ramune is so expensive is that it is delicious and has a bit of a cult following, particularly among the young in Japan and other parts of the world.
This means that the demand for the product is often higher than the supply, and as we all know, that is one sure way for the price of something to go up.
Local shopkeepers from other countries know that the drink is trendy, in demand, and special because it’s imported, so they feel justified in charging a premium price for it. Business is business!
Ramune is a trendy symbol of summer in Japan and during hot festival days and nights, huge amounts are bought and consumed. Tourists also love to try it when they go to Japan, in much the same way as tourists in Italy buy pizza.
3. Expensive Packaging
While Ramune does also come in plastic bottles and cans, the coolest way to buy it is in its original glass bottle with the marble stopper. This packaging gave it the name “marble soda.”
Some people buy the beverage to experience the style of the bottle and to collect the marbles as much as for the liquid inside!
The glass Codd-neck bottle gets filled from underneath in the factory which presses the marble at the top against a rubber stopper, effectively sealing it. Of course, glass is more expensive than plastic, which accounts for the higher price.
4. Naturally Sweetened
Many carbonated beverages are cheaper because they use artificial sweeteners such as aspartame instead of sugar. Ramune is made with natural real sugar, which is healthier and tastes better but drives the price up.
We hope that the reasons we have given above have enlightened you about why Ramune is so expensive in countries outside of Japan.
Try it next time you visit there … or treat yourself to a bottle at home – its deliciously refreshing taste will remind you of warm Japanese summers.