It was a normal Saturday morning, out shopping with the wife at the local supermarket when I spotted the display of chocolate with the now omnipresent Tokyo 2020 mascots, Miraitowa and Someity.
The 4th largest chocolate confectionary producer in the world, Meiji, has the Olympic and Paralympic mascots hawking their famous chocolate snacks, kinoko no yama (mushroom mountain) and take no sato (bamboo village), which are essentially morsels of cookie topped with chocolate in the shape of a mushroom and a bamboo shoot respectively.
And then I saw the price for a bag of these snacks – JPY1,000 (a little less than USD10). Holy moly, I thought.
That’s when my finely honed investigative journalistic instincts sent tingles though my body like a Bob Woodward version of spidey sense. As they always say, follow the money!
I went down aisle five to see if the regular kinoko no yama/take no sato snacks were available. And there I saw it, the truth as plain as day – a pack of 12 for 275 yen. The Tokyo2020 bag was a pack of 8 for 1,000 yen! I took a few nervous minutes to crunch the numbers checking them several times over because I simply could not believe my eyes.
Miraitowa’s version was selling for 125 yen a pack while the traditional version was about 23 yen a pack. Miraitowa has a heck of a brand that he can hawk his version of the same product for over 5 times the normal rate!
It’s like finding out that Supreme T-Shirt you bought for $1,150 was actually made for about $10. (Please don’t fact check me on that last point. I have no idea.)
Ok, but then my eagle eyes caught the fine print on the back of the packaging:
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Tokyo 2020 Official Licensed Products will be used to help stage the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
I did check on the internet, including Meiji’s site. This packaging and price was released on July 23, to commemorate the Tokyo2020 Year to Go campaign. But to be honest, there is no mention about how much of that 1,000 yen is going to Tokyo 2020. I hope it is a large percentage.
I fear though that most people are not going to put a premium on the chocolate-covered-mushroom-cookie. I hope they do, and contribute to the coffers of Tokyo2020…but mom’s probably not going to shell out 5 times the price so that Taro-kun can get the sticker inside.
But who knows?
Olympic fever is rising with the temperature.