Sector Trend Analysis – Meat trends in Japan

July 2018

Executive summary

With a population of 127 million, Japan is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean with dense cities, and mountainous national parks. The Japanese population is a traditional consumer of seafood, but meat consumption has increased gradually over recent years, especially among the younger generations.

Japan was ranked the world’s second-largest meat importer (US$9.1 billion) in 2016, after China (US$10.3 billion), and was ranked first as of November 2017 (US$9.2 billion).

Canada was the third-largest meat supplier to Japan as of November 2017, exporting US$966 million. That amount accounted for 10.4% of the total world meat supply to Japan, which was US$9.3 billion. Canada was the second-largest pork supplier and the fourth-largest beef supplier to Japan in 2016.

Over the forecast period, poultry will have the strongest growth of any meat category, in line with past years, increasing in total volume at a compound annual growth rate of 2% due to affordable unit prices and perceived healthy attributes. Canada was the sixteenth-largest poultry supplier to Japan in 2016.

Despite Japan’s rapidly aging and declining population, the Japanese meat production industry is expected to experience growing sales due to the ongoing Westernization of the typical Japanese diet. In particular, it is expected that younger generations of Japanese people continue regarding meat as a staple of their increasingly modern and less traditional diet. The anticipated shortage in the supply of fish and seafood, leading to higher prices for these products over the forecast period (2018 to 2021), may influence consumers to substitute meat for fish. In addition to younger generations, older generations show a tendency to continue with their meat diet as they get older. Other reasons for a decline in seafood consumption are younger generations’ lack of knowledge and skills to cook seafood at home and the price difference between meat and seafood.

Contents

Japan’s meat market

Japan is an island country surrounded by oceans and is well-known for consuming fish and seafood. Although eating meat was previously considered to be unfavourable for maintaining good health, Japanese consumers have slowly come to accept the idea that high protein intake is important for maintaining health and that meat is a great source of protein as well as iron, vitamins and amino acids. Japanese people are increasingly consuming meat, and this trend is expected to continue over the forecast period from 2017 to 2021.

Total volume sales of fresh food by category, in ’000 tonnes, 2016
Category Volume Growth 2016 CAGR* 2012–2016 CAGR 2017–2021
Vegetables 12,423.9 −1.9 −0.3 −1.1
Meat 3,855.1 1.2 0.9 0.9
Fruits 3,209.5 0.1 −2.1 −0.2
Fish and seafood 1,758.8 1.4 0.3 0.9
Eggs 1,311.7 0.6 0.2 0.3
Sugar and sweeteners 1,039.6 1.5 −0.1 1.2
Starchy roots 795.2 −3.9 −3.4 −2.2
Nuts 81 1.4 1.8 1.1
Pulses 13.9 −2.3 −4.3 −0.5
Total 24,488.7

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

In 2016, total volume sales of fresh food reached 24.49 million tonnes, of which vegetables accounted for 12.4 million tonnes, representing over 50% of total fresh food sales. Meat was ranked second in total volume sales, at 3.86 million tonnes, representing 16% of total fresh food sales. That amount is higher than fish and seafood sales, which were 1.76 million tonnes, or 7% of total fresh food sales.

Sales of packaged food by category, in ’000 tonnes, 2012 to 2017
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Dairy 4,402.5 4,454.2 4,374.3 4,330.9 4,293.7 4,266.9
Rice, pasta and noodles 4,732.4 4,630.6 4,597.2 4,450.0 4,278.1 4,148.5
Baked goods 2,300.6 2,299.9 2,310.9 2,319.4 2,329.9 2,345.4
Sauces, dressings and condiments 2,399.8 2,394.3 2,366.4 2,358.9 2,327.9 2,301.7
Processed meat and seafood 2,103.5 2,091.9 2,079.9 2,044.9 2,034.9 2,026.3
Ready meals 1,480.4 1,501.8 1,525.6 1,565.1 1,604.5 1,638.7
Savoury snacks 695.9 688.3 698.9 713.4 713.8 717.3
Ice cream and frozen desserts 571.2 584.7 577.8 562.6 568.8 572.8
Confectionery 402.9 401.6 404.1 405.8 412.4 418.0
Edible oils 329.3 323.0 331.5 335.7 338.3 340.5
Processed fruit and vegetables 297.4 294.1 293.6 298.2 290.4 283.8
Sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks 261.0 259.9 269.9 283.3 282.7 282.7
Soup 107.7 109.6 109.3 107.8 108.6 109.4
Spreads 71.7 69.7 73.7 74.2 77.9 79.7
Breakfast cereals 35.6 40.7 51.9 66.3 72.1 75.9
Baby food 41.7 40.1 41.1 42.5 43.4 44.0
Total 20,233.6 20,184.7 20,106.1 19,958.9 19,777.5 19,651.8

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

In 2017, total packaged food sold in Japan hit 19.7 million tonnes. The fifth-largest category of packaged food, processed meat and seafood, accounted for 2.03 million tonnes, or 10.3% of the total volume.

Japan’s trade summary

Japan was ranked the world’s second-largest meat importer (US$9.1 billion) in 2016, after China (US$10.3 billion), and the largest as of November 2017 (US$9.2 billion).

Top ten meat importers in the world, in US$ billion, 2012 to 2017-November
Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Jan.–Nov. 2017
Japan 9.9 8.7 9.6 8.6 9.1 9.2
China (People's Republic of) 4.1 5.9 5.8 6.8 10.3 8.5
United States 5.8 6.0 8.4 9.4 7.9 7.6
Germany 7.6 8.0 8.0 6.7 7.0 6.9
Hong Kong 4.4 5.5 6.8 5.3 5.8 5.9
United Kingdom 5.9 6.1 6.5 5.9 5.5 5.0
South Korea 2.9 2.7 3.4 3.7 3.9 4.4
France 5.8 6.1 6.0 4.8 4.5 4.4
Netherlands 5.0 5.0 5.2 4.7 4.6 4.2
Italy 5.9 6.1 6.1 4.9 4.7 4.2

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018.

By volume, Japan was the fourth-largest meat importer (2.1 million tonnes) as of November 2017, after China (3.6 million tonnes), Germany (2.2 million tonnes) and Hong Kong (2.2 million tonnes).

Top ten meat importers in the world, in millions of tonnes, 2012 to 2017-November
Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Jan.–Nov. 2017 CAGR* 2012-2017
China 2.1 2.6 2.5 2.7 4.5 3.6 21%
Germany 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.2 2%
Hong Kong 2.0 2.1 2.5 2.0 2.4 2.2 5%
Japan 1.8 1.8 2.0 2.0 2.1 2.1 4%
Mexico 1.8 1.9 2.0 2.1 2.2 1.8 5%
United States 1.2 1.3 1.6 1.8 1.7 1.6 9%
United Kingdom 1.4 1.5 1.5 1.6 1.6 1.5 3%
Netherlands 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 0%
Italy 1.5 1.5 1.6 1.6 1.5 1.3 0%
France 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.3 1.2 -2%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

Among the top ten meat suppliers to Japan by value, Canada was the third-largest supplier as of November 2017, exporting US$966 million, or 10.3% of the total meat supply to Japan, which was US$9.34 billion. Canada’s meat supply to Japan had a compound annual growth rate of 1% from 2012 to 2017.

Top ten meat suppliers to Japan by value, in US$ million, 2012 to 2017-November
Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Jan.–Nov. 2017 CAGR* 2012-2017
World 8,931 8,954 9,999 8,370 8,900 9,343 1%
United States 3,036 3,287 3,518 2,840 3,053 3,238 1%
Australia 1,827 1,627 1,744 1,650 1,616 1,623 −2%
Canada 936 839 919 795 911 966 1%
Brazil 979 977 1,095 845 727 916 −1%
Denmark 632 633 651 480 560 493 −5%
Spain 137 186 346 301 378 453 27%
Mexico 443 489 449 395 401 398 −2%
Thailand 3 3 179 262 308 391 163%
New Zealand 226 221 213 169 186 179 −5%
Chile 209 175 146 105 123 111 −12%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

Top ten meat suppliers to Japan, in metric tonnes, 2012 to 2017-November
Country 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Jan.–Nov. 2017 CAGR* 2012-2017
World 1,990,911 2,019,480 2,240,867 2,151,005 2,211,042 2,266,356 3%
United States 634,797 678,649 727,271 622,887 655,822 654,649 1%
Brazil 381,545 387,937 415,172 419,975 394,060 439,800 3%
Australia 345,813 328,818 325,768 317,512 299,121 294,804 −3%
Canada 217,538 196,684 204,939 221,748 231,948 245,911 2%
Thailand 310 320 53,553 93,320 115,988 128,868 246%
Spain 30,661 39,531 74,551 86,032 96,988 107,841 29%
Denmark 120,520 117,893 133,276 116,303 121,884 103,952 −3%
Mexico 80,921 91,674 88,225 90,250 91,905 91,761 3%
Netherlands 9,413 15,321 29,086 29,686 35,422 36,464 31%
New Zealand 42,991 42,694 37,131 27,637 29,743 28,975 −8%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

Among the top ten meat suppliers to Japan by volume, Canada was ranked fourth, exporting 245,911 tonnes. That amount accounted for 10% of total world exports to Japan, which were 2.3 million tonnes as of November 2017. Canada had a compound annual growth rate of 2%, whereas Thailand achieved the highest compound annual growth rate, 246%, among the top ten suppliers from 2012 to November 2017. Australia, Denmark and New Zealand were the three suppliers that had negative compound annual growth rates, of −3%, −3% and −8%, respectively, from 2012 to November 2017.

Top ten meat products exported by Canada to Japan, in US$ million, 2012 to 2017-November
HS code Description 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Jan.–Nov. 2017 CAGR* 2012-2017
Total 936 839 919 795 911 966 1%
020319 Fresh/chilled swine, bone in 411 454 523 488 525 570 7%
020329 Frozen swine, bone in 339 225 206 154 161 156 14%
020312 Fresh/chilled hams, shoulders of swine, bone in 22 19 20 20 45 52 19%
020230 Frozen boneless bovine 29 32 52 28 34 51 12%
020910 Pig fat, lean meat free, fresh/chilled/frozen/salted/in brine/dried/smoked 29 25 30 19 33 31 1%
020610 Fresh/chilled bovine edible offal 5 4 3 11 31 29 42%
020500 Fresh/chilled/frozen horses, asses, mules or hinnies 20 21 22 22 23 20 0%
020130 Fresh/chilled boneless bovine 16 11 15 14 18 19 5%
020649 Frozen swine edible offal 22 14 16 10 10 14 −9%
020621 Frozen edible bovine tongues 4 10 9 6 12 10 18%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

Canada’s total meat exports to Japan as of November 2017 were US$966 million, of which fresh/chilled swine, bone in, accounted for US$570 million, whereas frozen swine, bone in, accounted for US$156 million in 2016.

The top meat products are mainly pork, beef and their offal. From 2012 to November 2017, fresh/chilled bovine edible offal gained the highest compound annual growth rate of 42%, and frozen edible bovine tongues had the second-highest compound annual growth rate, 18. Canadian beef is sold largely for use in the Japanese food service sector.

Top ten meat products exported by Canada to Japan in metric tonnes, 2012 to 2017-November
HS code Description 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Jan.–Nov. 2017 CAGR* 2012-2017
Total 217,538 196,683 204,938 221,752 231,947 245,907 2%
020319 Fresh/chilled swine, bone in 65,992 87,289 102,011 121,453 121,448 133,258 15%
020329 Frozen swine, bone in 101,767 60,545 50,056 50,438 45,465 43,422 −16%
020910 Pig fat, lean meat free, fresh/chilled/frozen/salted/in brine/dried/smoked 15,536 18,691 18,011 18,780 23,442 22,230 7%
020230 Frozen, boneless bovine 6,688 8,618 12,721 7,484 11,053 15,575 18%
020312 Fresh/chilled hams, shoulders and cuts of swine, bone in 3,868 3,823 3,797 4,811 10,639 12,244 26%
020649 Frozen swine edible offal 8,178 5,552 6,407 4,558 4,466 6,017 −6%
020130 Fresh/chilled boneless bovine 1,978 1,647 2,088 1,929 2,633 3,237 10%
020610 Fresh/chilled bovine edible offal 513 450 348 1,072 2,786 2,664 39%
020500 Fresh/chilled/frozen horses, asses, mules or hinnies 2,938 2,966 3,094 3,658 3,714 2,459 −3%
020629 Frozen bovine edible offal 2,050 3,098 2,620 3,065 2,868 1,685 −4%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

Canada exported 245,907 tonnes of meat to Japan as of November 2017. Of that total, frozen/chilled swine, bone in, accounted for 54% (133,258 tonnes). Fresh/chilled bovine edible offal gained the highest compound annual growth rate of 39% from 2012 to November 2017. Frozen swine, bone in, had a negative compound annual growth rate of −16% from 2012 to November 2017.

Consumption and spending

The total volume sales of meat in Japan grew at a compound annual growth rate of 1% from 2012 to 2017, reaching 3.9 million tonnes in 2017. Poultry accounted for the largest volume of meat consumed in 2017, with 1.9 million tonnes, or 48% of total meat consumption. Pork was in second place, with 1.27 million tonnes. Poultry gained the highest compound annual growth rate of 3% from 2012 to 2017. Poultry and pork together accounted for 80% (3.1 million tonnes) of the total volume sales of meat in 2017. There are several factors behind the rising popularity of poultry. The main reason is the lower price of poultry. Another reason is that recent studies have presented chicken breast as an ideal food item for health-conscious consumers.

Historical *total volume sales of meat by category, in ’000 tonnes, 2012 to 2017
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR** 2012–17
Total 3,749.1 3,726.8 3,762.9 3,807.8 3,855.1 3,897.6 1%
Poultry 1,637.8 1,641.1 1,674.4 1,745.0 1,807.6 1,862.6 3%
Pork 1,265.6 1,251.5 1,255.6 1,257.6 1,266.4 1,274.8 0%
Beef and veal 824.9 812.9 811.9 784.3 760.4 739.4 −2%
Lamb, mutton and goat 15.1 15.4 15.1 14.9 14.8 14.6 −1%
Other meat 5.8 5.9 5.9 6.0 6.0 6.0 1%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018.

*Note: Total volume sales encompass retail, food service and institutional sales (e.g. school/hospital) as defined by Euromonitor.

**CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

The average unit price of beef and veal is almost four times higher than the average unit price of chicken. That is why total volume sales of beef and veal had a negative annual compound growth rate of −2% from 2012 to 2017 and will continue to show negative growth in the next four years from 2018 to 2021, as seen in the table below.

Consumption of lamb is not significant in Japan, and lamb, mutton and goat accounted for only a marginal proportion of the total volume sales of meat in 2017 (14.6 thousand tonnes). Over 99% of the lamb consumed in Japan is imported, mostly from Australia and New Zealand.

Forecast total volume sales of meat by category, in ’000 tonnes, 2018 to 2021
Category 2018 2019 2020 2021 CAGR* 2018−21
Total 3,935.4 3,969.1 3,998.7 4,024.9 1%
Poultry 1,910.9 1,952.9 1,989.5 2,021.1 2%
Pork 1,282.9 1,290.6 1,297.9 1,305.0 1%
Beef and veal 721.1 705.1 690.9 678.5 −2%
Lamb, mutton and goat 14.5 14.4 14.3 14.2 −1%
Other meat 6.0 6.1 6.1 6.1 1%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

It is forecast that the total volume sales of meat will be 4.02 million tonnes in 2021, for a 1% increase in the compound annual growth rate from 2018 to 2021. Consumers, especially young people, are now eating less fish and more meat, especially when dining at home, as meat is easier to prepare and cook.

Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* 2012–17
Total 34,600.0 35,759.6 36,392.3 37,054.9 37,488.3 37,485.3 2%
Pork 14,637.6 15,410.9 15,831.9 16,377.7 16,640.5 16,898.1 3%
Beef and veal 12,124.4 12,315.2 12,277.4 11,827.6 11,723.4 11,167.8 −2%
Poultry 7,530.8 7,713.0 7,961.6 8,519.0 8,790.0 9,083.5 4%
Lamb, mutton and goat 164.4 171.8 170.4 173.8 171.5 171.1 1%
Other meat 142.9 148.7 151.0 156.8 162.9 164.7 3%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

In 2017, retail sales of meat reached US$37.5 billion, of which pork accounted for 45% (US$16.8 billion). Poultry had the highest compound annual growth rate, 4%, from 2012 to 2017.

Historical retail sales of meat by category, in ’000 tonnes, 2012 to 2017
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* 2012–17
Total 1,714.9 1,777.3 1,813.9 1,828.6 1,848.1 1,866.6 2%
Pork 776.2 817.7 837.1 842.0 852.1 861.8 2%
Poultry 650.2 666.3 685.3 713.1 737.6 759.2 3%
Beef and veal 280.8 285.4 283.5 265.6 250.5 237.6 −3%
Lamb, mutton and goat 5.4 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.5 5.4 0%
Other meat 2.3 2.4 2.4 2.4 2.5 2.5 2%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

Retail sales of meat reached 1.9 million tonnes in 2017. Retail sales of pork and poultry were 861 thousand tonnes and 759 thousand tonnes, respectively, in 2017. Poultry had the highest compound annual growth rate, 3% from 2012 to 2017.

Forecast retail sales of meat by category in US$ million, 2018 to 2021
Category 2018 2019 2020 2021 CAGR* 2018–21
Total 37,690.2 38,107.8 38,658.0 39,111.7 1%
Pork 17,223.2 17,626.0 18,075.5 18,467.8 2%
Poultry 9,386.7 9,709.3 10,037.6 10,316.2 3%
Beef and veal 10,741.7 10,429.5 10,196.5 9,975.1 −2%
Other meat 167.1 170.2 173.6 176.4 2%
Lamb, mutton and goat 171.5 172.8 174.7 176.1 1%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

It is forecast that retail sales of meat will reach US$39.1 billion in 2021, an increase of US$1.5 billion from 2016. Poultry will continue to have the highest compound annual growth rate, 3%, followed by pork (2%) from 2018 to 2021.

Forecast retail sales of meat by category, in ’000 tonnes, 2018 to 2021
Category 2018 2019 2020 2021 CAGR* 2018–21
Total 1,883.8 1,899.8 1,914.5 1,928.1 1%
Pork 871.2 880.1 888.7 897.0 1%
Poultry 778.1 794.5 808.8 821.1 2%
Beef and veal 226.7 217.3 209.2 202.1 −4%
Lamb, mutton and goat 5.4 5.4 5.3 5.3 −1%
Other meat 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 0%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

It is forecast that retail sales of meat will be 1.9 million tonnes in 2021, an increase of 45 thousand tonnes from 2018. Poultry will continue to have the highest compound annual growth rate, 2%, followed by pork, at a compound annual growth rate of 1%.

Historical consumption of meat (total volume sales) per capita, in kilograms, 2012 to 2017
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* 2012–17
Total 29.4 29.3 29.6 30.0 30.5 30.9 1%
Poultry 12.8 12.9 13.2 13.8 14.3 14.8 3%
Pork 9.9 9.8 9.9 9.9 10.0 10.1 0%
Beef and veal 6.5 6.4 6.4 6.2 6.0 5.9 −2%
Lamb, mutton and goat 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0%
Other meat 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

As Japan is a country famous for consuming a lot of seafood, per capita meat consumption in 2017 was 30.9 kilograms. However, the anticipated shortage in the supply of fish and seafood over the forecast period is likely to favour sales of meat. Poultry was the most consumed category per capita, at 14.8 kilograms in 2017, and gained the highest compound annual growth rate, 3%, from 2012 to 2017. Per capita consumption of beef and veal had a negative compound annual growth rate of −2% from 2012 to 2017 due to the higher unit price of meats in that category.

Forecast retail sales of meat by category, in ’000 tonnes, 2018 to 2021
Category 2018 2019 2020 2021 CAGR* 2018–21
Total 31.3 31.7 32.1 32.5 1%
Poultry 15.2 15.6 16.0 16.3 2%
Pork 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 1%
Beef and veal 5.7 5.6 5.5 5.5 −1%
Lamb, mutton and goat 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0%
Other meat 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

It is forecast that total meat consumption per capita will reach 32.5 kilograms in 2021 with a compound annual growth rate of 1% from 2018 to 2021.

Historical expenditure on meat (retail sales) per capita, in US$, 2012 to 2017
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* 2012–17
Total 271.3 280.9 286.4 292.2 296.5 297.4 2%
Pork 114.8 121.1 124.6 129.2 131.6 134.1 3%
Beef and veal 95.1 96.7 96.6 93.3 92.7 88.6 −1%
Poultry 59.1 60.6 62.6 67.2 69.5 72.1 4%
Lamb, mutton and goat 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.4 1%
Other meat 1.1 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.3 1.3 3%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

The most common type of meat eaten at home in Japan is pork, which accounted for 45% of overall retail sales of meat in 2017. Per capita expenditure on pork was US$134.1 in 2017. Pork remains popular among consumers in Japan thanks to its high presence in both the foodservice and retail channels.

Forecast expenditure on meat (retail sales) per capita, in US$, 2018 to 2021
Category 2018 2019 2020 2021 CAGR* 2018–21
Total 300.1 304.7 310.5 315.7 2%
Pork 137.2 140.9 145.2 149.1 3%
Poultry 74.7 77.6 80.6 83.3 4%
Beef and veal 85.5 83.4 81.9 80.5 −2%
Lamb, mutton and goat 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4 0%
Other meat 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.4 2%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

It is forecast that pork will continue to be the highest expenditure per capita in the next five years, reaching US$149.1 in 2021.

Retail sales of organic meat, in ’000 tonnes, 2012 to 2016
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR* 2012–16
Organic meat 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 1.8 73%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

Note: Data on organic meat available only up to 2016.

Retail sales of organic meat, in US$ millions, 2012 to 2016
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR* 2012–16
Organic meat 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 48.7 81%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

Note: Data on organic meat available only up to 2016.

Retail sales of organic meat remained insignificant in Japan before 2015 as consumers showed less interest in organic meat in comparison with Western countries, mainly due to a lack of education and information about the benefits of organic meat. Currently, there is only one meat establishment in Japan that is certified under the Japanese Agricultural Organic Standard (JAS). However, Japan started to accept more organic meat from foreign producers in 2016 and consumed 1,800 tonnes (US$48.7 million) of organic meat that year, resulting in a high compound annual growth rate, 73%, from 2012 to 2016. Organic livestock products to be distributed in Japan will soon require JAS certification.

E-commerce and consumer foodservice in Japan

Japan is the second largest e commerce market in the Asia-Pacific region. Because of the high number of households with Internet access, more Japanese consumers are switching to online shopping. According to Statista (2017), the number of Internet users in Japan reached 117.8 million as of January 2017, and 78.3 million (66.5%) used the Internet to shop in 2016. Statista (2017) reports that in 2016, 92% of the Japanese population accessed the Internet, up from 78% in 2009.

Because of the increased use of smartphones and tablets, the popularity of “m commerce” (mobile commerce) is accelerating. Consumers, particularly young people, find shopping through mobile devices very convenient. M commerce sales in Japan amounted to US$25.9 billion in 2015 and are expected to grow to US$60.8 billion by 2020. However, the use of e commerce for fresh food is very limited in Japan.

Distribution of meat by format, percent (%), 2012 to 2016
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR* 2012–16
Retail 45.7 47.7 48.2 48.0 47.9 1%
Foodservice 41.5 40.7 40.7 41.0 42.0 0%
Institutional 12.8 11.6 11.1 11.0 10.1  −6%
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 0%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate.

The retail channel is the dominant buyer of meat (47.9%), followed by the foodservice (42%) and institutional (10.1%) channels. Institutional purchases dropped steadily since 2012, with a negative compound annual growth rate of −6%.

Conclusion

Supported by the growing popularity of poultry, total volume sales of meat in Japan continued their positive growth trend in 2016, with growth of 1% over the year. This growth was due mainly to the ongoing internationalization of the Japanese diet, which has increased the popularity of meat over fish, especially among young Japanese people. In addition to younger generations, older generations show a tendency to continue with their meat diet as they get older. Other reasons for a decline in seafood consumption are the younger generations’ lack of knowledge and skills to cook seafood at home and the price difference between meat and seafood.

The expected shortage in the supply of fish and seafood over the forecast period will lead Japanese customers to favour meat. The growing popularity of fish and seafood at a global level, especially in Europe, North America and China, is set to continue over the forecast period, and a shortage in the supply of fish and seafood will occur, as the source of these types of food is limited. There is also a movement towards sustainable fisheries to protect the ocean’s natural resources. As a result, the price of fish is expected to climb over the forecast period, and many consumers are expected to prefer meat as a cheaper alternative to seafood, given that Japan’s economic climate is unlikely to recover quickly during the forecast period.

For more information

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For additional information on Foodex Japan 2018, please contact:

Ben Berry, Deputy Director
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Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
ben.berry@canada.ca

Resources

Sector Trend Analysis - Meat Trends in Japan
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: Hongli Wang, Market Analyst

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