Commodity Innovation Series - Snapshot of Maple Product Trends in Japan
- United States dollar (US$)
99.6% of Japan's imports of maple products come from Canada
- Japan is a long-lasting and trusted regional partner, with a large consumer base that is willing to pay high prices for specialty seasonal imports.
- Japan is the second largest importing country of maple syrup and maple products with total imports of US$23 million in 2016.
- Japan's imports of maple syrup and maple products have mainly come from two suppliers: Canada and the United States. Canada was Japan's largest supplier of maple products, and Canadian market share rose from 98.6% to 99.6% in 2016.
- Canadian maple products have a significant presence in Japan, and are well-known among consumers.
Maple as the ingredient
Top innovative markets for maple products in Asia Pacific, 2011 to 2016
|Innovation Criteria||Australia||Japan||South Korea||Hong Kong||Singapore||India||Philippines||New Zealand||Indonesia||Taiwan|
|Product line diversity||7||11||9||7||5||4||5||4||3||2|
|Health & wellness claims||16||10||12||11||11||11||10||10||8||8|
|Rating scale: Excellent (20-17), Very good (16-13), Good (12-9), Fair (8-5), Low (4-0)|
New products using maple as the ingredient are on a rise:
- From 2011 to 2016, 259 new product launches used some type of maple in their product formulation.
- The number of products using maple has increased by 33.3%, growing from 33 launches in 2011 to 44 in 2016.
|Company||Number of products launched|
Japan's ageing population enjoys premium products with health claims
Top 5 claims:
- Limited edition
- High/Added fiber
- Vitamin/Mineral fortified
Top 5 growing claims:
- Convenient packaging
- Low/No/Reduced sugar
Consumers are favouring convenient packaging such as microwavable packages
Top package types:
- Flexible stand-up pouch
- Flexible sachet
Top packaged materials:
- Plastic unspecified
- Polypropylene plastic
- Metallised film
- Polyethylene plastic
- Polystyrene plastic
55% of new product launches occurred in bakery product category from 2011 to 2016
Top 5 categories:
- Desserts and ice-cream
- Breakfast cereals
- Ready to drink
Top 5 sub-catogories:
- Cakes, pastries and sweet goods
- Sweet biscuits/cookies
- Chilled desserts
- Snack/Cereal/Energy bars
- Corn-based snacks
38% of new launches were priced between US$0.91 and US$1.30 from 2011 to 2016
Top 5 unit price ranges:
- US$0.91 - 1.30
- US$1.31 - 1.70
- US$1.71 - 2.10
- US$ 0.51 - 0.90
- US$2.51 - 2.90
Top 5 unit pack sizes:
- 240.0 millilitres
- 10.5 grams (g)
- 40.0 g
- 50.0 g
- 60.0 g
|Store type||Branded||Private label|
|Natural/Health Food Store||1.5%||0.0%|
Factors of consideration
- Japan's stringent regulatory system and decision making process are built on a science-based framework, and government or consumer relationship is built on trust and respect.
- Exporters should be aware of the strong competition in the maple market, and consider differentiating their products based on consumer needs.
- In addition to the market for consumer-ready syrup and maple products, there are markets for bulk syrup used in food processing and private label in Japan.
- Japanese manufacturers, food processors, and retailers rely on middlemen for the imported maple products.
- Labelling and packaging must comply with regulations governed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare.
Recommendations for entry
- Awareness of Government of Canada programs that offers competitive advantages abroad.
- Be cognisant of regional differences in Japan.
- Develop a good understanding of regulations and procedures that comply with trade.
- Follow import guidelines to avoid import shipments be detained.
- Develop a clear market strategy prior to entry.
- Develop relationship with local importers and relevant stakeholders.
- Develop a business cultural adaptation strategy.
- Participate in trade shows to investigate the market and establish contacts.
- Global Trade Tracker, 2017 (Maple Trade)
- Mintel International Global New Products Database (GNPD), 2017 (Maple as the ingredient)
- Trade Commissioner Service and Agricutlure and Agri-Food Canada (Maple Trade, factors of consideration, and recommendations for entry)
- “Maple syrup and maple products” in MAPLE TRADE was defined as Harmonized System (HS) code 170220.
- “Maple products” in MAPLE AS THE INGREDIENT were defined as food and drink products containing maple syrup, maple sugar, maple extract, mountain maple extract, maple flavour, maple smoke flavour, silver maple flavour, nature identical maple flavor, maple smoke, artificial maple flavour, natural and artificial maple flavor, natural maple syrup flavour, natural maple flavour, maple sap and maple tea.
How we can help
We offer multiple programs and services to help you achieve your international business goals, such as the Agri-Food Trade Service, AgriMarketing Program, and Canada Brand. International Trade Commissioners are also an excellent point of contact for export advice and can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions, and local business contacts.
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