Language selection

Search

Market Overview – Japan

November 2018

Market snapshot

  • Japan has the world's third-largest economy with a total gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$4.9 trillion in 2017 and real GDP growth of 1.7%.
  • Japan has a large middle class and one of the oldest populations in the world. There are more than 35 million people over 65 years old, accounting for 28% of the total population.
  • As older consumers increase in number and their dietary requirements change, seniors in Japan are requiring more easy-to-use packaging and smaller portions, as well as health-related products, such as functional foods. Consequently, opportunities to better serve the aging population are emerging in various packaged food categories.
  • Packaged food sales were valued at US$174.4 billion in 2017, and are anticipated to reach US$192.8 billion by 2022.
  • The top packaged food company in Japan in 2017 was Meiji Holdings Co. Ltd. with a 3.4% retail value share, followed by Yamazaki Baking Co Ltd (3.1%) and JA Group (2.1%).
  • Japan's annual household expenditures per capita reached US$10,167.4 in December 2017, compared with the last update number of US$10,419.4 in December 2016.
  • Japanese consumers are well known for placing high importance on consuming safe, high-quality food, and they perceive Canada as a country that produces food with these characteristics. If Canadian exporters are able to meet the stringent conditions to export to Japan, this also resonates well with other markets within Asia.

Production

Rice is by far the most important crop in Japan, but production declined in both 2015 and 2016.

Among the top 10 production crops, sugar cane saw the most significant increase in 2016, growing by 24.9% over the volume recorded in 2015. Sugar cane was also the fastest-growing production crop across the whole 2012–2016 period, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2%.

Crop and livestock production in Japan – Top 10 crops (tonnes)
Top 10 crops 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 CAGR* % 2012-2016
Rice 10,654,000 10,758,000 10,549,000 9,986,000 8,044,000 −6.8
Sugar beets 3,758,000 3,435,000 3,567,000 3,925,000 3,189,000 −4.0
Potatoes 2,500,000 2,408,000 2,456,000 2,354,000 2,158,000 −3.6
Sugar cane 1,108,000 1,191,000 1,159,000 1,260,000 1,574,000 9.2
Cabbage and other brassicas 1,443,000 1,440,000 1,480,000 1,469,000 1,446,000 0.1
Onions 1,098,000 1,068,000 1,169,000 1,265,000 1,243,000 3.1
Sweet potatoes 875,900 942,300 886,500 814,200 860,700 −0.4
Tangerines, mandarins and clementines 846,300 895,900 874,700 777,800 805,100 −1.2
Wheat 857,800 811,700 852,400 1,004,000 790,800 −2.0
Tomatoes 722,400 747,500 739,900 727,000 743,200 0.7

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT), 2018

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Crop and livestock production in Japan – Meat indigenous (tonnes)
Meat indigenous 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Chicken 1,444,600 1,453,300 1,463,400 N/A N/A
Pork 1,296,900 1,293,300 1,293,600 N/A N/A
Beef and veal 518,700 519,100 520,300 N/A N/A

Source: FAOSTAT, 2018

N/A: Not Available

Crop and livestock production in Japan – Livestock (head)
Livestock 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Chickens 177,607,000 306,408,000 310,553,000 320,000,000 310,128,000
Pigs 9,735,000 9,685,000 9,537,000 9,419,467 9,313,000
Cattle 4,172,000 4,065,000 3,962,000 3,860,000 3,824,000
Source: FAOSTAT, 2018

Trade

Japan is a net importer of agri-food and seafood products. In 2017, Japan's agri-food and seafood trade deficit was Can$84.1 billion with imports valued at Can$92.3 billion, and exports of Can$8.2 billion. Japan's agri-food and seafood imports grew at a CAGR of 4.1% between 2013 and 2017.

Japan's top agri-food and seafood imports in 2017 were corn, cigarettes, frozen pork, prepared chicken meat and fresh boneless beef. Key supplying countries were the United States, China, Thailand, Australia and Canada. Canada was Japan's fifth-largest supplier of total agri-food and seafood products in 2017, with a 5.6% share.

Japan's Top Agri-Food and Seafood Imports from the World, 2017
Commodity Import Value
Can$ millions
Top Suppliers and Market Share % Canada's Share %
1 2 3
Corn 3,995.7 United States
79.8
Brazil
13.8
South Africa
3.2
0.0
Cigarettes 3,393.3 South Korea
21.2
Lithuania
18.9
Switzerland
15.5
0.0
Frozen pork 3,236.7 Denmark
21.5
Spain
20.3
Mexico
14.0
7.8
Prepared chicken meat 2,915.0 Thailand
62.6
China
36.8
Brazil
0.3
0.0
Fresh boneless beef 2,482.3 Australia
49.7
United States
45.8
New Zealand
2.6
1.0
Fresh or chilled pork 2,429.2 United States
53.4
Canada
43.7
Mexico
2.9
43.7
Smoking tobacco 2,295.4 Italy
86.5
South Korea
6.6
Romania
3.2
0.0
Frozen shrimp and prawns 2,170.0 Vietnam
25.8
India
20.1
Indonesia
16.9
0.0
Soybeans 2,014.3 United States
71.7
Brazil
13.7
Canada
12.9
12.9
Non-durum wheat 1,899.8 United States
52.2
Canada
28.1
Australia
18.3
28.1
Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

Japan's processed food and beverage imports were valued at Can$47.5 billion in 2017, with Canada accounting for 4.7% of that total. The United States, China, Thailand, Australia and Canada were the largest suppliers of processed food to Japan in 2017, accounting for 55.2% of the market. Japan's processed food imports increased by a CAGR of 4.8% between 2013 and 2017.

Canada's agri-food and seafood exports to Japan were valued at Can$4.6 billion in 2017. Top exports were canola, pork, non-durum wheat and soybeans. In 2017, Canada registered an agri-food and seafood trade surplus of Can$4.4 billion with Japan (Canada imported Can$143.1 million worth of agri-food and seafood from Japan in 2017).

Retail sales

Japan is the third-largest packaged food market in the world after the United States and China. However, this mature sector is seeing marginal growth, a trend that is expected to continue over the coming years. Retail sales were valued at US$174.4 billion in 2017, with a CAGR of 1.3% from 2013 to 2017. By the year 2022, retail sales are expected to reach US$192.8 billion, registering a stronger growth rate of 2.1%.

Spreads and breakfast cereals are expected to see the most significant sales growth in the packaged food sector over the 2018–2022 forecast period. The ready meals category is also expected to be among the better performers over the forecast period in terms of sales growth. Examples of popular products in this subsector are prepared foods sold at supermarkets, takeout meals sold at specialty store chain operators, and various ready-made foods sold at convenience and department stores. Growth in this category is closely linked to the rising number of women working outside of the home, the increasing frequency of single-person households and the fast-growing elderly demographic.

Packaged Food Retail Sales in Japan
Historic in US$ Millions, Fixed 2017 Exchange Rate
Category 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
Packaged food 165,954.0 168,138.7 170,836.8 172,835.4 174,441.6 1.3
Baby food 897.1 910.4 949.0 978.0 1,001.2 2.8
Baked goods 19,884.4 19,900.2 20,136.8 20,431.8 20,724.0 1.0
Breakfast cereals 445.0 546.9 689.6 754.3 800.6 15.8
Dairy 19,852.1 19,978.6 20,608.7 21,219.2 21,529.1 2.0
Edible oils 1,247.5 1,364.8 1,437.0 1,473.5 1,515.0 5.0
Processed fruit and vegetables 1,834.0 1,903.5 1,998.4 1,985.9 1,976.5 1.9
Processed meat and seafood 37,170.9 37,965.3 37,862.4 38,015.9 38,164.9 0.7
Ready meals 14,998.9 15,600.2 16,307.7 16,800.5 17,249.3 3.6
Rice, pasta and noodles 21,188.6 20,515.6 19,956.1 19,520.7 19,145.7 −2.5
Sauces, dressings and condiments 17,368.6 17,370.2 17,467.8 17,363.2 17,289.8 −0.1
Soup 1,868.9 1,897.0 1,972.1 2,027.0 2,079.0 2.7
Spreads 710.4 772.4 840.6 944.0 1,007.3 9.1
Confectionery 8,286.9 8,544.0 8,812.9 9,069.7 9,291.9 2.9
Ice cream and frozen desserts 5,279.6 5,411.5 5,719.8 6,054.0 6,156.8 3.9
Savoury snacks 10,626.8 10,873.9 11,199.8 11,259.5 11,395.9 1.8
Sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks 4,360.0 4,669.5 4,982.7 5,056.3 5,138.6 4.2

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Packaged Food Retail Sales in Japan
Forecast in US$ Millions, Fixed 2017 Exchange Rate
Category 2018[e] 2019 2020 2021 2022 CAGR* % 2018-2022
Packaged food 177,444.6 181,260.7 185,554.6 189,245.7 192,838.8 2.1
Baby food 1,029.1 1,059.8 1,091.7 1,118.8 1,144.3 2.7
Baked goods 21,165.8 21,689.4 22,258.0 22,744.4 23,211.5 2.3
Breakfast cereals 844.0 890.7 939.1 983.7 1,027.0 5.0
Dairy 22,017.8 22,607.4 23,256.7 23,830.4 24,391.7 2.6
Edible oils 1,560.3 1,611.2 1,665.8 1,714.3 1,761.2 3.1
Processed fruit and vegetables 1,985.6 2,005.4 2,031.9 2,053.1 2,074.6 1.1
Processed meat and seafood 38,632.7 39,283.6 40,043.7 40,680.7 41,305.4 1.7
Ready meals 17,815.0 18,448.4 19,125.0 19,738.0 20,339.8 3.4
Rice, pasta and noodles 19,010.1 19,020.0 19,127.0 19,212.6 19,325.0 0.4
Sauces, dressings and condiments 17,370.8 17,542.2 17,769.1 17,948.0 18,128.0 1.1
Soup 2,144.8 2,217.9 2,294.8 2,362.5 2,427.2 3.1
Spreads 1,067.9 1,129.7 1,190.8 1,244.5 1,294.0 4.9
Confectionery 9,478.9 9,748.4 10,043.9 10,325.8 10,598.7 2.8
Ice cream and frozen desserts 6,253.4 6,406.2 6,578.8 6,746.7 6,912.7 2.5
Savoury snacks 11,559.4 11,830.3 12,137.2 12,431.4 12,718.5 2.4
Sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks 5,218.5 5,354.2 5,509.4 5,661.8 5,813.6 2.7

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

e: Estimated

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Packaged health and wellness food products

The health and wellness sector grew by a CAGR of 1.8% from 2013 to 2017 and is expected to grow by a CAGR of 3.2% over the 2018–2022 period. The large aging senior demographic will have a positive effect on this sector as well as the overall health consciousness of the average Japanese consumer.

Free-from products and fortified/functional foods showed the largest growth in the 2013–2017 period. Free-from and naturally healthy products will lead the way over the next five years.

Packaged Health and Wellness Food Product Retail Sales in Japan
Historic in US$ Millions, Fixed 2017 Exchange Rate
Category 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
Health and wellness by type 47,166.1 47,288.2 48,268.3 49,638.1 50,688.7 1.8
Better for you (BFY) 4,911.2 4,834.2 4,848.6 4,810.3 4,908.9 0.0
Fortified/functional (FF) 16,747.6 16,788.9 17,184.8 17,960.1 18,199.7 2.1
Free from 623.6 675.7 725.7 750.2 783.3 5.9
Naturally healthy (NH) 24,306.9 24,406.9 24,920.7 25,524.5 26,199.4 1.9
Organic 576.8 582.6 588.5 592.9 597.4 0.9

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

e: Estimated

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Packaged Health and Wellness Food Product Retail Sales in Japan
Forecast in US$ Millions, Fixed 2017 Exchange Rate
Category 2018[e] 2019 2020 2021 2022 CAGR* % 2018-2022
Health and wellness by type 52,134.0 53,830.6 55,704.6 57,450.0 59,199.3 3.2
Better for you (BFY) 5,006.7 5,090.0 5,195.2 5,288.0 5,384.2 1.8
Fortified/functional (FF) 18,614.0 19,157.4 19,801.3 20,436.3 21,113.1 3.2
Free from 821.3 861.8 903.5 941.2 977.4 4.4
Naturally healthy (NH) 27,085.7 28,103.5 29,173.8 30,143.0 31,072.8 3.5
Organic 606.4 617.9 630.8 641.4 651.8 1.8

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

e: Estimated

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Opportunities for Canada

On March 8, 2018, Canada signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 10 countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. CPTPP represents a significant step toward closer trade and investment between Canada and Japan. Significant gains are possible for Canadian producers, who could gain market share in economies such as Japan. The CPTPP provides Canada with greater market access to CPTPP countries with the same level of tariff as major regional competitors like Australia and New Zealand for key sectors, including beef, pork, seafood, cereal and many others. Access Tariff schedule of Japan (HS2012) (PDF) to obtain more information on specific Japanese tariff reductions under this agreement.

FOODEX Japan is the largest food and beverage show in Asia, and is an important annual event for Canadian exporters as it brings in key buyers from Japan and Asia. The 2017 show attracted 3,250 exhibitors from 78 countries and regions and 77,000 professional visitors.

FOODEX is a flag-ship trade show, which means there will be a Canadian pavilion and potential financial booth-space support available for eligible Canadian companies. Please visit the Canada Pavilion Program page for more details and for contact details at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to register and obtain additional information on the Canadian government's role.

For more information

International Trade Commissioners can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions and local business contacts, and are an excellent point of contact for export advice.

For additional intelligence on this and other markets, the complete library of Global Analysis reports can be found on the International agri-food market intelligence page, arranged by region.

For additional information on FOODEX Japan 2019, please contact:

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

Resources

Market Overview – Japan
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: Karen Guilbault, Data Analyst
Hongli Wang, Market Analyst

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2018).

Photo credits
All photographs reproduced in this publication are used by permission of the rights holders.
All images, unless otherwise noted, are copyright Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada.

To join our distribution list or to suggest additional report topics or markets, please contact:

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Global Analysis
1341 Baseline Road, Tower 5, 3rd floor
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada, K1A 0C5
Email: aafc.mas-sam.aac@canada.ca

The Government of Canada has prepared this report based on primary and secondary sources of information. Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) assumes no liability for any actions taken based on the information contained herein.

Reproduction or redistribution of this document, in whole or in part, must include acknowledgement of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as the owner of the copyright in the document, through a reference citing AAFC, the title of the document and the year. Where the reproduction or redistribution includes data from this document, it must also include an acknowledgement of the specific data source(s), as noted in this document.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada provides this document and other report services to agriculture and food industry clients free of charge.

Report a problem on this page
Please select all that apply:
Date modified: