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Commodity Innovation Series – Snapshot of opportunities in Japan’s mustard seeds sector

For over fifteen years, Canada has consistently been Japan’s largest supplier of mustard seeds, responsible for 89% of its imports in 2016.

Market trends

  • Although this report discusses mustard seeds as a whole, it should be noted that the mustard seeds varieties that Canada exports to Japan are mostly processed into karashi and used as condiment for dishes such as natto, tonkatsu, oden. Karashi is a traditional preparation used as a condiment or as a seasoning in Japanese cuisine. Canada is a dominant supplier of varieties used in karashi preparation, since there is almost no domestic production of these varieties.
  • Mustard seeds in Japan are used as ingredients in a variety of products, such as baked goods, seasonings or snacks.
  • Table sauces made up 31% of the sauces, dressings and condiments category, achieving US$ 5,378 million retail sales in 2017. This figure has been growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.1% from 2013 to 2017.
  • The health and wellness sauces, dressings and condiments are also gaining in popularity in Japan. Retail sales in that category have increased at a CAGR of 3% from 2013 to 2017, recording a total of US$ 141 millions in 2017.
  • The bread subcategory accounted for 18% of the baked goods category, achieving US$ 3,627 million retail sales in 2017. This figure has been growing at a CAGR of 0.9% from 2013 to 2017.

Mustard seeds trade

Mustard seeds in bulk - 2016

World’s top ten importers of mustard seeds
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Country C$ Millions
United States 71
Germany 48
France 34
Belgium 13
Netherlands 12
Venezuela 8
Poland 7
Japan 6
United Kingdom 6
Denmark 5
Japanese mustard seed imports, by supplying country
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Country %
Canada 89.4%
Hungary 6.2%
United States 1.7%
France 1.0%
Others 1.7%

Mustard seeds used as an ingredient

There is a growing emphasis on products that claim to be free of genetically-modified organisms (GMO)

Top growing claims

  1. GMO-free
  2. No additives/preservatives
  3. Microweavable

Top declining claims

  1. Social media
  2. Premium
  3. Ethical: environmentally-friendly package

New packaging made up 11% of product launches containing mustard seeds

Top package types

  1. Flexible
  2. Tube
  3. Tray

Top package materials

  1. Plastic polypropylene
  2. Plastic unspecified
  3. Metallised film
Number of products containing mustard seeds launched in Japan – Top five companies and their top brand
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Company Number of products Top brand
Yamazaki Baking 33 Yamazaki Best Selection
S&B Foods 30 S&B Honnama
Seven & i Holdings 27 Seven & i Premium
Aeon 23 Topvalu
Ministop 21 Honoka Original Bread

Examples of products containing mustard seeds launched in Japan

Seven & i Holdings

Sep 2015

Sauteed Chicken with Honey Mustard Sauce

S&B Foods

Mar 2017

Japanese Style Mustard

First Baking

Jun 2016

Wasabi & Beef Bread

Circle K Sunkus

May 2015

Mustard Mayonnaise Sauce Double Teriaky Burger

S&B Foods

Apr 2015

Pickles Seasoning

Yamazaki Nabisco

Sep 2014

Bacon & Mustard Flavour Potato Snack

Top innovative markets for mustad seeds in Asia

Japan ranks sixth in the Asia-Pacific for innovation in the launch of products containing mustard seeds.

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Innovation Criteria India New Zealand Australia South Korea China Japan Taiwan Indonesia Sri Lanka Thailand
Relaunch Fair Fair Fair Low Fair Fair Low Fair Low Good
New product Very good Excellent Very good Excellent Excellent Very good Excellent Very good Excellent Good
Product line diversity Very good Good Good Fair Good Good Fair Fair Fair Fair
Health & wellness claims Very good Very good Good Good Fair Fair Good Fair Good Fair
Rating scale: Excellent (20-17), Very good (16-13), Good (12-9), Fair (8-5), Low (4-0)

Factors of consideration

Recommendations for entry

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