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Sector Trend Analysis – Fish and seafood trends in Japan

July 2020

Executive summary

Japan was the third largest market for fish and seafood in the world with imports valued at US$15.6 billion and 2.5 million tonnes in 2019. Canada was the fifteenth largest market in fish and seafood, accounting for 2.1% of the total world market share in 2019 (representing US$3.3 billion and 0.5 million tonnes.

Japan remains one of the largest consumers of fish and seafood products. Over 90% of Japan's domestic production is consumed domestically.

Canada was Japan's twelfth largest supplier of fish and seafood in 2019. Top fish and seafood imports from Canada were frozen crabs (US$131.7 million, 5.4 tonnes), frozen cold-water shrimp and prawns (US$59.7 million, 5.3 tonnes) and frozen lobsters (US$30.6 million, 1.2 tonnes) in 2019.

Japanese consumers are health conscious and seeking conveniently packaged, processed seafood products. The Japanese food and beverage market continues to focus on functional, healthy and nutritious products. One increasing area of new demand is for innovative approaches to high-nutrient foods for the elderly and aging population.

One influential consumer segment is thought to be the senior population (those 60 and older) who grew up consuming fish and place the safety of food products over quality and price in their selection of products. Further, children whose mothers incorporate fish and seafood into their children's' diets are likely to continue to consume fish and seafood in adulthood.

Japan's retail sales (off-trade) of total fish and seafood were valued at US$8.8 billion in 2019 and are expected to slightly increase 0.5% to US$9.1 billion by 2024.

Introduction

Japan, is an island nation with mountainous landscapes and restricted agricultural land and has historically used the sea as its major source for food and primary source of animal protein for centuries.Footnote 1 Japan remains one of the largest consumers of fish and seafood products. Over 90% of Japan's domestic production is consumed domestically. Footnote 2

The consumption of fish and seafood as a protein source has not only been inherent to Japanese culture and cuisine but has been increasingly growing in popularity globally. Demand for seafood is rising as fish production is more efficient than pork and beef because they require fewer inputs and create less environmental impact, such as fewer greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural land and freshwater use, to yield the same amount of protein.Footnote 3 In addition, the increasing demand for seafood is anticipated to continue, posing greater ecological risks. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nation estimates that more than 80% of the world's fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or recovering.Footnote 4

Japan's fishing industry has not been immune to the exploitation of global fish stocks. Japan's catches, excluding pelagic fishery (pelagic fish-fish found near the ocean surface or in middle depths), have been declining over the past two decades as sustainability of resources was not paramount as Government policy encouraged the growth of Japan's fishing industry as a means to alleviate food shortages after WW2 and to increase profit within the industry.Footnote 5

Marine capture fisheries and aquaculture are the most significant contributors to domestic production accounting for more than 98% of the total average.Footnote 5 According to the Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), around half of the seafood in Japan is processed and consumed salted, dried, smoked, as fish paste, or canned. The seafood processing industry has become increasingly important as consumer's preferences for more easy to use processed products has increased.Footnote 6

Japan's global imports of fish and seafood have increased by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.1% as imports increased from US$13.8 billion in 2015 to US$15.6 billion in 2019, while volumes of global imports have declined −0.2% during the same period. Of note, Japan's imports of fish and seafood from Canada have increased in value by a growth rate of 1.6% and in volume by a growth rate of 0.3% from 2015 to 2019.

Japan's per capita consumption levels of fish and seafood (kgs) have declined −0.7% historically and is forecast to further decline by −0.4%. Alternatively, per capita expenditure on fish and seafood (US$) increased by a CAGR of 0.5% historically and is forecast to increase by a CAGR 1.2% by 2023. Retail sales of fish and seafood were valued at US$8.8 billion in 2019 are expected to increase by 0.5% to US$9.1 billion by 2024, while volume of retail sales have declined by −0.9% from 2019 to 2019 and are forecast to decline a further −0.7% by 2024. Foodservice sales of fish and seafood in Japan are similarly expected to increase 1.3% from US$11.3 billion in 2019 to US$11.9 billion by 2023.

Japan's population is expected to decline from 125.8 million in 2019 to 123.8 million by 2023. The contracting population is attributed to a low fertility rate and stringent immigration laws. The result is a rapidly growing aging population with Japan attaining one of the highest proportions of elderly people in the world.Footnote 7 Despite the rapidly aging and declining population, and recent declines in global import volume, per capita consumption levels and retail volume sales, the Japanese fish and seafood production industry is expected to maintain growing sales due to the nutritional value and health benefits associated with fish and seafood consumption in addition to the convenience, taste and innovation offered through fish and seafood processed and value-added products.

Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow from US$5.1 trillion in 2019 to US$6.0 trillion by 2023, making Japan the third largest economy in the world in 2019, behind the United States (U.S.) and China. Economic growth is expected to continue as rising domestic consumption, stronger private capital expenditure within the financial and service sectors and an increase in private inventory investment in raw materials like oil, in addition to a vibrant tourism industry contribute to support growth. Household consumption will strengthen in the short term with a corresponding expected rise in wages and growth in employment levels in response to expanding global demand for Japanese goods. Recent support (2016-2018) by the Japanese government in developing participation of women in the workforce by pledging to foster the education of 50,000 female students further is expected to encourage further economic growth.Footnote 7

Trade overview

Japan was the third largest market for fish and seafood in the world with imports valued at US$15.6 billion and 2.5 million tonnes in 2019. Japan experienced a CAGR of 3.1% as imports increased from US$13.8 billion in 2015, however, volume of imports declined by −0.2% from 2015. Canada was the fifteenth largest market in fish and seafood, accounting for 2.1% of the total world market share in 2019 (representing US$3.3 billion and 0.5 million tonnes.

Top ten global fish and seafood markets, in US$ millions, historical
Country 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019 Market share % 2019
World total 129,701.3 137,176.0 149,547.7 158,414.4 154,134.3 4.4 100.0
United States 20,054.9 20,776.1 22,965.0 23,992.4 23,522.0 4.1 15.3
China 8,773.4 9,122.3 11,110.5 14,745.2 18,413.6 20.4 11.9
Japan 13,799.2 14,282.8 15,427.4 15,771.9 15,562.7 3.1 10.1
Spain 6,503.0 7,178.5 8,065.3 8,655.7 8,104.6 5.7 5.3
France 5,942.8 6.356.7 6,905.1 7,145.2 6,784.0 3.4 4.4
Italy 5,575.5 6,198.4 6,621.6 7,113.8 6,038.9[a] 8.5 3.9
Germany 5,278.2 5,752.3 5,905.6 6,172.2 5,848.2 2.6 3.8
Korea 4,451.5 4,728.2 5,210.7 6,060.3 5,717.9 6.5 3.7
Sweden 4,414.4 5,187.3 4,952.3 5,630.1 5,221.5 4.3 3.4
United Kingdom 4,326.2 4,420.0 4,362.0 4,540.9 4,718.7 2.2 3.1
Canada (15) 2,755.7 2,881.6 3,019.4 3,085.1 3,256.6 4.3 2.1

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

b: Italy data available to November 2019

Top ten global fish and seafood markets, volume measured in million tonnes, historical
Country 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019 Market share % 2019
World total 35.8 37.2 38.1 308.6 37.4 1.1 100.0
China 4.1 4.0 4.9 5.2 6.3 11.3 16.7
United States 2.7 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.8 1.5 7.6
Japan 2.5 2.4 2.5 2.4 2.5 −0.2 6.6
Thailand 1.6 1.9 1.9 2.1 2.0 6.0 5.5
Spain 1.7 1.7 1.8 1.8 1.8 2.1 4.9
Korea 1.4 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.5 2.1 4.1
Denmark 1.4 1.5 1.4 1.4 1.3 −0.8 3.6
France 1.1 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.5 3.3
Germany 1.2 1.3 1.2 1.2 1.2 −1.6 3.1
Italy 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.0[a] −1.2 2.8
Canada (17) 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 1.6 1.5

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

a: Italy data available to November 2019

Japan has a diverse supply network of fish and seafood products. The top three suppliers of fish and seafood to Japan were China (US$2.9 billion, 0.5 million tonnes), Chile (US$1.5 billion, 0.2 million tonnes and the US (US$1.2 billion and 0.3 million tonnes) in 2019. Canada was Japan's twelfth largest supplier of fish and seafood providing US$434.4 million and 0.4 million tonnes in 2019.

Top ten global suppliers of fish and seafood to Japan, in US$ millions, historical
Country 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019 Market share % 2019
World total 13,799.2 14,282.8 15,427.4 15,771.9 15,562.7 3.1 100.0
China 2,487.1 2,620.8 2,799.3 2,909.6 2,865.7 3.6 18.4
Chile 1,134.1 1,079.4 1,392.3 1,379.5 1,492.3 7.1 9.6
United States 1,324.7 1,261.1 1,477.2 1,412.0 1,223.6 −2.0 7.9
Russia 882.2 1,034.3 1,114.7 1,269.6 1,116.6 6.1 7.2
Viet-Nam 889.6 880.9 1,059.7 1,038.7 1,086.2 5.1 7.0
Thailand 993.3 977.0 981.5 1,032.8 1,031.7 1.0 6.6
Norway 835.2 958.8 938.6 959.1 994.6 4.5 6.4
Indonesia 658.0 661.8 707.9 704.7 675.6 0.7 4.3
Korea 669.8 735.5 761.2 708.3 671.5 0.1 4.3
Taiwan 477.8 532.2 572.5 543.8 481.1 0.2 3.1
Canada (12) 407.1 431.2 465.5 413.5 434.4 1.6 2.8

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Top ten global suppliers of fish and seafood to Japan, volume measured in million tonnes, historical
Country 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019 Market share % 2019
World total 2.5 2.4 2.5 2.4 2.5 −0.2 100.0
China 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 2.7 20.0
United States 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 −3.5 11.3
Chile 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.5 8.5
Norway 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 −2.4 7.0
Thailand 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.2 −1.5 7.0
Viet-Nam 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 2.6 6.1
Russia 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 −1.4 4.8
Peru 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 27.5 4.40.1
Indonesia 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 1.6 4.4
Korea 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 −3.1 3.8
Canada (13) 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 1.6

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Japan's total fish and seafood global imports grew by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.1% as imports increased from US$13.8 billion in 2015 to US$15.6 billion in 2019. Top imported fish and seafood products to Japan were frozen shrimp and prawns valued at US$1.4 billion, 0.1 million tonnes, followed by frozen tuna fillets US$808.6 million, 0.1 million tonnes and frozen Pacific salmon valued at US$720.4 million, 0.1 million tonnes in 2019.

Top ten fish and seafood imports to Japan by product, in US$ millions, historical
HS code Description 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019
Total 13,799.2 14,282.8 15,427.4 15,771.9 15,562.7 3.1
030617 Frozen shrimp and prawns 1,464.9 1,568.7 1,680.3 1,497.7 1,444.5 −0.3
030487 Frozen tuna fillets 637.9 605.6 702.8 798.9 808.6 6.1
030312 Frozen Pacific salmon 479.5 463.5 601.7 648.9 720.4 10.7
160521 Shrimp and prawns, prepared or preserved 643.2 629.2 658.4 678.9 676.6 1.3
030489 Frozen fish fillets, n.e.s.[1] 494.4 511.5 531.0 551.4 590.2 4.5
030743 Cuttle fish and squid, frozen 0.0 0.0 692.4 633.6 585.4 −8.1
030614 Frozen crab 484.6 573.1 502.6 526.5 574.0 4.3
030499 Frozen fish meat n.e.s.[1] 520.9 514.3 486.4 523.3 548.3 1.3
160419 Fish, prepared or preserved, whole or in pieces 448.0 445.9 444.8 497.2 503.6 3.0
030391 Frozen fish livers 0.0 0.0 586.4 597.4 450.7 −12.3 (2017-2019)

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

1: Not elsewhere specified

Top ten fish and seafood imports to Japan by product, volume measured in million tonnes, historical
HS code Description 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019
Total 2.5 2.4 2.5 2.4 2.5 −0.2
230120 Fish or crustacean unfit for human consumption 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 −1.2
030617 Frozen shrimp and prawns 0.1 0.1 0..2 0.1 0.1 0.9
030499 Frozen fish meat n.e.s.[1] 0.1

0.1

0.1 0.1 0.1 −1.6
030312 Frozen Pacific salmon 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 3.0
030489 Frozen fish fillets, n.e.s.[1] 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 1.4
030494 Frozen Alaska Pollack 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 −2.3
030743 Cuttle fish and squid, frozen 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 −8.0 (2017-2019)
160419 Fish, prepared or preserved, whole or in pieces 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.9
030389 Frozen fish, n.e.s.[1] 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 −11.1
051191 Products of fish or crustacean unfit for human consumption 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 16.9

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

1: Not elsewhere specified

Top five global fish and seafood suppliers by top three products to Japan, in US$ millions, historical

China
HS code Description 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019
Total 2,487.1 2,620.8 2,799.3 2,909.6 2,865.7 3.6
160419 Fish, prepared or preserved 355.6 355.9 357.3 386.2 385.5 2.0
160417 Eels, prepared or preserved 297.4 275.2 290.9 324.8 313.1 1.3
030743 Cuttle fish and squid 0.0 0.0 296.7 291.3 266.4 −5.3

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Chile
HS code Description 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019
Total 1,134.1 1,079.4 1,392.3 1,379.5 1,492.3 7.1
030312 Frozen Pacific salmon 441.2 432.9 541.3 605.8 684.2 11.6
030482 Frozen trout fillets 233.4 215.5 275.3 232.3 267.6 3.5
030481 Frozen pacific salmon fillets 146.2 137.3 244.8 226.8 222.0 11.0

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

United States
HS code Description 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019
Total 1,324.7 1,261.1 1,477.2 1,412.0 1,223.6 −1.9
030494 Frozen Alaska Pollack 323.9 295.3 328.4 351.1 360.7 2.7
030391 Frozen fish livers 0.0 0.0 281.9 224.1 197.4 −16.3
030389 Frozen fish, n.e.s.[1] 188.9 199.7 239.9 205.6 158.6 −4.3

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

1: Not elsewhere specified

Russia
HS code Description 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019
Total 882.2 1,034.3 1,114.7 1,269.6 1,116.6 6.1
030614 Frozen crabs 200.3 294.1 261.5 322.1 338.2 14.0
030391 Frozen fish livers 0.0 0.0 268.7 343.8 230.6 −7.4
030311 Frozen Sockeye salmon 146.6 148.5 162.7 183.3 139.8 −1.2

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Vietnam
HS code Description 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019
Total 889.6 880.9 1,059.7 1,038.7 1,086.2 5.1
030617 Frozen shrimp and prawns 360.9 350.1 431.3 362.9 342.0 −1.3
160521 Shrimp and prawns, prepared or preserved 207.6 210.6 228.1 235.7 242.0 3.9
030743 Cuttle fish and squid 0.0. 0.0 67.5 56.9 58.3 −7.1

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Canada's performance

Canada was Japan's twelfth largest supplier of fish and seafood in 2019. Japan imported US$434.4 million of fish and seafood from Canada in 2019, representing a 1.6% increase of fish and seafood imports from US$407.1 million registered in 2015. Volume of fish and seafood imports from Canada increased 0.3% from 39,225 tonnes in 2015 to 39,628 tonnes in 2019.Top fish and seafood imports from Canada were frozen crabs (US$131.7 million, 5.4 tonnes), frozen cold-water shrimp and prawns (US$59.7 million, 5.3 tonnes) and frozen lobsters (US$30.6 million, 1.2 tonnes) in 2019.

Japan's top 3 fish and seafood imports from Canada by product, in US$ millions, historical
HS code Description 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019
Total 407.1 431.2 465.5 413.5 434.4 1.6
030614 Frozen crab 118.8 102.2 145.4 110.8 131.7 2.6
030616 Frozen cold-water shrimp and prawns 65.6 69.9 61.4 58.1 59.7 −2.3
030612 Frozen lobster 24.8 33.9 28.5 19.9 30.6 5.3

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Japan's top 3 fish and seafood imports from Canada by product, volume measured in tonnes, historical
HS code Description 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019
Total 39.2 38.2 41.1 35.4 39.6 0.3
030614 Frozen crab 7.9 5.8 7.8 4.9 5.4 −9.1
030616 Frozen cold-water shrimp and prawns 5.4 5.8 5.2 4.6 5.3 −0.5
030612 Frozen lobster 1.4 1.5 1.3 0.9 1.2 −3.8

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Consumer trends

Japanese consumers are perceived as among the world's most demanding consumers with regard to product quality and freshness. The demand for quality and freshness, frequent transportation and complex distribution structures consequently made Japanese consumers tolerate relatively high prices for seafood. The willingness to pay for quality and freshness were the guiding principles of the Japanese consumer however; the economic slowdown has led some consumers to seek lower prices and quality products, especially amongst the younger generation.Footnote 8

Japanese consumers are generally health conscious. The Japanese food and beverage market continues to focus on functional, healthy and nutritious products. One increasing area of new demand is for innovative approaches to high-nutrient foods for the elderly and aging population.

The consumption of fish and seafood in Japan is higher among females (50.5%) than males (49.5%), upper secondary educated (32.9%) and those living in urban (99.5%0 versus rural (0.5%) dwellings, according to GlobalDataFootnote 9

One influential consumer segment is thought to be the senior population (those 60 and older) who grew up consuming fish and place the safety of food products over quality and price in their selection off product. Further, children whose mothers incorporate fish and seafood into their children's' diets are likely to continue to consume fish and seafood in adulthood. In addition, those opting to live alone, in conjunction with the greater participation of women in the workforce, is expected to increase the demand for traditional diet, with less meat and more vegetables, fruit and fish and who seek convenience of consumption are expected to help lead the demand for fish and seafood products.Footnote 10 Although the impact of both an aging and decreasing population creates concerns in relation to food demand, overall demand remains strong and the Japanese market continues to provide opportunities for exporters.Footnote 11

Japanese consumption of fish and seafood is predicated on seasons and seasonal trends. Japanese consumers are highly sensitive to seasonal changes, originating from one of the key concepts in Japanese cuisine, shun, describes when seasonal food is at its best and should be consumed.Footnote 6 As seasons change, so do the choice of fish and one of the strong points of eating fish is to 'feel a sense of seasons'.

In addition to seasonal trends, Japanese consumption of fish and seafood is also based on social events and major holidays, when prices and quantities for some seafood products increase. Furthermore, periodic gift-giving throughout the year is a tradition in Japan; with two occasions being ochugenor middle of the year and oseibo, or at year's end when a box of salted herring roe or salmon are popular choices.Footnote 6

Initiatives by the Japanese government have also served to increase domestic consumption of fish and seafood through its recent promotion of tourism, leading up to the upcoming summer 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games are anticipated

Market size

The total per capita expenditure on fish and seafood by segment in Japan increased slightly (0.5%) from US$69.6 in 2016 to US$70.6 (e) in 2019 and in the forecast period, per capita expenditure on fish and seafood is expected to increase 1.2% from US$71.4 in 2020 to US$74.1 by 2023.

The chilled, raw packaged fish & seafood - processed (US$20.9), shelf stable fish and seafood (US$18.8) and chilled, raw packaged fish and seafood - whole cuts (US$14.6) segments attained the largest per capita expenditure in fish and seafood in 2019 (e) and are expected to remain the largest segments in the forecast period. These segments indicate a general preference shown by Japanese consumers for chilled, and shelf stable, fish and seafood over fresh, dried and frozen fish and seafood. Fresh fish and seafood (counter) remain the more popular segment recorded in the historic (US$10.7 / US$10.8) and forecast period (US$10.9 / US$11.3) in comparison to dried fish and seafood and frozen processed and whole cuts fish and seafood segments (US$ 5.4 average historically/forecast) in terms of what consumers are purchasing on a per capita basis.

Alternatively, the total per capita consumption of fish and seafood measured in kgs has decreased slightly by −0.7% from 2016 to 2019 and is expected to continue to decline in the forecast period by −0.4%, indicating that the price per kg will rise in both periods. In comparison, the Japanese per capita consumption of fish and seafood (9.4 kg in 2017) remained higher than global levels of 5.4 kg recorded in 2017, according to GlobalData.Footnote 12 According to Euromonitor International, fish and seafood continued to decline in total volume terms in 2019, reflecting an ongoing trend which has been impacting the category for almost two decades. The consumption of fish and seafood has been declining, especially among the younger generation.Footnote 13 The younger generations lack of knowledge and skills to cook seafood as well as the ongoing internationalization of the traditional Japanese diet have contributed to consumption decline.

Per capita expenditure by segment (US$) and per capita consumption (kgs) on fish and seafood (off-trade retail sales ) in Japan, historic and forecast
Category 2016 2019[e] CAGR* % 2016-2019 2020 2023 CAGR* % 2020-2023
Total per capita expenditure on fish and seafood (US$) 69.6 70.6 0.5 71.4 74.1 1.2
Shelf stable fish and seafood 18.4 18.8 0.7 19.1 19.9 1.4
Chilled raw packaged fish and seafood - processed 20.7 20.9 0.3 21.2 21.9 1.1
Chilled raw packaged fish and seafood - whole cuts 14.5 14.6 0.2 14.8 15.3 1.1
Dried fish and seafood 3.3 3.4 1.0 3.4 3.5 1.0
Fresh fish and seafood (counter)[1] 10.7 10.8 0.3 10.9 11.3 1.2
Frozen processed fish 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.2 0.2 0.0
Frozen whole cuts of fish and seafood 1.8 1.9 1.8 1.9 1.9 0.0
Per capita consumption on fish and seafood (kgs) 9.5 9.3 −0.7 9.3 9.2 −0.4

Source: GlobalData Market Data 2020

e: estimate

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

1: Counter - fresh fish and seafood, whether whole pieces or whole cuts, sold over fishmongers' counters in retailers.

Retail sales

Japan's retail sales (off-trade) of total fish and seafood remained stable from 2015 to 2019 (0.2%) as retail sales were valued at US$8.8 billion, 1,172.9 million kgs in 2019 and are expected to slightly increase 0.5% to US$9.1 billion 1,129.1 million kgs by 2024. Volume for fish and seafood retail sales have decreased −0.9% historically and is forecast to decline by −0.7% by 2024.

As evidenced within total capita expenditure and consumption of fish and seafood in Japan (prior chart), cumulative retail sales in 2019 indicate that Japanese consumers prefer chilled fish and seafood - processed, shelf stable fish and seafood and chilled fish and seafood- whole cuts (US$6.8 billion) or 77.1% of 2019 market share, over fresh, dried and frozen fish and seafood (US$2.0 billion), as the chilled and shelf stable segment attained the largest retail sales recorded in both the historic and forecast periods. Subsequently, retail sales in 2019, further demonstrate that Japanese consumers show a preference for fresh fish and seafood (counter) (US$1.3 billion) over dried and frozen - processed and whole cuts- (US$669.5 million) of fish and seafood, a preference that is expected to continue within the forecast period.

Retail sales (off-trade) of fish and seafood by segment in Japan, US$ millions, 2018 fixed exchange rate, historic and forecast
Segment 2015 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019 2020 2024 CAGR* % 2020-2024
Total fish and seafood 8,715.2 8,798.2 0.2 8,872.9 9,063.5 0.5
Shelf stable fish and seafood 2,298.2 2,344.6 0.5 2,370. 2,439.9 0.7
Chilled raw packaged fish and seafood - processed 2,601.0 2,614.4 0.1 2,633.7 2,681.1 0.4
Chilled raw packaged fish and seafood - whole cuts 1,812.9 1,824.2 0.2 1,838.1 1,873.0 0.5
Dried fish and seafood 414.5 416.8 0.1 420.0 427.8 0.5
Fresh fish and seafood (counter) 1,334.7 1,342.2 0.1 1,352.2 1,378.3 0.5
Frozen processed fish 24.3 24.7 0.4 24.9 25.6 0.7
Frozen whole cuts of fish and seafood 229.4 231.4 0.2 233.3 237.7 0.5

Source: Global Data, Market Data-Segment Insights 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Retail sales (off-trade) of fish and seafood in Japan, volume measured in million kilograms, historic and forecast
Segment 2015 2019 CAGR* % 2015-2019 2020 2024 CAGR* % 2020-2024
Total fish and seafood 1,216.7 1,172.9 −0.9 1,163.4 1,129.1 −0.7
Shelf stable fish and seafood 176.4 172.4 −0.6 171.4 167.5 −0.6
Chilled raw packaged fish and seafood - processed 356.2 341.9 −1.0 338.8 328.1 −0.8
Chilled raw packaged fish and seafood - whole cuts 268.3 258.7 −0.9 256.6 249.0 −0.7
Dried fish and seafood 53.2 51.3 −0.9 50.9 49.3 −0.8
Fresh fish and seafood (counter) 318.7 306.3 −1.0 303.6 294.2 −0.8
Frozen processed fish 3.9 3.8 −0.6 3.8 3.7 −0.7
Frozen whole cuts of fish and seafood 40.0 38.7 −0.8 38.4 37.3 −0.7

Source: Global Data, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Competitive landscape

The fish and seafood retail market in Japan was dominated by brand labels (94.5%) in comparison to private labels, which represented 5.5% of the market share in 2018. Both labels (brand and private) represented a 0.1% growth rate in retail sales from US$8,703.8 million in 2014 to US$8,747.4 million in 2018. Hagoromo (8.5%), Nissui (8.3%), Maruha (2.3%) and Daiichi (1.3%), were the top brands according to market share in 2018, while 'others' represented a 74.1% market share in 2018. Hagoromo also had the largest growth (4.1%) in retail sales from US$633.3 million attained in 2014 to US$744.5 million in 2018.

Top fish and seafood companies in Japan by historic retail sales, in US$ millions, 2018 fixed exchange rate and market share %
Company 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018 Market share % 2018
Total 8,703.8 8,715.2 8,725.6 8,732.3 8,747.4 0.1 100.0
Others 6,633.0 6,595.8 6,557.5 6,517.4 6,480.5 −0.6 74.1
Hagoromo (Hagoromo Foods Corporation) 633.3 660.8 688.5 715.2 744.5 4.1 8.5
Nissui (Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd.) 704.4 708.9 713.4 717.8 722.6 0.6 8.3
Private Label 422.4 437.4 452.5 467.0 483.0 3.4 5.5
Maruha (Maruha Nichiro Corporation) 196.3 197.7 199.1 200.2 201.9 0.7 2.3
Daiichi (Daiichi Suisan Co., Ltd.) 114.4 114.5 114.6 114.8 114.9 0.1 1.3

Source: Global Data, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Hypermarkets and supermarkets (78.8%) are the primary distribution channels of fish and seafood in Japan. The two major national supermarket retailers in Japan are AEON and Ito Yokado.Footnote 14 Strong price competition, innovation and expansion of these two chains over the last decade, has allowed the market to demand lower prices.Footnote 15 A characteristic inherent to Japan's retail channels are the large number of regional supermarkets that are less known, but able to offer local specialties and reflect local cultural preference. The supermarket chain SuperTamade for example, in Osaka offers the lowest prices to the young and vibrant Osaka people known to be economically frugal.Footnote 15 Convenience stores (7.7%) and department stores (6.4%) represent other distribution channels for fish and seafood in Japan.

Top distribution channels of fish and seafood in Japan by historic retail sales, in US$ millions,2018 fixed exchange rate and market share %
Distribution channel 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 CAGR* % 2014-2018 Market share % 2018
Total 8,703.8 8,715.2 8,725.6 8,732.3 8,747.4 0.1 100.0
Hypermarkets and supermarkets 6,733.8 6,784.3 6,820.6 6,853.3 6,891.0 0.6 78.8
Convenience stores 693.2 688.9 684.0 678.7 674.2 −0.7 7.7
Department stores 516.5 529.8 540.8 551.8 562.8 2.2 6.4
Food and drinks specialists 577.5 545.9 515.8 485.3 455.2 −5.8 5.2
Others 148.8 131.8 129.6 127.8 128.5 −3.6 1.5
Cash and carries and warehouse clubs 34.0 34.5 34.9 35.3 35.7 1.2 0.4

Source: Global Data, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

Foodservice

Sale values of fish and seafood within Japan's food service industry have experienced a 1.9% growth from US$10.7 billion in 2016 to US$11.3 billion in 2019. Growth in sales value is forecast to increase, albeit at the lower rate of 1.3%, as sales are expected to attain US$11.9 billion by 2023.

Restaurants are Japan's largest subsector with sale values of fish and seafood of US$8.6 billion in 2019, and a CAGR of 1.8% from value sales of US$8.1 billion in 2016. The restaurant subsector will continue to increase by 1.2% in the forecast period as sale values are expected to reach US$9.0 billion by 2023. Kaiten sushi or the 'sushi conveyor belt' restaurants has helped to prevent a further decline of seafood consumption in particular among the younger generations. Unlike traditional sushi restaurants, kaiten sushi actively promotes new types of fish or new ways of serving sushi to attract consumers and boost sales.Footnote 16 Accommodation was Japan's second largest subsector with sale values of US$989.7 million in 2019, followed by retail (US$676.3 million), pub, club and bars (US$571.9 million) and workplace (US$275.7 million). The workplace subsector had the largest CAGR of 2.7% generated between 2016 to 2019 and is expected to experience the largest CAGR of 1.9% in the forecast period. All subsectors reached measurable growth within the 2016 to 2019 period and are expected to maintain these growth levels, at slightly lower rates, in the forecast period.

Sales value of Japan's foodservice of fish and seafood, by subsector, in US$ millions,2018 fixed exchange rate, historic and forecast
Subsector 2016 2019 CAGR* % 2016-2019 2020 2023 CAGR* % 2020-2023
Total fish and seafood 10,672.2 11,289.3 1.9 11,483.7 11,938.4 1.3
Restaurant 8,122.9 8,575.2 1.8 8,717.0 9,047.7 1.2
Accommodation 933.5 989.7 2.0 1,009.6 1,053.6 1.4
Retail 630.7 676.3 2.4 690.2 724.2 1.6
Pub, club and bar 543.1 571.9 1.7 580.0 600.1 1.1
Workplace 254.4 275.7 2.7 282.5 298.8 1.9
Leisure 123.3 131.8 2.3 134.4 140.7 1.5
Travel 60.5 64.7 2.3 66.0 69.1 1.5
Mobile operator 3.8 4.0 1.7 4.0 4.2 1.1

Source: Global Data, Foodservice, 2020

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth Rate

New product launch analysis

According to Mintel's Global New Products Database (GNPD), there were 317 fish and fish products (as an ingredient) launched as food products in Japan between January 2015 and December 2019.

In terms of new products launches containing fish and fish products as an ingredient, identified according to 2019 attributes, 2018 and 2019 had the highest product launches, 104 and 106 respectively. The top sub-categories of food products offered were instant noodles, potato snacks and prepared meals in 2018 and 2019. Top claims (may contain more than one claim per package) were GMO free and related to product preparation- time and speed and microwave ability. Top package types were of the flexible and tub variety launched primarily as new variety/range extension and relaunches. Top ingredients identified were fish and fish products, fish sauce and juice, fish sauce powder and fish extracts

New product launches of fish and fish products (as an ingredient) in Japan, 2015-2019, by 2019 product attributes
Product attributes Yearly launch counts
2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Yearly product launches 32 33 42 104 106
Top five sub-categories
Instant noodles 2 3 17 23
Potato snacks 3 3 7 14 21
Fish products 8 12 15 9 13
Prepared meals 8 8 5 22 10
Dry soup 1 2 1 7 7
Top five claims
GMO free 3 3 5 22 25
Time/speed 4 20 24
Microwaveable 11 12 5 31 20
No additives/preservatives 6 14 11 17 17
Cobranded 5 9
Import status
Not imported 9 9 8 25 17
Imported 1 3 2
Top packaged types
Flexible 20 17 27 50 48
Tub 4 3 4 19 27
Flexible stand-up pouch 1 2 1 3 9
Tray 4 9 7 12 9
Flexible sachet 3 2 2 17 7
Top launch types
New variety/range extension 17 16 28 53 63
Relaunch 8 8 7 32 28
New product 4 6 1 8 8
New packaging 2 3 6 11 7
Top five flavours (including blends)
Unflavoured / plain 4 6 10 5 5
Kimchi 2 3 5
Mentaiko (spicy Cod Roe) 2 2 4
Fish 2 1 4
Seafood 2 1 3 4
Top five ingredients
Fish and fish products 32 33 42 104 106
Fish sauce and juice 6 8 5 52 44
Fish sauce powder 6 3 15 29 39
Fish extracts 13 15 20 29 36
Bonito flakes 3 3 1 8 17
Source: Mintel, 2019

Examples of new product launches

Downtown Tokyo-Style Oden
Company Kibun Foods
Brand Kibun
Category Meals and Meal Centers
Sub-category Prepared Meals
Market Japan
Store name Kibun Foods
Store type Direct Selling
Date published December 2019
Launch type New variety/range extension
Price in US Dollars 3.83

Kibun Downtown Tokyo-Style Oden is now available. It comprises the following seven items in bonito broth and soy sauce: fish meatballs; chewy shark tendon; satuma-age fried fishcake; grilled fishcake; daikon radish; a boiled egg; and konjac. The product is to be heated up and retails in a 445 gram pack. Launched on August 1, 2019 with a recommended retail price of 419 yen.

Source: Mintel 2020

Seafood Pizza Flavour Shrimp Wheat Snack
Company Calbee
Brand Calbee Kappa Ebisen
Category Snacks
Sub-category Wheat and Other Grain-Based Snacks
Market Japan
Store name Y's Mart
Store type Supermarket
Date published November 2018
Launch type New variety/range extension
Price in US Dollars 0.96

Calbee Kappa Ebisen Seafood Pizza Flavour Shrimp Wheat Snack is a seasonal variety for Halloween 2018. This product is said to have the umami of seafood and a rich cheese flavour, and retails in a 65 gram pack bearing a puzzle. Launched on October 1, 2018. Recommended retail price not available.

Source: Mintel 2020

Shrimp Ball
Company Kibun Foods
Brand Kibun Nabedane
Category Processed Fish, Meat and Egg Products
Sub-category Fish Products
Market Japan
Store name Kibun Foods
Store type Direct Selling
Date published September 2016
Launch type Relaunch
Product source Shopper
Price in US Dollars 2.18

Kibun Nabedane Shrimp Ball has been relaunched. The preservative-free product is designed for hot pot and now features fluffier and tastier shrimp balls. It retails in a 150 gram pack containing six units. Launched on August 29, 2016 with a recommended retail price of 248 yen.

Source: Mintel 2020

Seafood Tomato Soup
Company Nisshin Foods
Brand Ao No Dokutsu
Category Soup
Sub-category Wet Soup
Market Japan
Store name Tokyu Store
Store type Supermarket
Date published September 2015
Launch type New product
Price in US Dollars 2.92

Ao No Dokutsu Seafood Tomato Soup features flavours of crab, clam, scallop and refreshingly sour tomato. The microwaveable product retails in a recyclable 160 gram pack with QR code. Launched on August 20, 2015 with a recommended retail price of 324 yen.

Source: Mintel 2020

Opportunities for Canada

Japan was the third largest market for fish and seafood in the world with imports valued at US$15.6 billion and 2.5 million tonnes in 2019. Canada was the fifteenth largest market in fish and seafood, accounting for 2.1% of the total world market share in 2019 (representing US$3.3 billion and 0.5 million tonnes.

Canada was Japan's twelfth largest supplier of fish and seafood in 2019. Top fish and seafood imports from Canada were frozen crabs (US$131.7 million, 5.4 tonnes), frozen cold-water shrimp and prawns (US$59.7 million, 5.3 tonnes) and frozen lobsters (US$30.6 million, 1.2 tonnes) in 2019. As such, there remains substantial opportunity for Canada to increase its presence in the Japanese market as suppliers of safe and high quality fish and seafood, and value-added (processed fish products). Subsequently, on October 7, 2019, the United States and Japan signed the U.S-Japan Trade Agreement USJTA) providing for limited tariff reductions and quota expansions to improve market access. The agreement does not eliminate any tariffs on U.S fish and seafood products imported by Japan providing an advantage to Canada via preferential access for fish and seafood through CPTPP, while the U.S will continue to pay Japan's standard most favoured nation (MFN) duties.

On March 8, 2018, Canada signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The (CPTPP) is a free trade agreement between Canada and ten other countries in the Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The agreement will provide Canada with preferential access to key markets in Asia and Latin America. As a result, most tariff lines became duty-free when the Agreement entered into force for each CPTPP country. Tariffs on other goods will be eliminated gradually over "phase-out" periods, which vary by country and are detailed in each country's respective tariff elimination schedules (see Annex 2-D of the Agreement for the tariff elimination schedules of each CPTPP country).

Overall tariff elimination under the CPTPP

Exporters are strongly recommended to work with the local import agent, distributor, and the end-user to make sure the products are in compliance with Japanese regulations and all proper documentation has been completed. For more information, please consult the Exporting food out of Canada (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting (The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service) and Standards and Regulations (Japan External trade Organization).

Exporters should also determine the import classification and tariff rate for products. The Tariff Finder tool can assist exporters in determining tariff information for specific products and countries where Canada has a free trade agreement. Additionally, Japan Customs has a website for requesting an advance ruling on tariff classifications, which is available to importers and related parties.

It is worth noting that CanExport provides funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to reach export markets and execute strategic marketing projects such as participation in trade shows. Interested Canadian SMEs are encouraged to apply for this funding. If you have questions about exporting your agriculture or food products, or are looking for support, please contact the Market Access Secretariat, Agri-food and Agriculture Canada at aafc.mas-sam.aac@canada.ca.

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, please contact:

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

Resources

Sector Trend Analysis – Fish and seafood trends in Japan
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: Laurie Bernardi, International Market Research Analyst

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2020).

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