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Sector Trend Analysis – Health and wellness in Japan

May 2018

Executive summary

  • Many Japanese consumers are interested in consuming healthy and beneficial products as part of their ambition to live healthier lifestyles.
  • According to Euromonitor International, retail sales of health and wellness products in Japan have increased to approximately US$49 billion in 2016.
  • Naturally healthy (NH) products recorded the highest retail value in 2016 amongst the several types of health and wellness products, with US$25 billion in sales.
  • Supermarkets continued to dominate the Health and Wellness (HW) distribution landscape in 2016, with a 40% market share.
  • “Free from” is expected to witness the fastest market growth between 2017 and 2021, with a forecasted compound annual growth rate of 4.7%.

Contents

Japanese consumers

In order to maintain their health, Japanese consumers are keen on maintaining a healthy diet. Health conditions related to the metabolic syndrome have encouraged a substantial amount of Japanese consumers to seek products with health benefits and claims.

For example, Kombucha, a fermented black tea drink, witnessed rapid growth in the 1970s following a high degree of health-benefit exposure. Also, in 2012, tomatoes began attracting pleasant attention following an iterative round of media coverage that outlined its many benefits and led to a soar in sales of many product categories that involved the use of tomatoes.

Moreover, the current rapid growth in chocolate confectionery and yoghurt products are also supported by growing demand for health benefits. The trend for maintaining health through diet is expected to continue between 2017 and 2021.

The benefit of Food with Functional Claims (FCC) is that it helps add legitimacy to healthy products, making sure that consumers are aware of the legitimacy of the product’s health claims, invigorating consumers’ perception that these product claims are scientifically backed and approved as beneficial to health.

General health and wellness trends in Japan

Between 2012 and 2016, there was a notable shift in consumer attitudes towards health and wellness products. Many Japanese consumers who are interested in consuming these products in their drive to live healthier lifestyles want their food and drink to be as natural as possible. As a result, they have been avoiding health and wellness products that are considered to be artificial or excessively processed and not perceived as natural and chemical-free.

This trend influenced several health and wellness categories, such as reduced sugar products with artificial sweeteners, for example, which seems to suffer from an image problem as many consumers regard these products as artificial and thus inherently unhealthy.

While this trend has led to a slowdown in growth for reduced sugar beverages in carbonates, the overall better-for-you beverages category was also affected, as it declined by 1% in compound annual growth terms during 2016.

However, naturally healthy (NH) packaged food recorded 5% current value growth during the year, while NH beverages, a large category, grew by 1%. Free from packaged food also recorded 6% growth, increasing sales to US$750 million.

Despite predicted improvements in the Japanese economy, growth in real disposable income levels is set to remain low. As a result, consumers are likely to remain cautious in their expenditure, resulting in slow growth for overall health and wellness.

“Free from” products are likely to see the strongest growth, profiting from opportunities offered by FFC labelling, while better-for-you beverages will see ongoing decline due to reduction of reduced sugar carbonates, which will see a declining consumer base to other healthy beverages, such as ready-to-drink (RTD) tea and flavored bottled water (Euromonitor International, 2017).

Market data

Historical health and wellness market retail sales by category in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 *CAGR (%) 2012-16
Total health and wellness (HW) 46,153.7 47,166.1 47,288.2 48,268.3 49,103.3 1.6%
HW beverages 31,138.7 31,685.9 31,312.2 31,484.9 31,498.4 0.3%
HW packaged food 15,015.0 15,480.3 15,976.0 16,783.4 17,604.9 4.1%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

Forecast health and wellness market retail sales by category in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2017E 2018 2019 2020 2021 *CAGR (%) 2017-21
Total health and wellness (HW) 49,651.3 50,392.0 51,409.0 52,596.4 53,631.1 1.9%
HW beverages 31,601.0 31,785.6 32,167.4 32,674.7 33,100.0 1.2%
HW packaged food 18,050.3 18,606.4 19,241.6 19,921.8 20,531.0 3.3%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

E: Estimate.

Historical health and wellness market retail sales by type in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 *CAGR (%) 2012-16
Total health and wellness (HW) 46,153.7 47,166.1 47,288.2 48,268.3 49,103.3 1.6%
Naturally healthy (NH) 24,070.9 24,306.9 24,406.9 24,920.7 25,191.3 1.1%
Fortified/functional (FF) 16,088.3 16,747.6 16,788.9 17,184.8 17,737.0 2.5%
Better for you (BFY) 4,835.2 4,911.2 4,834.2 4,848.6 4,831.5 0.0%
Free from 584.9 623.6 675.7 725.7 750.2 6.4%
Organic 574.4 576.8 582.6 588.5 593.3 0.8%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

Forecast health and wellness market retail sales by type in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2017E 2018 2019 2020 2021 *CAGR (%) 2017-21
Total health and wellness (HW) 49,651.3 50,392.0 51,409.0 52,596.4 53,631.1 1.9%
Naturally healthy (NH) 25,456.8 25,832.0 26,330.0 26,897.8 27,373.9 1.8%
Fortified/functional (FF) 18,018.2 18,332.7 18,755.7 19,251.4 19,700.1 2.3%
Better for you (BFY) 4,794.2 4,797.9 4,841.6 4,910.8 4,972.1 0.9%
Free from 783.3 821.3 861.8 903.5 941.2 4.7%
Organic 598.8 608.1 619.9 633.0 643.8 1.8%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

E: Estimate.

Naturally healthy (NH)

Many Japanese consumers are now interested in consuming naturally healthy products as part of their drive to live healthier lifestyles. As a result, they have been avoiding health and wellness products that are considered to be artificial or exceptionally processed and not perceived as natural, authentic and chemical-free. The removal or substitution of ingredients that are naturally present is therefore seen as unnatural and incompatible with the core values of a healthy lifestyle (Euromonitor, 2017).

Historical naturally healthy category - market retail sales in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 *CAGR (%) 2012-16
Naturally healthy (NH) packaged food 2,189.3 2,244.5 2,366.8 2,518.0 2,684.9 5.2%
NH rice 877.4 880.1 908.5 929.5 950.0 2.0%
NH honey 276.3 281.3 290.8 359.9 462.5 13.7%
NH nuts, seeds and trail mixes 368.3 370.6 386.4 404.0 418.2 3.2%
NH olive oil 251.1 287.1 313.6 336.4 345.9 8.3%
NH high fibre food 204.3 215.0 255.5 272.3 288.1 9.0%
NH fruit snacks 210.1 208.5 210.0 214.0 218.1 0.9%
NH cereal bars 1.9 1.9 1.9 1.9 2.0 1.3%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

It is unlikely, between 2017 and 2021, that the trend towards more natural products with as few artificial ingredients as possible will fade. In fact, this trend is likely to become even more relevant as increasing numbers of consumers will almost certainly expect leading packaged food and beverages brands to remove artificial and unnatural elements from their products as much as possible.

Forecast naturally healthy category - market retail sales in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2017E 2018 2019 2020 2021 *CAGR (%) 2017-21
Naturally healthy (NH) packaged food 2,820.6 2,957.1 3,100.1 3,244.8 3,372.5 4.6%
NH rice 968.9 994.5 1,023.6 1,054.6 1,081.5 2.8%
NH honey 526.9 584.5 640.9 695.2 743.4 9.0%
NH nuts, seeds and trail mixes 429.1 440.4 453.3 466.7 478.1 2.7%
NH olive oil 370.0 391.6 414.5 437.9 459.3 5.6%
NH high fibre food 301.6 316.6 332.2 347.9 361.8 4.7%
NH fruit snacks 221.9 227.2 233.4 240.1 245.8 2.6%
NH cereal bars 2.1 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 5.5%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

E: Estimate.

Better for you (BFY)

Reduced fat, reduced sugar and reduced salt packaged food categories witnessed a surge in sales, averaging a CAGR of 4.2% from 2012 to 2016. However, subcategories such as reduced fat in dairy and reduced salt in margarine and spreads have suffered a decline in sales with CAGRs of -0.8% and -3.3% respectively, between 2012 and 2016.

Historical better for you packaged food category, market retail sales in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 *CAGR (%) 2012-16
Better for you (BFY) packaged food 2,745.8 2,804.2 2,877.8 3,011.8 3,048.3 2.6%
BFY reduced fat packaged food 1,764.5 1,784.0 1,770.3 1,830.6 1,814.7 0.7%
Reduced fat dairy 1,057.1 1,037.4 1,002.2 1,030.8 1,023.7 -0.8%
Reduced fat ice cream 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 0.0%
Reduced fat sauces, dressings and condiments 705.7 744.9 766.4 798.1 789.3 2.8%
BFY reduced salt food 318.8 336.7 359.5 386.1 403.9 6.1%
Reduced salt margarine and spreads 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.7 -3.3%
Reduced salt sauces, dressings and  condiments 318.0 336.0 358.8 385.3 403.2 6.1%
BFY reduced sugar packaged food 662.4 683.5 748.0 795.1 829.7 5.8%
Reduced sugar confectionery 579.9 592.0 636.4 672.0 687.2 4.3%
Reduced sugar ice cream 52.1 52.4 60.0 61.5 62.7 4.7%
Reduced sugar spreads excl. honey 30.5 39.1 51.6 61.7 79.8 27.2%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

Forecast better for you packaged food category - market retail sales in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2017E 2018 2019 2020 2021 *CAGR (%) 2017-21
Better for you (BFY) packaged food 3,080.8 3,136.0 3,207.1 3,287.7 3,358.4 2.2%
BFY reduced fat packaged food 1,802.2 1,807.3 1,823.0 1,845.3 1,863.4 0.8%
Reduced fat dairy 1,019.0 1,024.6 1,036.4 1,052.3 1,065.8 1.1%
Reduced fat ice cream 1.8 1.8 1.8 1.9 1.9 1.4%
Reduced fat sauces, dressings and condiments 781.5 780.9 784.7 791.2 795.7 0.5%
BFY reduced salt food 421.6 442.9 466.4 491.5 515.4 5.2%
Reduced salt margarine and spreads 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6 -3.8%
Reduced salt sauces, dressings and condiments 421.0 442.3 465.8 490.9 514.8 5.2%
BFY reduced sugar packaged food 856.9 885.8 917.7 950.9 979.6 3.4%
Reduced sugar confectionery 698.0 711.3 727.7 746.1 761.9 2.2%
Reduced sugar ice cream 65.4 67.3 69.4 71.6 73.5 3.0%
Reduced sugar spreads excl. honey 93.5 107.3 120.6 133.1 144.1 11.4%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

E: Estimate.

Better for you (BFY) packaged food product sales are expected to continue increasing from 2017 to 2021, with reduced sugar spreads forecasted to record the fastest growth with an 11.4% compound annual growth rate.

Fortified/functional (FF)

Fortified/functional (FF) dairy products recorded the highest value of retail sales with US$6.8 billion in 2016 and a compound annual growth rate of 5.9%. FF breakfast cereals have experienced the highest CAGR with 16.8% between 2012 and 2016 while FF confectionary and FF vegetable and seed oil experienced negative growth with -3.6% and -0.4% CAGR respectively.

Historic fortified/functional package food category - market retail sales in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 *CAGR (%) 2012-16
Fortified/Functional (FF) packaged food 9,131.8 9,440.2 9,684.9 10,152.9 10,743.4 4.1%
FF dairy 5,412.4 5,774.3 5,980.4 6,288.6 6,814.7 5.9%
FF confectionery 1,810.2 1,728.5 1,647.4 1,594.8 1,561.9 -3.6%
FF sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruits snacks 730.2 736.8 769.2 804.3 832.1 3.3%
FF breakfast cereals 361.4 395.6 476.8 614.3 673.1 16.8%
FF baby food 533.9 512.1 519.9 561.0 573.2 1.8%
FF bread 171.7 174.2 176.1 177.2 178.3 0.9%
FF vegetable and seed oil 112.0 118.7 115.2 112.7 110.1 -0.4%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

According to Euromonitor, Japanese consumers are seeking to lengthen life expectancy, therefore; the aging population is more demanding in terms of health, which resulted in the development of fortified/functional (FF) food. Fortified/functional products are likely to see very strong growth between 2017 and 2021, benefiting from opportunities offered by FFC labelling.

Forecast fortified/functional package food category - market retail sales in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2017E 2018 2019 2020 2021 *CAGR (%) 2017-21
Fortified/Functional (FF) packaged food 10,984.6 11,305.1 11,678.3 12,083.1 12,449.1 3.2%
FF dairy 7,001.4 7,239.8 7,509.9 7,799.0 8,061.9 3.6%
FF confectionery 1,536.8 1,530.5 1,535.4 1,547.6 1,557.8 0.3%
FF sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruits snacks 860.3 894.4 931.6 970.6 1,005.7 4.0%
FF breakfast cereals 714.8 753.5 795.5 839.4 880.2 5.3%
FF baby food 583.8 597.9 613.8 630.4 644.3 2.5%
FF bread 179.4 181.8 185.1 188.7 191.8 1.7%
FF vegetable and seed oil 108.1 107.2 107.1 107.3 107.4 -0.2%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

E: Estimate.

Organic

While organic packaged food remained niche, it continued to see value growth of 1% to reach US$378 million in 2016. While consumers began to look into more premium sophisticated products, organic players increased their presence in order to capture these consumers.

Organic packaged food is strictly controlled by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries under Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS). All the organic products sold in Japan, both domestic and imported, are certified “Organic JAS” following Ministry regulations (Euromonitor International, 2017).

Historic organic package food category - market retail sales in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 *CAGR (%) 2012-16
Total organic packaged food 363.3 367.8 370.8 375.0 378.1 1.0%
Organic bread 135.3 140.8 142.0 143.4 144.1 1.6%
Organic sauces, dressings and condiments 66.4 65.4 65.3 65.1 65.4 -0.4%
Organic rice, pasta and noodles 60.6 59.9 59.6 59.6 59.7 -0.4%
Organic dairy 22.4 22.2 22.4 23.0 23.4 1.1%
Organic spreads 17.3 17.7 18.3 18.9 19.4 2.9%
Organic edible oil 17.0 17.5 17.8 18.4 18.9 2.7%
Organic sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks 16.4 16.1 16.3 16.5 16.5 0.2%
Organic savoury snacks 12.1 12.2 12.6 13.2 13.7 3.2%
Organic baby food 9.9 10.0 10.3 10.4 10.4 1.2%
Organic confectionery 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.9 3.0 4.7%
Organic breakfast cereals 2.1 2.1 2.2 2.2 2.3 2.3%
Organic ready meals 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.0%
Organic ice cream 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.0%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

The lack of organic production in Japan as well as some companies’ reluctance in launching new products may continue to obstruct robust growth. This reluctance will in turn reflect consumers’ lack of interest in these products due to high prices. Therefore, the lack of variety of products as well as significant consumer confusion regarding the health benefits of some organic products will also add to the obstruction of growth.

Forecast organic package food category - market retail sales in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2017E 2018 2019 2020 2021 *CAGR (%) 2017-21
Total organic packaged food 381.0 386.8 394.3 402.8 409.9 1.8%
Organic bread 144.7 146.5 149.0 151.8 154.1 1.6%
Organic sauces, dressings and condiments 65.6 66.4 67.4 68.6 69.6 1.5%
Organic rice, pasta and noodles 59.7 60.2 61.0 61.9 62.6 1.2%
Organic dairy 23.7 24.2 24.8 25.5 26.1 2.4%
Organic spreads 19.9 20.6 21.3 22.2 22.9 3.6%
Organic edible oil 19.3 19.9 20.5 21.2 21.8 3.1%
Organic sweet biscuits, snack bars and fruit snacks 16.5 16.7 16.9 17.2 17.4 1.3%
Organic savoury snacks 14.1 14.5 15.0 15.5 15.9 3.0%
Organic baby food 10.5 10.7 10.9 11.1 11.3 1.9%
Organic confectionery 3.2 3.3 3.5 3.6 3.8 4.4%
Organic breakfast cereals 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 3.9%
Organic ready meals 0.9 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 2.7%
Organic ice cream 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.0%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

E: Estimate.

The increasing presence of supermarkets that are focused on organic products will be a potential opportunity for organic packaged food to grow between 2017 and 2021. In 2016, LIFE Corporation, one of the primary retailers, opened BIO-RAL, a supermarket concentrated on health and wellness products including organic, in Osaka. AEON opened a French supermarket concentrated on organic products, Bio c’ Bon, in Tokyo (Euromonitor International, 2017).

Free from

Gluten and lactose-free products stand apart as they target those with celiac diseases, or those with an intolerance to lactose, both genuine and increasingly common medical conditions.

“Free-from” packaged food in Japan registered a compound annual growth rate of 6.4% from 2012 to 2016. This is a reflection of Japanese consumers’ growing interest in “free from” products, but also of the successful strategies by manufacturers to launch relevant innovations.

According to Mintel, 42 new gluten-free products were introduced in the Japanese market between 2012 and 2016, with 20 of those products being released in 2016 alone. This shows a 150% value growth between 2015 and 2016.

Historic free from package food category, market retail sales in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 *CAGR (%) 2012-16
Free from 584.9 623.6 675.7 725.7 750.2 6.4%
Free from dairy 542.1 580.7 631.7 681.1 704.8 6.8%
Free from allergens 27.4 27.8 28.3 28.9 30.3 2.5%
Free from lactose 15.2 14.9 15.4 15.5 14.9 -0.5%
Free from gluten 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.0%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

Forecast free from package food category, market retail sales in Japan in US$ millions - fixed 2017 exchange rates
Category 2017E 2018 2019 2020 2021 *CAGR (%) 2017-21
Free from 783.3 821.3 861.8 903.5 941.2 4.7%
Free from dairy 737.0 773.5 812.4 852.4 888.6 4.8%
Free from allergens 31.5 33.0 34.5 36.1 37.5 4.5%
Free from lactose 14.6 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 0.3%
Free from gluten 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.0%

Source: Euromonitor International, 2017.

*CAGR: Compound Annual Growth rate.

E: Estimate.

Distribution channels

The strengthening purchasing power of the growing elderly Japanese demographic will increase purchases of greater processed products, particularly through supermarkets and hypermarkets. Furthermore, manufacturers are likely to continue adopting marketing methods to appeal to younger Japanese consumers, whose focus will increasingly be on products offering a high level of convenience in addition to health attributes (Euromonitor International, 2017).

Supermarkets continue to dominate the HW distribution landscape in 2016. Modern retailers are able to offer a wide range of both branded and private label offerings, which enabled them to hold a steady share during 2016. There was little growth in the share of internet retailing for HW products as consumers preferred to buy them when shopping for their weekly groceries in modern grocery retailers or from independent small grocers.

Distribution channels of health and wellness products in Japan retail value % breakdown
Outlets 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Store-based retailing 80.7 80.2 80.2 80.1 80.1
Grocery retailers 69.6 69.1 69.3 69.4 69.5
Modern grocery retailers 63.4 63.1 63.4 63.6 63.7
Convenience stores 23.8 23.8 23.7 23.5 23.4
Discounters N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Forecourt retailers N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Hypermarkets N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Supermarkets 39.6 39.3 39.7 40 40.3
Traditional grocery retailers 6.2 6.0 5.8 5.8 5.8
Food/drink/tobacco specialists 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Independent small grocers 2.3 2.2 2.1 2.1 2.1
Other grocery retailers 3.4 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3
Non-grocery specialists 6.3 6 5.9 5.9 5.8
Non-store retailing 19.3 19.8 19.8 19.9 19.9
Vending 5.2 5.2 5 4.9 4.9
Homeshopping 1.3 1.4 1.4 1.5 1.6
Internet retailing 3.7 3.8 3.8 3.9 4
Direct selling 9.2 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.4
Total 100 100 100 100 100

Source: Euromonitor, 2017.

N/A: No data recorded.

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Resources

Sector Trend Analysis - Health and wellness in Japan
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: Hadi el Zein, Market Analyst (Co-op student)

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