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THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARIL... - page 10 / 38

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These products will also require specific labeling to be admitted to Japan. Make sure you have the proper import documents accompanying shipment: 1) Import Notification; 2) Health Certifications; 3) Results of Laboratory Analysis; 4) Manufacturer‘s Certification showing materials, additives and manufacturing process. (Note: Products imported for the first time may require more documentation.)

III. Market Sector Structure and Trends

The exporter‘s single most important strategic decisionother than those dealing with the product itselfis how to position the product and get it to the Japanese consumer, i.e. through retail, food service, and/or food processing channels. The following is the brief description of the three sectors.

Retail Sector Japan‘s food retail market generated about $442.9 billion in 2009. Although it is a huge market, it is highly

fragmented. Unlike in North America and the EU, Japan‘s retail food sector is characterized by a relatively high percentage of specialty/semi-specialty stores, including ―mom-and-pop‖ stores and local grocery stores. Such small retailers, however, are losing ground to larger general merchandise stores (GMS), supermarkets (SM), and convenience stores (CVS). These three categories offer excellent opportunities to U.S. food exporters in spite of severe competition from suppliers of other countries as well as domestic manufacturers.

Food retailers in Japan are classified into following major segments. The characteristics of these channels are listed in the table below:

Established

H to M

H to M

H

brands

H to M

H to M

H

High quality/high

H

H

M

price

H

H

H

Good quality/low price New products

*Growth expectations: H - high; M - moderate; L - low; D - decline

Future growth expectations*

M

H to M

Receptivity to imports**

H to M

H to M

stores

Table 2. Retail Store Opportunities for U.S. Food Exporters

Share (2009)

Suitable for:

GMS

SM

Department

General

Supermarkets

Stores

19.4%

Merchandi

se

4.9% L to M

M

M

M

M

H to M

M

M

H

M

M

H

M

M

H to M

D

D

H to M

M

M

CVS

Specialty

Semi

Convenience

Stores

Specialty

stores

Stores

12.3%

63.4%

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