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THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARIL... - page 13 / 38

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Japanese food sector in recent years. Examples of popular products in this sector are prepared foods sold at supermarkets, takeout meals sold at specialty store chain operators, and various readymade foods sold at convenience and department stores. (There is thus some overlap with the channels outlined above.) Although the growth in the HMR sector is slowing down as well due to the current sluggish economy, the sector is expected to be an important market as the number of working women, single households and the elderly rises. The sector consists mostly of small regional companies and is now going through a series of consolidation. Larger companies in the sector are suppliers for major supermarket operators, convenience stores and tenants in department stores.

There are a number of constraints facing U.S. exporters in this sector. High-volume buyers are still relatively rare; global sourcing and direct transactions with foreign suppliers are also uncommon. In addition, relatively high turnover for menu items often makes companies hesitant about global merchandising. Nevertheless, HMR‘s are potentially an ideal customer for U.S. food exporters, especially for those willing to meet stringent cost, quality, and size specifications.

HRI Food Service Sector The food service sector generated $255.7 billion in sales in 2009, a 2.3% decrease from the previous year

following a 0.5% decline. The continued decline is due mainly to reductions in corporate spending on entertainment under the severe economic situation in Japan. The sector is comprised of the four major segments: 1) restaurants; 2) hotels and other accommodation facilities; 3) bars and coffee shops; and 4) institutional food service companies serving schools, hospitals, and corporate facilities. The characteristics of the four segments are summarized in the tables and charts below.

Share (2009)

52.9%

13.3%

20.1%

Future growth

H to M

H

H to M

Table 3. Food Service Opportunities for U.S. Food Exporters Restaurants Hotels/ Travel related

Bars/ Coffee shops

*Growth expectations: H-high; M-moderate; L-low; D-decline **Receptivity ratings: H-high; M-medium; L-low Sources: Food Service Industry Research Center; ATO estimates of import growth and receptivity).

H

M

H

H

H

H

H

H to M H H

H

H to M

expectations*

Receptivity to imports*

Especially suitable for: High quality/high price Good quality/low price New products

*

Institutional

13.7% M

H

L H H

Chart 2. Food Service Distribution Channel

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