Table D-1: U.S. Government Table D-2: U.S. State Government Offices in Japan Table D-3: U.S. Trade Associations and Cooperator Groups in Japan Table D-4: U.S. Laboratories Approved by the Japanese Government* Table D-5: Japanese Government and Related Organizations Table D-6: Japanese Associations - Food Table D-7: Japanese Associations - Beverages Table D-8: Japanese Associations - Distribution Sector Reports and Further Information
Note: Average exchange rate of Y93.52 is used to convert the figures in yen to US dollars in this report unless otherwise mentioned.
I. Market Overview
Japan continues to be one of the best opportunities in the world for U.S. exporters of food products. In 2009, the United States exported $11.8 billion worth of agricultural and fish products to Japan ($12.3 billion including forestry products). The total food and drink market in Japan is huge, valued at around $700 billion, when the food retail sector and the food service sector are combined. If you have a quality product that meets the needs and wants of Japanese consumers, that can be produced and delivered competitively, and you have patience to research both the differences in consumer tastes and government regulations, you can build an attractive market position in Japan.
Current Trends Japan‘s food market for high-value foods and beverages continues to change dramatically, with the latest trend being a major thrust toward functional, healthy and nutritious foods. While traditional menus and tastes still generally guide the average Japanese consumer‘s consumption habits, Western and other Asian ethnic cuisines are making a major impact in the market.
The Japanese consumers tend to be willing to pay higher prices for quality and convenience. However, at the same time, due to the sluggish economy in Japan, the food industry has recognized that consumers in general demand reasonable prices in addition to quality. Consequently, the industry is responding with 100-yen (about $1.10) produce stores and other types of discount food outlets. Some major retail chains are vying for differentiation by introducing their own private branded products with a lower price than nationally branded products and safety assurance by making their meat and produce products traceable back to growers and producers.