Are well-educated and knowledgeable about food and its many variations; Are highly brand-conscious—a brand with a quality image will sell; Care a great deal about seasonal foods and freshness—promotion of these characteristics, where appropriate, can significantly build product sales and value; Are increasingly health-conscious;
Eat with their eyes‖ and often view food as art. A food product‘s aesthetic appearance—on the shelf, in
the package, and on the table—is important in building consumer acceptance; Have small families and homes with minimal storage space, thus, large packages are impractical.
Export Business Reminders Below are some important reminders about exporting to Japan: Limit your number of trading partners, but try to avoid exclusive agreements with any one company.
Use metric terms. Quote price in CIF (cost, insurance and freight), unless the importer requests FOB (Free on Board). Price competitively; exclude U.S.-based costs such as domestic sales, advertising, marketing, etc. Be patient regarding requests for information on ingredient lists, the production process and quality assurance. Ensure that all the information is correct. Respond to such requests with diligence and in a timely manner. Use letters of credit to reduce risk. Hedge export values with your U.S. bank if you are concerned about exchange rate risk. Set up wire transfers for payments.
Food Standards and Regulations U.S. exporters often find Japanese food standards difficult to deal with. Here are a few tips:
Read the USDA‘s ―Japan: Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards (FAIRS) Country Report.‖ This concise document, covering food laws, labeling, packaging, import procedures, and other key regulations, should be a helpful guide for all food exporters. It is updated annually. (http://gain.fas.usda.gov/Pages/Default.aspx) Read other USDA Japan reports and information. Go to the USDA Japan homepage (http://www.usdajapan.org ) and click the "Reports" menu button to get market information and reports. Read the Japan Food Sanitation Law. Make sure that the labeling you plan to use meets Japanese requirements: http://www.jetro.go.jp/en/reports/regulations/pdf/food-e.pdf Check the JETRO report, ―Specifications and Standards for Foods, Food Additives, etc. under the Food Sanitation Law‖ (http://www.jetro.go.jp/en/reports/regulations/). This summarizes specific technical import procedures especially for processed food products.