Food and drink sector in Japan
Topside of British beef
Although traditional local culinary culture remains strong, Japanese consumers enjoy diverse food products which are now available at supermarkets, department stores, grocers and even convenience stores. The Japanese also value the country of origin and stories behind products.
Authentic products including black teas, whiskies, biscuits/shortbread and Scottish smoked salmon have been the most popular British products in the market while olive oils and pasta sauces, which may not be easily linked to the UK, have found market entry more difficult. Japanese people also attach significant importance towards packaging and presentation.
The quality and expectation of products is high. Overseas companies are sometimes requested to make special arrangements for the Japanese market.
The export value of food and non-alcohol drinks from the UK to Japan amounted to GBP96 million in 2012, up 12% from 2011..
UKTI in Japan has carried out British Food & Drink promotion actively since 2006 in order to introduce a wide range of British products into the market, and to change and improve perceptions of British food amongst Japanese people. The product categories we have found prospects for include:
Beverages (cordials, beers and wines)
Confectionery (snacks / biscuits / chocolates
Sausages and bacon
Seafood (salmon / lobster / mackerel etc)
Food and Drink products which offer the most potential in the Japanese market should meet ALL the following requirements:
Quality packaging and presentation (particularly for products suitable for gifts)
Clear and obvious link to the UK
Product/company with an authentic story
Flexible approach to meeting consumer needs
For trade : UK Pavilion at Foodex, 4-7 March 2014 (Asia’s largest Food & Drink trade show held every March in Japan).
For Consumer Promotion: Food is GREAT Campaign (to be launched at end August 2013 – please contact us for more details.).
Getting into the market
Main ways of getting into the Japanese market:
Exhibiting at trade shows (e.g., Foodex – see above for details)
Find a distributor (rather than selling to retailers directly) (UKTI’s OMIS would be a powerful tool)
Entry on Taste of Britain website, which is run by UKTI Japan (www.taste-of-britain.com)
Organic – Agricultural processed organic food and drink products have certain requirements for export to Japan
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.
Akiko Yanagisawa, British Embassy Tokyo; Tel: +81 (0)3 5211 1154; Email: email@example.com
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Japan International Seafood & Technology Expo
21-23 August 2013
Supermarket Trade Show
12-14 February 2014