Special Focus: Food & Beverage

This month in the “Special Focus” section, we focus on Food & Beverage in Japan.
Information on the various related sub-sectors, the latest reports as well as the previous webinar on this topic are available on the following links.


The Japanese liquor market is one of the largest in the world with estimated annual sales of 4 trillion yen and growing consumption in several categories. Despite such figures, in terms of value, foreign liquor imports in 2016, at 266.4 billion yen (according to Japan Customs), accounted for a mere 6% of the total Japanese liquor market, including beer and beer-like products. To read more, please click on the link below: 


Despite weak economic growth, Japan still possesses the largest and most mature confectionary market in the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, demand for sugar confectionary is expected to grow rapidly between 2012-2017, helped by increased competition between pharmaceutical companies – marketing medicated sweets and vitamin-enriched lozenges – as well as ordinary companies selling more traditional Japanese confectionary. To find out more, please see below: 


Japan is the fourth biggest import country in the world for dairy products. The country needs to import almost 40% of its entire milk demand and imports 4.5 million dairy products.However, less and less people are engaged in farming and the agricultural industry; dairy product imports including milk, butter, natural cheese, and powder butter, will become more and more imported. To read more, please click on the following link: 


According to official Japanese statistics, the Japanese food processing industry has sold for JPY23,941 billion of food and beverage products in 2017. Among this production, more than 70% were manufactured by the 91 largest food and beverage companies. These companies are traditional breweries who have expanded their portfolio to include foods, distilled spirits, heath foods and include famous names such as Kirin Holdings, Asahi Group Holdings, Suntory Ltd., and Sapporo Holdings. To go further, please use the following link:

Processed & Frozen Foods 

The Japanese population is a traditional consumer of seafood, but meat consumption has increased gradually over recent years, especially among the younger generations. in 2016 Japan was ranked the world’s second-largest meat importer, after China, and was ranked first as of November 2017. Despite Japan’s rapidly aging and declining population, the Japanese meat production industry is expected to experience growing sales due to the ongoing Westernization of the typical Japanese diet. In particular, it is expected that younger generations of Japanese people continue regarding meat as a staple of their increasingly modern and less traditional diet. To read more, please click on the following link: 



The Japanese demand of food products is among the largest and wealthiest worldwide and is evolving due to the rapid aging of the population. The domestic supply is characterized by a declining agricultural system which produces less and less every year and requires a strong state support and border measures. Although Japan heavily relies on imports of foreign food, market access is often difficult for EU agribusinesses. In this context, the EU ranks 3rd in Japanese imports of food products, after the United States and China. To read the report, please click below:

The Japanese Agrifood Market

The case of the contemporary Japanese dairy market is an intriguing one. The domestic raw milk production is declining year by year, and has done so for well over two decades. Despite haven given a highly protected status, the Japanese agricultural industry (the dairy sector in particular) is comprised of a rapidly aging workforce and is struggling to find successors. Meanwhile, the Japanese demand for dairy products has only increased, leaving the nation ever more dependent on imports. Traditionally, Japan’s main sources for dairy products have been the USA, Australia, New Zealand and the EU. To read more please click on the following link:

Dairy In Japan

Japan is currently Europe’s second-largest market for cheese, behind the U.S. Imported cheese is covering a large part of the natural cheese market in Japan for direct consumption and this segment is expanding thanks to the growing wine market in Japan, especially among young people. The use is also expanding from pizza to different kinds of western food. The recent growing wine consumption among Japanese consumers has prompted stable growth in cheese, as it is widely perceived that cheese goes well with wine. The cheese consumption, however, is still very low as Japanese eat on average only about 2.44 kilos per person and year. To read the report, please click below:

Cheese Market in Japan

Coming 'EPA Helpdesk' Webinars on Food & Drinks topics: