Japan continues to be one of the biggest retail markets in the world. In fact, it is the second biggest market with more than 127 million consumers worldwide. While China remains to be the marketing giant with tons of factories worldwide, Japan is considered to be responsible for more than 55% of the whole Asian retail market. The country is also responsible for the highest demand for food importations.
In the recent years, trends in the food industry showed promising growth. New retail ideas are continuously being created to meet new demands.
Healthy or Functional Food
The demand for nutrionally balanced food has increased due to the interest of those who aged 50, as well as for the adult women. Healthy foods also became a trend for the emerging middle class young professionals, who are looking for healthy alternatives while keeping up with their hectic lifestyles.
Home Meal Replacements
Prepared meals sold at retail stores and groceries continue to increase in sales. This is not only in Japan, but for all counries. In particular, major cities with urban household opt to buy ready-to-eat meals. The growth of home meal replacements is also due to the increase of Japanese households eating at home and two demographic sectors. Japan’s population is aging faster than any in the world, and many elderly do not have the ability to drive or travel far to buy groceries. As a result, many get their daily meals from the local convenience stores. Likewise, young professionals who live alone or with roommates often don’t cook and almost exclusively eat out.
Frozen foods have also gained a large presence in the HMR market. “Thaw and Serve Bento” are lunches that are bought frozen in the morning, and by lunchtime are thawed and ready to eat. Many versions of home meal replacement frozen foods are trending in Japan now with prepared foods composing 56.8% of the frozen food market. Some examples of these foods include cooked rice dishes, Asian and Western noodles, breads, and fish. Frozen vegetables also experience a large increase in terms of sales since the start of 2011.
Desserts and Sweets
Desserts and sweets are now becoming an important section in every convenience store. The expanding retail presence of “delicatessen” in supermarkets, department stores, and convenience stores continue to be one of the most important parts of the retail convenience store. You can see popular convenience stores in Asian countries like the Philippines that sell ice cream, baked goods and other chocolate delicacies. Convenience stores such as 7-Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson created sweets that targets not just women but for men as well.
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