How COVID-19 affected retail food segments in Japan recently?

Now it may be an excellent time to promote your brand in Japanese retail if you are in the business of selling alcoholic beverages, pasta or cooking oil. According to the results of the latest household consumption survey, in May Japanese households consumed about 25% more of the food items mentioned above than the same month last year.1 This change generates additional attention to retail food brands in the relevant categories.

As an example, there were increased sales of higher-priced beer products in convenience stores. The recently popular virtual drinking parties provide an excellent reason to pick an exciting beverage brand. It is not only fun to try a new taste, but it is also entertaining when you start the conversation with a few comments about an exclusive imported craft beer.2

Now more people eat and cook at home. While in Japan, there are lots of options for instant food items that go with rice; customers may be interested in other alternatives as well. Italian cuisine is also very popular among Japanese consumers. Therefore new and exciting pasta or olive oil products could also be convenient choices. Different shapes of pasta, ready-to-eat sauces or simply smaller and more convenient packaging may become trends to focus on in the future.

Some of the large local food companies have started campaigns to encourage people to eat more at home during the pandemic. European food brands should also consider the current situation as a tailwind to strengthen their presence in the Japanese retail segment.

1households of 2 or more people; survey report released on 7 July 2020 by Statistics Bureau of Japan


TOO International provides localised and customised services that help develop and manage your markets for food and beverage products in Japan.