According to Global organic Trade OTA the total market size for organic packaged food and beverages in Japan in 2017 is US$597.4M, making it the 13th largest market in the world by value.
With little domestic production and tough import regulation, despite the large market size, Japan will experience slow forecast growth of sales of organic packaged foods and beverages, at 0- 0.8% from 2015–2020.
Consumer Preferences & Channels
Organic packaged food remains a niche market in Japan, and products are typically premium-priced. Organic is not as well known in Japan compared to comparable countries. Just 5% of consumers have an accurate understanding of the term.
in 2015 consumers were split as to motives for buying: 44% a reduction in food additives, 41% food safety, 36% taste/quality. Around two thirds of consumers buy organic at least once a month, and about 20% once a week and stated they would be likely to increase their spending.
There is more competition for organic from ‘natural’ or ‘pesticide free’ types of green marketing than in most other countries. Popular purchases are coffee, nuts, soya products. The mark up for organic is higher than comparable products in US/EU.
Products covered by JAS organic standards are vegetable/plant based only, so meat or other animal products are not covered in the scope, nor are alcoholic beverages. Organic is not usually sold as a major category in supermarkets, more as an ad-hoc offering.
According to the OTA, artisan producers account for the largest market share with 24.2% of total sales, followed by Gruppo Alce Nero and Takanashi Dairy Co Ltd. No major supermarket or outlet was driving organic in 2015,but with brands beginning to become more established, this may change.
Equivalence means product can be exported to Japan without certification. However, Eligible products need to carry the JAS seal.
Direct certification in the UK is possible and Soil Association Certification are able to conduct inspections to JAS. A JAS certifier in Japan must still carry out the final certification. Alternativley, a certified import may apply JAS in Japan, or your UK operation may, underst ceratin conditions, apply the JAS seal by arrangement with a certified importer (subject to contract, training, agreed responsibilities)
From Thursday 16th July 2020, organic livestock products and/or products containing ingredients derived from livestock bound for Japan will need to display the Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) logo. Compliance must be overseen by a JAS accredited certification body. For Soil Association Certification clients, our partners, Ecocert Japan, can provide the necessary approval. While no inspection is necessary, there are some actions businesses will need to take.
Soil Association Certification offer various packages of support to help businesses understand compliance with additional requirements, such as JAS. Find our more.
Sources & Links to Further Info