According to the OTA, Japan maintains a market size for organic packaged food and beverages of US$645.2 million in 2015, which is 1.9% of global category sales. Despite the large market size, Japan will experience slow forecast growth of sales of organic packaged foods and beverages, at 0.8% from 2015–2020.
Consumer Preferences & Channels
Organic is not as well known in Japan compared to comparable countries. Just 5% of consumers have an accurate understanding of the term.
Consumers are 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.
Japan is a major importer of food in general with relatively very small domestic cultivation. No major supermarket or outlet is really pushing organic, though it is widely available if not largely so, with brands beginning to become more established. Cooperative Unions such as Mother’s Organic Market are earning more toward dedicated offerings.
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)
Soil Association Certification offer various packages of support to help businesses understand complaince with additional requirements, such as JAS. Find our more.
Sources & Links to Further Info