Hot Trends in Food and Drinks in Japan

Date: January 22, 2011
Pages: 117
US$ 2,875.00
Publisher: Business Insights
Report type: Strategic Report
Delivery: E-mail Delivery (PDF)

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Hot Trends in Food and Drinks in Japan
Japanese food and drinks manufacturers continue to produce some of the most novel products on the market. With similar overall trends driving the global industry, European and US markets will be heavily influenced by this innovation. This report assesses how innovation in the Japanese food and drinks industry is influencing European and US markets. Global manufacturers are faced with the challenge of interpreting Japanese trends before considering whether they will translate into other markets despite cultural differences and variations in regional regulation.

Scope of this research
  • Gain key insight and understanding into Japanese food and drink innovation and learn how such trends can be interpreted for use in Western markets.
  • Improve the targeting and effectiveness of your NPD strategy based on the analysis of over 6,000 products launched between 2006-10.
  • Identify the key trends driving innovation in Japanese food and drinks.
  • Understand how regulation and other market pressures are influencing NPD and learn how manufacturers are adjusting their strategies.
  • Predict future opportunities in the Japanese food and drinks market.
Research and analysis highlights

Many product innovations launched in Japan within the food and drinks markets have gone global, particularly in the functional food industry. Functional products are generally becoming more targeted in their health claims in order to address specific consumer demand and separate from other areas of the market.

Japanese consumers are particularly accepting of new types of health food and drink, making it a hotspot for innovation. According to the OECD, Japan is the "oldest" nation, and its aging population has been a key factor driving uptake of health-targeting products

Manufacturers have responded to the individualistic demands of consumers through initiatives such as crowdsourcing. Rather than address general trends like health and wellness, Japanese manufacturers target very specific groups, such as students that are due to sit exams or elderly consumers that want to enhance their cognitive health.

Key reasons to purchase this research
  • What are the key innovations currently impacting Japanese food and drink markets?
  • Which new product categories could become successful in the US and Europe?
  • What are the limitations of Japanese trends crossing over into other markets?
  • How is the recession impacting Japanese new product development?
  • What does the future hold for Japanese new product development?

About the author
Executive summary
Japan as an innovation hotspot
Innovation in health and wellness
Innovation in sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly products
Innovation in indulgent products
Innovation in convenience food


Established as a trendsetter
Innovation in the recession
Learning from Japanese innovation
Key innovation hotspot areas


Japan as a health focused society
Japanese aging consumers embrace health oriented behavior
The founding nation of functional food
Ingredient innovation in functional foods
FOSHU, Japan’s official health food accreditation system
Econa case study: regaining consumer trust in FOSHU labeling
Limitations to functional food global growth
Obesity concerns slim Japanese
Metabo case study: addressing metabolic syndrome
Metabo food and drink
SSP functional drink
Nippon Milk
Pokka RTD coffee
Other countries can learn from Japan’s experiences with regulating obesity
Restaurants have also addressed Japanese desires to eat healthily
Mega-burger case study: addressing a healthy eating backlash with high calorie foods
Women’s specific weight and beauty concerns in Japan
Japanese young women desire slim figures
Beauty foods gaining in popularity
Collagen cuisine case study: successfully targeting anti-aging concerns with nutraceuticals
Beauty drinks have been launched that contain some unusual extracts
Beauty foods have been less successful outside of Asia
Cognitive health products in Japan
Exam foods as good luck charms and brain health aids
Cognitive products for the elderly
Functional product claims are becoming more specific
Eye health products have targeted computer users
Joint health products have targeted the active elderly


Japan is a highly eco-aware society
The Kyoto Agreement drew attention to Japan’s environmental commitment
Recycling and reduction initiatives tackle packaging waste
Novel packaging to address environmental issues
Natural based packaging showcased at 11th Eco-Products Exhibition
Eco-clip offers greener easy opening benefits
Lightweight packaging case study: reducing carbon emissions in packaging
Suntory’s Tennensui lighter plastic bottle mineral water
Fujiya’s juice drink in a cardboard can
Ezaki Pos-Ca chewing gum’s Eco Pouch
LOHAS and the link between ethical and healthy positioning
Coca-Cola Japan case study: switching to greener packaging
Coca-Cola Japan’s new environmental principles
I LOHAS branded water links health and environmental benefits
I LOHAS bottle switched from lightweight plastic to plant based material
I LOHAS promotes easy packaging disposal
The product has been a resounding success
Locally produced products address carbon footprint concerns
City sourced food case study: carbon footprint and regional pride
City farms promote pride and ethical satisfaction
Tokyo Milk uses milk sourced from a unique city based dairy
Cafes are displaying green lanterns to denote their use of local ingredients
Japan’s philanthropy is expanding
Charitable products case study: donating profits to charity
Greener Planet wine donates to an international water charity
UUCS juice gives to a Japanese forestry charity
Ezaki Glico donates a specific amount of its chewing gum sales to charity


Asia Pacific consumers are avid sensation-seekers
Recent flavor innovations
Soy flavored candies
Flavor experimentation within global brands
PepsiCo’s novel drink flavors
Case study: Kit Kat Japan embraces consumer individualistic needs
Kit Kat’s prolific regional flavors
Kit Kat postable boxes
Kit Kat exam good luck charms
Nestle’s deep understanding of the local market
Cultural preferences could prevent worldwide success
Jelly drinks case study: popular in Japan but not internationally
Jelly drinks’ versatility appeals to various consumer groups
Jelly drinks are still rare outside of Asia Pacific
Japanese obsession with beautiful packaging
Adults embrace the past with product choices
Adult candies
Food services for adult gamers
Retro packaged food and drink
The appeal of historic figures
Crowdsourcing and consumer involvement


Working hours in Japan are long, driving convenience food sales
Vending machines address consumer convenience demands
Vending machines offer fresh food alternative to junk food
Coca-Cola has developed solar paneled vending machines
Draft beer vending machines provide a premium vending experience
New developments in vending have given rise to more personal machines
On-the-go foods
Homemade bentos fulfill desire for attractive and convenient lunches
Anime characters help bento foods appeal to children
Commuters are well catered for with healthy, ready made bento boxes
Instant noodles emerge in novel flavors, healthier formats
Street food popularity inspires manufacturers
The recession prompts growth of restaurant style ready meals
Portion sizes are decreasing to cater for smaller households


Barriers to transferring Japanese product innovation abroad
Hot Japanese trends with global potential


Figure 1: The number of innovative product launches has recently dropped in Japan
Figure 2: A selection of innovative launches in Japan, 2009-10
Figure 3: Japan’s aging population
Figure 4: Econa oil was withdrawn from market over health fears
Figure 5: Econa scandal caused fall in FOSHU labeled products
Figure 6: Top claims in FOSHU tagged product launches, Oct 2009-Oct 2010
Figure 7: The Soya Farm yogurt has a FOSHU approved claim for reducing cholesterol
Figure 8: Recaldent has FOSHU backing that it enhances the health of teeth
Figure 9: SSP Kaizen Seikatsu Meta Boy claims to improve the metabolism
Figure 10: Megmilk Free Yogurt utilizes probiotics as a Metabo fighter
Figure 11: Pokka Coffee addresses Metabo with a no added sugar or fat claim
Figure 12: Medical specialists helped plan Tokyo Food Theater 5+1 menu
Figure 13: Mega burgers provide a contrast to Japan’s obsession with healthy foods
Figure 14: House Ukon no Chikara Ukon Ekisu Drink Cassis Orange Aji
Figure 15: Knorr Soup Pasta Instant Soup, Bishoku Yasai Cream
Figure 16: Lotte Green Gum
Figure 17: Collagen nabe is growing in popularity
Figure 18: Kabaya Foods produces a range of gummy candies that contain collagen
Figure 19: Be Collagen and The Placenta are unusual collagen drinks
Figure 20: Brain health-based claims for products launched in Japan (%), 2008–2010
Figure 21: AGF Blendy Coffees claim to boost concentration
Figure 22: Myojo Foods’ noodle soups are targeted at exam taking students
Figure 23: Nestle’s Kit Kat Milk Coffee is designed for exam taking students
Figure 24: Cadbury’s Recaldent Kamu Power claims to encourage brain activity
Figure 25: A selection of lutein containing products launched in Japan
Figure 26: Glucosamine fortified drinks and yogurts have emerged in Japan
Figure 27: Maruha Nichiro Food’s high calcium sausages have a bone health claim
Figure 28: The pura mark denotes that a packaging is recyclable
Figure 29: Eco-Clips have been used as a sealant on products instead of a steal clip
Figure 30: Products have utilized lightweight packaging to gain an ethical benefit
Figure 31: Coca Cola has embraced sustainability in Japan with I LOHAS water
Figure 32: A carbon labeling scheme began in Japan in 2008
Figure 33: Locally sourced milk, soy sauce and green tea products
Figure 34: Tokyo Milk is sold in 7-11 stores only in Tokyo
Figure 35: Charity giving brands are gaining popularity in Japan
Figure 36: Unusual flavors appeal to Japanese experimental tastes
Figure 37: Soy sauce confectionery is popular in Japan
Figure 38: Pepsi has launched its cola in unusual baobab and azuki flavors in Japan
Figure 39: Kit Kat is available in a variety of regional flavors in Japan
Figure 40: The Kit Kat map highlights where each flavor can be found in Japan
Figure 41: Nestle has capitalized on its Kit Kat name with an exam targeted product
Figure 42: Leading countries in jelly drink launches, by SKU, 2008-10
Figure 43: Meiji Seika’s Meiji Perfect Plus Tetsu Kei Prune Jelly
Figure 44: Ready to drink tea and coffee varieties of jelly drink
Figure 45: Kagome’s Kagome Yasai Shibori Tomato Jelly Drink
Figure 46: Suntory Otona No Dessert - Zeitaku Gelee no O-sake
Figure 47: Jelly drinks have emerged with proposed weight management properties
Figure 48: Jelly drinks for kids and teenagers are growing in popularity in Japan
Figure 49: Jelly drinks have been launched outside Asia Pacific sporadically
Figure 50: SUKK energy drink has been launched in the UK
Figure 51: Bonbon au Chocolat Drink Chocolate are hot chocolate individual sachets
Figure 52: Coco de Mer chocolates are presented in luxury packaging
Figure 53: Morinaga’s Valentine’s bars have a novel reversed label
Figure 54: Naoto Fukasawa has launched a banana juice in banana packaging
Figure 55: The Mugen Tokoroten is an agar-based snack for adults
Figure 56: Products have emerged in retro packaging celebrating the past
Figure 57: Dydo’s Hukkokudo Hero series
Figure 58: New product types have been chosen using crowd sourcing techniques
Figure 59: Fresh food vending includes bananas
Figure 60: Refrigerated vending machines selling eggs in Japan
Figure 61: Coca Cola has introduced a vending machine with solar panels
Figure 62: Draft beer vending machines have appeared in Japan
Figure 63: Smart vending machines in Tokyo train station recognize the age and sex of user
Figure 64: Consumers are looking for bentos with an attractive presentation
Figure 65: This product offers a fun bentos topping designed to appeal to kids
Figure 66: A ready made bentos range designed for commuters
Figure 67: Cheese and Italian flavored noodles offer unusual fast food options
Figure 68: Nissin Light Cup Noodles are promoted as being healthier noodles
Figure 69: Hakata street stall style fried ramen have appeared in stores
Figure 70: EG S&B Foods’ Pasta sauce from fully booked restaurants
Figure 71: Kewpie saw an increase in sales when it reduced its salad dressing volume
Figure 72: Key innovation trends in Japanese food and drinks


Table 1: Key areas covered in this report
Table 2: Leading claims in food and drinks launches in Japan, 2009 and 2010
Table 3: Up and coming functional ingredients in Japanese food and drink
Table 4: Prevalence of obesity (BMI at lease 30 kg/m²) in adults across the seven major markets (%), 2010
Table 5: Metabo product launches in Japan by category, Oct 2009- Oct 2010
Table 6: Application of Japanese trends in Europe and North America
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