Taking a long view, the Japan meat production market has been in reasonable health, seeing volume sales increase at a CAGR of 3% over the 2007-2012 review period. The industry can be seen as being in a period of recovery following BSE and food mislabelling scandals which rocked consumer confidence in domestically produced meat as well as from the underlying suspicion with which Japanese generally greet imported products.
Beef and veal was one of the fastest-growing product categories in 2012, with a total volume growth of slightly under 2%. Lower pricing was at least part of the story, but the internationalisation of the Japanese diet and the reasonable reputation of imports from the US and Australia have helped Japanese consumers trust the imported produce more.
With evidence that the Japanese yen was in fact weakening against major international companies in the first half of 2013 this is likely to have a significant impact on food imports undermining the low pricing, which has been a key driver of growth for the past three years or so. In a deflationary marketplace pricing remains all- important and the maintenance of low pricing will be crucial in underpinning consumption in both retail and foodservice. Although meat of all varieties is forecast to increase at a CAGR of 1% between 2012 and 2017, this is dependent on keen pricing.
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