During the forecast period, demand in the Japan pulses production market is expected to see further declines, with a total volume CAGR of -3% expected during the forecast period. Declines are expected in part due to the ageing and declining Japanese population and changing preferences which are counting against traditional Japanese sweets.
Red beans are typically processed into paste and used in the confectionary/cake industry. More than 90% of red beans produced in Japan or imported from abroad are used to make an, a sweet bean paste made up of beans, sugar and water. This sweetened bean paste is popular as a filling for snack buns, cakes, steamed dumplings and doughnuts. One of the common uses of an is in dorayaki snack cakes. An is also used with sticky rice to form traditional sweets called wagashi.
Whilst sales of beans have been on the decline there is some hope for the industry based on health as they contain a high level of soluble fibre and thus can aid regular bowel function. Beans are also seen as being rich in vitamin B1, vitamin B3 and niacin and low in sodium and are believed to reduce and to help prevent high blood pressure. Japanese consumers are widely aware of these health benefits and they have been popularised in the increasingly widespread use of daizu for low-calorie noodles suitable for diabetics, for example.
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