In terms of consumption, the Japan vegetables production market continued to see a moderate decrease, registering a CAGR of -1% between 2007 and 2012, which is fairly representative of wider demographic issues such as the declining population in absolute numbers, rapidly ageing population and the propensity for age groups at both ends of the spectrum to cook less frequently in the home. Processed ready meals have grown as a result, born out of convenience for younger age groups and necessity for a growing portion of older residents who rely on "meals on wheels" services as their powers of looking after themselves decline.
Japan also has a relatively high rate of vegetable consumption by international standards, this in spite of "eye wateringly" high unit prices which can see a lettuce sell for anything up to US$3 at the height of the summer season and frequently sees this staple sold on shelves in halves and even quarters in an effort to keep prices more tolerable. On average, Japanese eat about 100kg of vegetables per year, which is roughly 50% higher than their US counterparts, more in keeping with European averages in fresh vegetable consumption.
Total volume sales of fresh vegetables are expected to continue declining over the forecast period at a CAGR of -1% reaching 12.2 million tonnes in 2017. As in other categories the decline will largely come as a result of the declining Japanese population, which will decline by something similar to this 1% rate over the same period. Cauliflowers and broccoli and tomatoes are expected to see the only positive CAGRs of less than 1% between 2012 and 2017.
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