Japanese snacks manufacturer Ezaki Glico this week announced plans to build a biscuits and confectionery plant to serve Tokyo and surrounding markets. Here we take a closer look at the Japanese confectionery market with the help of Euromonitor’s Confectionery in Japan report.

  • The fastest growing confectionery subsector in volume terms in 2009 was twist wrapped miniatures, with an increase of 1%. This was due to the preference of consumers for convenience, as, in many cases, consumers prefer not to eat the whole product upon purchase. Seasonal chocolate saw a volume decline of 3%.
  • The leading company in chocolate confectionery is Meiji Seika Kaisha, with a 16% value share in 2008. In terms of ranking, the top five players remained the same as in 2007, and accounted for 55% of sector sales. The top five brands in chocolate confectionery also remained the same in 2008, and accounted for 27% of value sales. Meiji is the leading brand, with 12% of sector value. Kit Kat is also strong, with 6% of the sector, placing it second. Consumers tend to prefer basic items and the various seasonal limited editions launched each year.
  • The functional chocolate fad, led by products such as Glico’s Mental Balance Chocolate Gaba and Meiji Seika’s Chocolate Kouka, has more or less ended in Japan. Meanwhile, traditional milk chocolate, such as Lotte’s Ghana and Morinaga’s Milk Chocolate, has regained popularity. With the current unstable economy, consumers are shifting to standard products that have withstood the test of time, for comfort.
  • Private label products saw significant value growth in 2008, of 7%. This was due to consumers trading down to affordable family pack products. On the other hand, Ezaki Glico’s value sales declined by almost 12% due to the shift in consumer preference from functional products, such as its Gaba brand, to more basic products.
  • Chocolate confectionery value sales are predicted to decline by an annual average of 1% due to the current economic downturn. However, Japan has a more fundamental threat to growth, which is the shrinking and ageing population. As a result, overall domestic consumption will continue to decline, and chocolate confectionery is no exception.
  • Value sales are expected to drop to JPY382.8bn by 2014 from JPY400.1bn in 2009. Volume growth is predicted to slide 5.3% by 2014.