When exploring East Asian markets for the export of British food and drink products, Japan is one of the leading countries in the region to consider.
As the world’s third largest economy, and second largest food market, Japan presents tremendous opportunities for British food and drink businesses. Japan’s domestic food and drink market is very robust and offers a wide selection of high-quality goods. However, foreign foods are equally as popular and the demand for UK food and drink in particular is ever increasing.
Why Is Japan An Attractive Export Market For British Food & Drink Brands?
Japan’s population is largely fed by food imports from the rest of the world. Japan only produces 39% of the food it consumes, therefore it is vital for them to import food and drink products from other countries, including the UK.
In 2020 the UK officially signed a free trade agreement with Japan, marking a historic moment, as the UK’s first major trade deal since Brexit, as an independent trading nation. The deal is tailored to both economies and has has huge benefits for the food and drink industry. The estimated boost to trade between the UK and Japan is over £15bn.
In 2021 the UK secured market access to Japan for imports of UK poultry meat, opening up fresh possibilities for British farmers, producers and exporters. This agreement could be worth up to £13m annually.
Japan is well known for its strict regulations on food safety and imports, as well as its preference for premium, diverse cuts of meat. The establishment of this market for British fresh and cooked poultry products demonstrates the high standards of the UK poultry industry.
With Japan’s consumption of poultry on the rice and it’s focus on dependable, attractive new products, this market is on track to grow significantly over the next few years and is a promising new target for British poultry meat exporters.
What Food & Drink Does Japan Import?
The most popular food and drink products in recent years, that have been imported from the UK are those that buyers can immediately associate with Britain, such as black teas, whiskies, biscuits, and Scottish smoked salmon. In particular, the market for British beer is expanding as the Japanese public become more aware of UK quality. Market entry is more challenging for products like pasta sauces or olive oils which don’t have an association with Britain. Every year the Department for International Trade lead a delegation of British companies at Asia’s biggest food and drink trade show, Foodex, to raise awareness for distributors and consumers.
In 2018 pork products unexpectedly accounted for £3.2bn of Japan’s total food imports, with frozen fish coming in close behind at £2.5bn. Corn came next, with a value of £2.5bn, then frozen fish which had a similar value. Lobster and crab came in fifth place with sales of £1.7bn, followed by beef at £1.5bn. Preserved fish products such as sardines and caviar and wine both had values of £1.27bn each.
Export British Food & Drink To Japan With Leverbrook
At Leverbrook Export, we have decades of experience exporting British food and drink products to East Asia, including Japan. We can help you every step of the way, from initial market research to product compliance, documentation, and logistics.
Our relationships with port authorities, logistics operators, and distributors across the region mean that we can offer you a hassle-free and end-to-end service, leaving you to focus on what you do best.