Health perception of chocolate drives sales in Japan: Euromonitor

By Douglas Yu contact

- Last updated on GMT

Euromonitor says high cocoa chocolate products are well received in Japan.  Photo: ©iStock/violet-blue
Euromonitor says high cocoa chocolate products are well received in Japan. Photo: ©iStock/violet-blue
The percieved health benefits of cocoa among Japanese consumers continues to drive the domestic chocolate market, according to a report by Euromonitor International.

For a long time in Japan, eating chocolate has been perceived as unhealthy, the market data provider said. However, more scientific studies suggesting polyphenols in cocoa are beneficial for health are featured in the local media.

Aging population

“Consumers, especially the elderly, continue to purchase chocolate with high cocoa content,” ​Euromonitor said. “Within tablets, while milk chocolate and white chocolate recorded lower growth, dark chocolate performed strongly.”

The growing dark chocolate consumption by elderly Japanese consumers reflects the country’s aging population, Euromonitor said.

“As the Japanese population is rapidly aging, health concerns continue to grow, as well as the idea of maintaining health through food.”

“While during the early review period, chocolate with high cocoa content was almost limited to tablet products, a number of new high cocoa chocolate products with fruits, nuts, biscuits or a sweeter center were launched later on,”​ Euromonitor added.

Those new products were well received among Japanese consumers, Euromonitor said.

Growth of special coating for anti-melting

Chocolate products with special coating for anti-melting also posted rapid growth in Japan, and they contributed to a rise in sales in chocolate pouches and bags, Euromonitor said.

The demand for the special coating is primarily driven by office workers, Euromonitor explained. “Unlike the traditional shell type coating, this new coating technology allows consumers to hold chocolate without melting, yet delivers a smooth melting texture in the mouth.”

“For example, sales of the Galbo brand from Meiji increased in 2017 thanks to significant support from both working men and women in the office who enjoy a quick snack without making a mess,”​ Euromonitor said.

“New products launched during the review period with this special anti-melt coating made claims such as ‘not sticky for your fingers’ and ‘will not melt on your fingers’ to attract consumers seeking convenience.”

Value sales of chocolate confectionery rose by 5% to JPY 555bn ($5bn) in 2017 in Japan, Euromonitor said. 

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