The nation’s chocolate confectionery market recorded a six percent value growth in 2016 to reach ¥552 billion (US$4.9 billion) in retail sales. The market is forecast to reach US$6.13 billion in 2021.
Despite the decline in the Japanese population, the market has been recording positive growth in both retail volume and value since 2013. This positive growth is supported by a growing awareness among Japanese consumers about the health benefits of chocolate, which have often been featured in local media over the past few years.
Polyphenol, which is found in cacao, is effective for improving health as it contains a balance of minerals—such as calcium, iron and magnesium—which is effective in reducing blood pressure, preventing arteriosclerosis, obesity and cancer, and minimising the level of stress and the effects of allergy and rheumatism. In addition, protein in cacao is effective for improving digestive health.
Meiji Company Limited is set to retain its leading position in the chocolate confectionery market in Japan, with a 12 percent retail value share in 2016 due to its strong presence in many chocolate confectionery categories. The company succeeded in promoting the health benefits of cacao and reversed the idea of eating chocolate among Japanese consumers from negative to positive by using scientific evidence from the company’s research.
Manufacturers in Japan are expected to continue to develop products that emphasise the health benefits of cacao over the forecast period.