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Reviewing Japan's consumption changes, a glimpse of how China's consumer goods market can traverse the cycle

Dairy Product

 Japan has seen rapid growth in two categories of fermented milk (mainly yogurt) and cream cheese products in recent years, and In-mold labelling yogurt cups and plastic cream cheese cups have been widely used.

The trend in the development of dairy products is that the added value is becoming more and more evident, and the role of delicate outer packaging must be played by In-mold labeling thin-walled containers.


One of the great features of dairy products is that they reach a wide range of people. Lactose tolerant people can use it as a drink or as breakfast, IML packaging widely application, growing together with the consumer Preference. Compared to beverages, dairy products have a wider range of users, higher nutritional value, and milder taste, making them a rare and non-selective category.

Dairy products have undergone localized development in Japan and have emerged as a segmented dairy product for different groups of people, becoming a category that crosses economic cycles, IML containers have a ignificant contribution to cost savings.

2、Refinement and functionalization

From Morinaga Aloe Beauty cup Yogurt, to Meiji's PA-3 Anti-Gout Yogurt, to Snow Seal's Reduced Visceral Fatty Acid Yogurt, new yogurt products have always captured the pain points of national health and become a model of functional food everyday.

In addition, the exquisite taste, local ingredients, seasonal restrictions, beautiful packaging and the perfect blend of foreign and Japanese styles all reflect the unique thinking and innovative level of Japanese yogurt companies.

The three giants of Japanese dairy products (Meiji, Snowmark and Morinaga) have a great understanding of how to adapt to the development of society and how to gradually localize foreign foods, and how to use the properly outer packaging, so that the consumption level and innovation level of Japanese yogurt are at the top of Asia, and their market insight, tireless scientific research and polishing of product details are the basis for Japan to become a developed country of yogurt, and worthy of our serious study.

At the consumer level, the Japanese yogurt industry has started to evolve from mass consumption to individual consumption, showing a trend of personalization, diversification, high-end and customized packaging for branding.
Japanese yogurt and winning key factors: ingredients and flavor and foreign blend to create a unique Japanese yogurt; health care functional group products shine, middle-aged and female groups as the target group,Small and delicate and beautifully decorated by in-mold packaging, more shows the high quality of the product, precipitate probiotic strains of basic research.


Beverage consumption is not affected by economic cycles (immediate demand, low unit price, convenience at your fingertips).

The top 3 beverage industry categories in Japan in the past 20 years: tea drinks packed by IML tea cups, mineral water/carbonated drinks, coffee drinks packed by plastic coffee cups. Sugar-free beverages (tea beverages, mineral water, black coffee) account for more than 50% of the market size, and the trend of healthiness is obvious. Sales efficiency and elimination rates differ between categories.

Innovation in the beverage industry is focused on taste, texture, and function innovation.


Japan has seen rapid growth in two categories of fermented milk (mainly yogurt) and cream cheese products in recent years, and in-mold sticker yogurt cups and plastic cheese cups have been widely used.

The trend in the development of dairy products is that the added value is becoming more and more evident, and the role of delicate outer packaging must be played by in-mold sticker thin-walled containers.


Japan's consumption of bread has exceeded that of rice, the staple food, since 2005. Also spending on the bakery snack category is twice as much as bread, which is related to the rising employment spending power of Japanese women and the clear trend of snacking on bakery.

o Baking needs to be based on localization. Japanese people like to eat snack bread more than Western-style snacks, belonging to the combination of staple food and baking category, represented by products such as red bean buns, pineapple buns, cream buns with filling. Localized bread still dominates the market.

Innovation, not just category, taste innovation, low threshold is easy to be imitated, not easy to bring high profits.

The development of China's bread industry started with westernized cakes 20 years ago. However, localized bakery brands, such as DaoXiangCun, LuxiHe, ZhanJi, NanYang and other Chinese bakery, still dominate the market in terms of the number of chain stores.

From this point of view, the development of both Japanese and Chinese bakery is based on localization.

However, Japanese baking is not a pure copy of Western-style bread in the process of modern westernization. As an example.

During the Meiji period, when European yeast was not yet widely available, baker Eizaburo Kimura made bread using the sake variety of wagashi confectionery "sake bun" and changed the European filling to the traditional red bean filling (eating red beans at that time was a symbol of elegance), accompanied by the Japanese specialty of pickled cherry blossoms, which was well received by the emperor and became popular. Later on, with the promotion of society and culture, bread developed into a food that can be used as a staple food, can be eaten as a snack, and can be made into a dessert, with a very strong accumulation of localization.

Japanese food culture is more transient compared to China, but Japan is still at the forefront of food research and development. Nowadays, the revival of traditional Chinese confectionery, mainly in the traditional categories of peach puffs, cakes and puffs, is focused on "western desserts in the making", with innovations in the selection of ingredients, but still not enough in the excavation of traditional aspects.


Processed Products

The market size of the prepared staple food category showed growth, accounting for more than 40% of overall prepared food spending.

The growth of frozen processed foods is mainly driven by non-fried products at the 2C end. The overall growth trend of various traditional products in the staple food category (noodles, fried rice, dumplings) in the non-fried frozen food category is obvious.

The trend of externalization of diet is obvious.


Processed foods, because of their convenience, ready-to-eat and quickness, are very popular in Japan, just like the dumplings are packed by dumplings plastic container.

And a clear trend is the externalization of food and drink, i.e., solving a meal away from home rather than cooking one at home. For example, eating out, take-out, and taking home processed food from convenience stores are all examples of externalization of eating.

More people are choosing to eat by dining out at restaurants, eating take-out by take out containers, and taking ready-to-eat food from convenience stores. Nissin's ramen, rice balls, and other self-heating or cold food products are becoming increasingly popular.

The social reason for the emergence of externalization of food and drink is that the cost of taking out food and drink products to fix a meal is lower than the cost of cooking a meal at home. With high labor costs in Japan, there is more room for more efficient production and cost optimization of ready-to-eat foods. In the long run, whether consumers choose to consume food and beverage or processed food is essentially a mutual game of price and taste. Who can win depends on the respective capabilities of catering companies and food processing companies.


As a category operator, in the early stage of business, you need to think deeply about the category you choose, whether it can carry the demand for innovation, whether it can be deep plowing. In the process of starting a business, you need to continue to think about how the vitality of the category can be stronger, how to carry more innovative points, which is a continuous process of deep plowing and sublimation.

For example, milk, you can continue to create product differentiation and functionality. For example, essence, continue to create R & D barriers, brand barriers. And the emergence of baked red bean bag, also exists on the fermentation innovation, traditional ingredients borrowed. But process innovation is easily imitated, hence the low industry concentration.

In the OCC's 2021 Global Top 50 FMCG Companies report, Yili, with a market capitalization of $200 billion, was named the largest FMCG company (except for supply chain company Shenzhou International). Dairy is a single product that covers the entire age spectrum. In the economically underdeveloped years, Yili occupied the minds of the parents' generation, and he represented the classics. In the years of economic take-off, Yili has introduced many new products through continuous innovation, and continues to occupy the minds of the new generation of young people. Today, most Chinese consumers are still attracted to Yili.

This is what many new consumer companies need to slowly build up. Many "expensive" brands, through the momentary marketing, close to the eyes of consumers, but there is still a distance to go into the hearts of consumers.

In the long journey of a big brand, there will be many problems, but also opportunities. Consumer goods companies cannot be discouraged during the economic downturn. These are the worst of times, but also the best of times. The process of branding through the cycle is also the process of gaining hearts and minds, a process that is close to the "Tao". As in the case of Kawa's portfolio company Dongpeng Special Drink, sending drinks to truck drivers during the epidemic is also an expression of getting into the hearts of consumers.

The wave of new domestic consumer brand start-ups began to explode in 2019. Without experiencing a complete cycle, short iteration, which needs to give the new consumer companies some time. I believe that in the near future, we will be able to see the birth of many new domestic consumer brands that transcend the cycle. How long is this time, we will see.

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No. 9 Longkun road, Longchi development zone, Taiwanese investment zone, Zhangzhou, Fujian, China