Japanese enjoy more meat and poultry at home

In 2020, chicken accounted for 44% (up 4% from 2019) of household meat consumption. Photo: Max Griss
In 2020, chicken accounted for 44% (up 4% from 2019) of household meat consumption. Photo: Max Griss

In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a notable household consumption for meat products among Japanese consumers and a strong preference for home meals, confirming that consumers shifted to increased retail purchases of meat products for household consumption.

Data released from Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced the breakdown of meat consumption in 2020. While meat consumption in restaurants and other food service establishments decreased, the percentage of household consumption increased for all livestock species, including chicken, beef and pork.

Food processing and retail market

The strong stay-at-home dining demand in Japan relied heavily on the food processing and the retail market to meet its meat consumption demand. In 2020, pork was the most popular meat in homes, accounting for 54% of household consumption (up 4% from 2019), followed by chicken, which accounted for 44% (up 4% from 2019) and beef 33% (up 3% from 2019). Meanwhile, consumption in the food service sector saw beef consumption at 58% (down 6%), followed by chicken at 49% (down 4%), and pork at 23% (down 4%).

Home meal replacements

Recent statistics from Japan’s Chain Store Association in July 2022 indicated that total sales of livestock products across Japan’s 10,838 retail stores totalled JP¥86,152 million (€620 million), which is a slight decrease of 1.4% compared to the same month of the previous year.

In addition to meat product sales, the Japan Chain Stores Association also reported that total food sales in July 2022 decreased slightly by 0.2%. One of the product categories that saw an increase was sales of Home Meal Replacements, which increased 1.4% in July 2022.

The semi state of emergency status was lifted in October 2021, and demand for eating out has been recovering despite Japan’s 7th wave of Covid-19. The foodservice segments have experienced increasing sales of western style fast food and at yakiniku restaurants that use a variety of meat products.

Natalie Kinsley Freelance journalist