Meat self-sufficiencyLike the majority of agricultural products in Japan, the livestock industry is unable to cover the domestic demand, with the self-sufficiency ratio remaining barely above 50 percent in recent years. To meet the growing consumer interest, the meat industry has become reliant on imported products.
Among the leading supplier countries of meat products to Japan, the United States represent the most important trading partners of the archipelago, especially in the trade of beef and veal. To strengthen bilateral trade of agricultural products with other regions, Japan entered trade agreements with the U.S. and the European Union and opened up the meat market to foreign exporters.
Domestic meat marketThe domestic market can be broken down into the main meat types: poultry, pork, beef and veal, lamb, and turkey, as well as other meats like horse. While white meat is considered a low-fat source of protein, red meats are predominantly in demand for containing high amounts of iron. In particular, poultry and pork constitute the staple products of the Japanese market, making up more than half of meat sales.
However, despite the increasing trend in meat consumption, a meat-free market is developing in the country, stimulated by the entrance of major domestic meat manufacturers. While the industry introduced its line of meatless cutlets, burger patties, and minced meat, consumers are still hesitating to fully change their dietary habits. Even though an increasing health awareness is stimulating the interest in vegetarian alternatives, only a minority would consume plant-based alternatives as a substitute for meat.