Furthermore, Meiji is well-known as a major confectionery manufacturer in Japan, with the focus lying on the production of chocolate. Its portfolio encompasses filled and covered products, as well as bean to bar chocolate. At the forefront stands the in-house brand ‘meiji THE Chocolate’.
The food manufacturing industry is one of the largest in Japan, with the second highest number of establishments operating within the manufacturing sector. The industry leaders emerged predominantly from the alcoholic beverage industry, with breweries expanding their businesses into food processing. Prominent examples include, among others, Asahi Group Holdings Co., Ltd. producing convenience food and Kirin Holdings Co., Ltd. entering the health food market through affiliated companies.
Other major manufacturers like Meiji or Ezaki Glico Co., Ltd. entered as confectionery companies and expanded their businesses into the production of processed and convenience food.
Even though Japan is known for its lively foodservice sector offering freshly prepared meals, the shift of the Japanese lifestyle towards long working hours coupled with less time spent at home favored a growing packaged ready-meal market. In particular, frozen food products are gaining in popularity among consumers, with a survey revealing that the majority consume frozen food at least two to three times a month.
To address the growing health consciousness among consumers in Japan, major food manufacturers are entering the domestic health food market. Meiji Holdings expanded their dairy line-up to include functional products targeted at elderly people. And to appeal to the snacking habits of adult consumers, the confectionery company marketed chocolate with high cocoa content for its health benefits.
Driven by the demand for a healthier lifestyle without the need to change current consumption habits, the sales of packaged food in the Japanese health and wellness market was forecasted to grow continuously in the future, exceeding 20 billion U.S. dollars from 2021 onwards.