Health Food Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2021

Health Food Market Continues Expansion

Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the domestic health food market and found out the market trends by segment, the trends of market players, and the future perspectives.

Transition of Health Food Market Size
Transition of Health Food Market Size
Transition of Foods with Function Claims Market Size and Market Share by Food Category
Transition of Foods with Function Claims Market Size and Market Share by Food Category

Market Overview

The health food market for FY2019 is estimated to have risen by 0.1% to 862,300 million yen, and that for FY2020 is expected to rise by 0.7% to reach 868,010 million yen.

Mail-order companies, that chiefly sold health food products one by one via offline such as through advertisement on TVs and newspapers and drove the market in FY2019, have shown their received orders decreasing in general, indicating that the market has already passed the peak. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reduced the inbound tourism demand, which has significantly affected some companies.

For FY2020, especially in the first half of the fiscal year, many health food manufacturers and distributors have enjoyed raising the rate of acquiring new customers through offline-sales as people stayed longer hours at home, and have improved their CPO (Cost per Order) as expenses declined, because the fees for advertisement media have been reduced after many companies suppressed ad replacements as their sales performances deteriorated in the COVID-19 calamity.

When observing the market by item, products to help losing weight and proteins have shown strong sales, the former because of the demand by quarantine weight gain and the latter because of rapid increase of demand relating with exercise after the first wave of COVID-19 infections subdued. In addition, growing health consciousness in general has brought about favorable sales of vitamins and other nutrients, and of those food with function claims that have the functions of improving the users’ lifestyle-disease-prevention index which can be taken care of by measuring their own blood pressure or body fat.   

Noteworthy Topics

Market Expansion of Food with Function Claims Continues

The market size of food with function claims, based on the shipment values at manufacturers, rose by 13.5% on a YoY basis to reach 254,280 million yen for FY2019, and has been expected to rise by 11.8% on a YoY to attain 284,340 million yen for FY2020. Although some major brands that existed from the initiation of the system have shown sluggish sales due to fiercer competition, the market size have substantially expanded, because of increasing numbers of proactive applications for function claims by health food manufacturers and distributors and approvals by the authorities, accompanied by diverse product development.

When observing food with function claims by category, general food shows slower market growth when considering the number of claims accepted, because many such products have limited product life cycles, such as limited-season-only flavors.

On the other hand, supplements have two tendencies: Those that are considered as main products for sales increase tend to be proactively advertised for appealing their specific function claims, while many others are considered as one of product mix to maintain the existing users. The latter supplements may sell only a few each, but, because new products tend to be released often and because diverse products are sold currently, they have contributed in considerable market expansion, as a result. Also, spreading of function claims (for health) has also helped expanding the market.

In addition, growing number of perishables has been applied for food with function claims by producer groups and manufacturers, and has been accepted by the authorities, which has also expanded the market of food with function claims.

Future Outlook

The health food market is likely to keep the moderate rising tendency or stay flat for the time being. Spreading of the COVID-19 infections has triggered people to consider their health more seriously which drew health consciousness. Health food is expected to be used once again as a method to help support such an idea.

As attention toward healthy longevity increased by older persons who are the main users of health food, and as utilization of older generations as labor has begun due to extended retirement, the consciousness toward health maintenance and anti-aging is likely to stay high hereafter.

The market growth can also be supported by the middle-aged group, as they take measures against lifestyle diseases as well as against changes in their body with age, while the young population help grow the market by being more conscious of training themselves and by considering more about health and beauty. Expansion of functions in the Foods with Function Claims enables the users to choose from wider selections, which is expected to increase awareness of the foods as one of methods to maintain health.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: August to December 2020
2.Research Object: Health food manufacturers and distributors (health food manufacturers, general food manufacturers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers), health food organizations, and the authorities concerned
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews by the specialized researchers, interviews via telephone/mailed or emailed questionnaire, and literature research

What is Health Food?

Health food in this research indicates the food in the forms of tablets, capsules, powder, or bottled liquid, aiming for health maintenance and promotions, beauty, etc. The size of health food market in this research only includes the Foods with Function Claims (only those applied for and accepted by Consumer Affairs Agency), FOSHU (Foods for Specified Health Uses), with the forms (shapes) described above. Those that do not apply to the above description are not included.

<Products and Services in the Market>

Green Juice (Aojiru), collagen, multivitamin, glucosamine, protein, Enzyme, vitamin C, DHA/EPA, black vinegar

Published Report

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