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Canned coffee sales regain two-digit growth.

Canned coffee sales regain two-digit growth

Canned coffee sales in Japan are expected to regain a two-digit growth (up 13- 15%) for 1990, with 280 to 290 million cases of coffee. By 1988, canned coffee sales had continued a two-digit growth for about 20 years, but dropped to one-digit growth (about 9%) in 1989 for the first time. Because of the drop in growth, most of the trade anticipated that canned coffee demand is reaching a saturation point, predicting that 1990 sales will show a 6-7% growth.

Sales for January to June have achieved a 11-12% growth, followed by an unexpectedly high increase in summer, when the trade had anticipated a slowdown under pressure from other drinks. As a result, sales for the January-August period showed a 14-15% rise over the same period of 1989.

In September and October although, sales by some manufacturers experienced a slowdown; they generally secured a two-digit growth. As a result, it has become certain that 1990 sales will achieve a two-digit growth (13-15%, from 250.5 million cases (estimate) in 1989, to 280 to 290 million cases in 1990).

The regaining of two-digit growth after only one year is attributable, according to a coffee manufacturer, to: increased demand in summer; topical publicity by extensive CF insertion for Asahi Brewery's introduction of a new brand; increased columns for large vending machines; and various other reasons.

The increased demand in summer is likely to have contributed to the two-digit growth more than expected. For example, sales of "Georgia" by Tokyo Coca-Cola Bottling in August showed a 39% increase - higher than in other months. Suntory's "West" sales in August recorded a 20% growth, almost unchanged from other months.

Asahi Brewery's new brand introduction was accepted in the first half, and its extensive publicity (4,000 to 5,000 million yen/year is said to be invested) has exerted an impact, at least on consumers. In the latter half, Otsuka Group's entry in the canned coffee market, through tieups between Otsuka Beverage and Nestle, offered a hot topic to the market.

Starting from September, sales of Otsuka Beverage's "Nescafe Canned Coffee" achieved 50 million cases (30 cans per case) for September and October, and will reach some 70 million cans for the three months from September to November. "Our product has been accepted by consumers and distributors more widely than expected, and dealings in September occupied 26%, the sixth largest share among the canned coffee brands," said a spokesperson for Otsuka Beverage. "The number of shops dealing in our canned coffee has reached 250,000 (nationwide); we intend to increase it to 300,000, and install 35,000 vending machines (hot & cold) within this year."

Since Otsuka Beverage has no match concerning railway outlets, the new product will be almost fully placed on JR kiosks across Japan. "For the time being, we intend to give priority to expansion of outlet coverage" and the company seems to be steadily reaching the goal.

Otsuka group's entry in the canned coffee market is causing an unprecedentedly heated competition between brands. Coca group (Georgia) and beer group (Suntory, Kirin and Asahi) have made headway for the last year or two. This tendency is continuing through this year. On the other hand, sales by UCC, Pokka, Daido and Kanebo, which are rather specializing in canned coffee, will experience a one-digit growth.

A look at the sales brand shows that the leader "Georgia" (Coca group) secured a more than 20% growth of sales with over 100 million cases, followed by UCC's less than 40 million cases - nearly level with '89 - due to a general slowdown despite the favorable "EX" sales. "Pokka", "Daido" and "Kanebo" experienced a 5-8% growth.

Coffee Bags to Boom

Since the end of last year, coffee bags have been suddenly highlighted, and are expected to boom extensively this winter. Side by side with coffee bags being commercialized by coffee roasters, many other coffee bags are being released by influential foodstuff manufacturers.

The coffee bag boom, since the end of last year, has been triggered by Yamanaka Sangyo, which brought an ultra fine, fibrous, nonwoven fabric into the market.

"Coffee Miracron", developed by Yamanaka using Kuraray's nonwoven fabric, has a multi-layer structure in which 200,000 ultra fine fiber filaments are three-dimensionally entangled over 6cm width. The fabric has numerous pores, causing oils & fats that adhere to them be adsorbed and removed, thereby retaining powder on the pack flavorously.

In its leaflet, Kuraray explains the melt-blown nonwoven fabric, called Kraflex, as follows: "Nonwoven fabric literally refers to a fiber made by entangling fiber filaments without weaving. Kuraray is supplying starting materials for nonwoven fabric, such as vinyl and polyester, and also developing a line of business by using advanced nonwoven fabric techniques."

Excelling in water absorbability, ventilation and flexibility, Kraflex features a pleasant feel to the touch and drapability.

The history of nonwoven fabric itself in Japan is not long - its technology was already introduced at the end of 1950. However, its commercialization has not made steady headway, and its uses have been limited to medical appliances.

United Coffee Institute is located at: 37-15 Hongo 4-chome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan.
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Title Annotation:Japanese coffee sales
Author:Karasawa, Kazuo
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Mar 1, 1991
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