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Japan: coffee consumption still rising.

Japan: Coffee consumption still increasing

All coffee manufacturers in Japan have been enjoying increased sales, year after year, for more than a decade. While some years, like 1989, showed an increase below 10%, trade sources tell us sales for 1991 may range from 13-15% more than previous years.

Importers and manufacturers continue their quest for acquiring coffee and have begun purchasing major quantities of Colombians and have also begun buying from some unusual origins such as Puerto Rico.

The Japanese's interest in Puerto Rico has been recent, and in a similar fashion with the purchasing style with the Jamaican coffees, they are purchasing a major portion of the country's production.

Jamaica's Blue Mountain coffee commands a very high price due to several factors--it is a quality coffee, production is limited, and as the Japanese purchase approximately 90% of the country's production, the remaining 10% of the nation's production is offered to the highest bidder.

Jamaica has still not recovered from Hurricane Hugo's devastation and likewise did the Japanese interests in that particular coffee. They then pursued other sources whose climate and coffee characteristics were similar to Blue Mt. coffee. As Haiti and the Dominican Republic doesn't offer a similar quality coffee, trade sources tell us Puerto Rico was similar in mountain region cultivation and so the Japanese have begun promoting Puerto Rican coffee as a specialty item.

Nestor Zarate of Marubeni in New York City tells us total imports for Japan in 1990 amounted to 4.5 M (60 kg) bags and Indonesia has now surpassed all countries of origin and is the #1 importer of coffee with 1.7 M bags. Just two years ago, Indonesia was #3, and even then, that position was considered a coup for a nation who had just made it into the top ten major importers to Japan. Brazil followed Indonesia with 967,000 bags and Colombia holds the #3 position with 832,000 bags.

Roast and ground coffee accounts for 60% of the market with soluble amounting to the remaining 40%. Of that, 20% of sales are in the form of canned coffee. Canned coffee manufacturers are using more frozen coffee extract in their canned coffee products rather than soluble. In fact, the soluble coffee industry has been shrinking somewhat, losing ground to R&G.

Coffee consumption has not yet attained its saturation level. In the 70's, not even 50% of households consumed coffee, imbibing tea as their main beverage. Now, 60% of the Japanese households consume coffee; 40% consume tea. The potential for growth is still there.

Japan has become a major consumer of coffee and it seems this is one healthy market for growth. While canned coffee first appeared on the shelves, originated by Ueshima Coffee Corp.; almost every country worldwide is introducing iced and canned coffees in the hopes that they may also enjoy Japan's success.
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Title Annotation:according to coffee trade sources
Author:McCabe, Jane
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Apr 1, 1991
Previous Article:Researchers discuss health benefits of tea at first international Tea Symposium.
Next Article:The changing taste for coffee in Europe's major markets.

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