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Japanese coffee market continues to stir.

Japanese coffee market continues to stir

Compared to 284,069 tons (up 7.7%) for 1989 (Jan.-Dec.), 1990 coffee imports are expected by trading companies as follows: Two companies expect that 1990 imports will reach 285,000 tons (Ataka Tsusho) and 287,000 tons (Mitsubishi Corp.), while Toshoku predicts that they will "almost remain level" with 1989. However, the majority of trading companies predict that they will surely reach 290,000 tons--290,000 to 300,000 tons (C. Itoh & Co.), 293,000 tons, up about 3% (Marubeni), 297,000 tons, up about 4.5% (Yutaka Sangyo), and 298,000 tons (Ueshima Coffee), for example.

Reflecting the firm coffee market in Japan, sales offensive of producing countries to Japan will gain in strength in the free market situation.

Kirin may build plant

Since its release of R&G coffee, "French Cafe" last April, Kirin Brewery will either establish a joint venture or construct its own factory. Jointly with Yamaha Coffee, Mikuni Coca Cola has established "Crystal Coffee" and constructed a roasting factory. Based on a license agreement, Daskin is going to develop "Cafe du Monde," while Tohato Confectionary has recently strengthened its drinks division through commissioned roasting to make a full-scale market entry this coming autumn.

Sharp increases of roasted coffee imports from last November

Since last November, roasted coffee imports have shown a significant increase--296 tons in November (13.3-fold growth over 1988) and 589 tons in December (4.8-fold growth) in 1989, followed by 846 tons in January (5.3-fold growth) and 542 tons in February (3.5-fold growth) in 1990. Since Japan enters the midyear (|Bon') gift season, demand for brand name R&G cans will increase, and it is expected roasted coffee imports will increase further.

In September, a new wave of tea bag type "coffee bags" will appear using new film and packaging materials as patented products, following in the wake of cassette coffee, cartridge and drip-type one-cup R&G.

Of the home coffee market, R&G occupies 16% of total imports, amounting to 48,000 tons (4,800 million cups of coffee in terms of 10g/cup), while iced coffee occupies 36% with 108,000 tons (36,000 million cups in terms of 3g/cup). While demand for iced is dull, R&G is growing.

Triggered by the diffusion of paper drip, the home R&G market has taken a favorable turn, reversing the market situation led by iced coffee.

Since a few years ago, cassette type R&G has found new outlets centering around gifts, and in place of conventional iced coffee gift boom caused by stick coffee, it has taken root in the market. At present, Cafe Greco and 20 odd other companies are selling one-cup simple drip coffee.

At present, centering around the sales promotion novelty/gift market, demand amounts to 40M cups/year, valued at about 4,000 to 5,000M yen.

Both mass market and gift market are pursuing a boom item and since last autumn, the tea bag type "coffee bags" have suddenly shown signs of boom. This type and product concept itself are not novel, as they have existed since 10 odd years ago. Vacuum coffee bags of Art Coffee are among unknown best sellers. Differing from former coffee bags, those new coffee bags appearing since last year have undergone a number of important improvements, and are expected to be accepted. The main improvements may be summarized as follows:

* Coffee filter-bag material has improved significantly.

* A coffee bag is gas-charged to the barrier-like film. Charging is made fully automatically.

* Charging capacity has nearly doubled compared to conventional capacity.

* In addition to conventional string tag, resin tag which is easy to use is available.

These improvements proved to be more tasty, cheaper and simpler--requirements for user-friendly popularity. Differing from conventional coffee bags most of which are sold at 100 yen, new bags are sold 50 to 60 yen.

At present, home R&G market is valued at 80,000M yen, and home iced coffee market at 40,000M cups. New coffee bags will add 1% (i.e. 400 million cups for 20,000 million yen (52 yen/bag)).
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Author:Karasawa, Kazuo
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Previous Article:India: coffee and tea update.
Next Article:Report from the Tea Council of Germany.

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