Japan Pet Food Market – Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 – 2026)

 The Japanese pet food Market is projected to register a CAGR of 3.1% during the forecast period (2021-2026).
The Covid-19 has impacted the market negatively due to the suspension of manufacturing, processing, and packaging activities of the companies that are involved in the pet food market. This has resulted in limited availability of products in the market, thereby hampering the pet food market.

The main driver for the market is the humanization of pets wherein human characteristics are ascribed to pets, and they are treated similarly. This trend resulted in an increased focus on pet health, nutrition, weight, and overall wellness. This is forcing manufacturers to produce high-quality foods with an eye on natural and organic content. This focus on specificity is increasing the unit price of the product, thereby countering the reduced volume sales.

Key Market Trends

Cat Food is Gaining Popularity in Japan

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Japanese customers do spend a huge amount on buying premium dry cat food. Cats are gaining popularity, particularly due to increasing urbanization and apartment living. Gourmet products for cats are vital in driving growth as cat owners are also increasingly feeding their cats with premium food treats and mixers coupled with manufacturers entering into the lucrative cat food market in Japan. Therefore, more varieties of luxury treats and toppers are hitting shelves. 
According to a Survey, the cat is one of the most popular pets with pet ownership of 10.1% in 2018. Pet owners are hyper-aware of the origin of cat food ingredients sourced in the region and are willing to pay extra for higher-grade, locally sourced products. Therefore, it is estimated to increase the demand for cat food due to the growth of pet humanization during the forecast period.

Store-based Retailing Dominates the Market

The shift among the pet owners to take extra care in choosing pet products has positively affected the store-based pet food retailers in Japan. The most common distribution channel for pet foods in Japan is through importers, wholesalers to specialized pet food stores, and, in some cases, secondary wholesalers to retailers. In the case of Japanese manufacturers that own production facilities abroad, products are imported directly inside the company or through their subsidiaries and then distributed to the retailers through wholesalers. 
Although there are cases in which retailers buy directly from importers. The store-based retailers are focusing on the curated offerings, brand exclusivity, private labels, and aesthetic displays for attracting pet owners. Some pet stores are incorporating services such as veterinary care and grooming that are enhancing the pet owners to visit the retail stores.

Competitive Landscape

The Japan pet food market is consolidated with the top global players occupying a major share in the market. The competition in the market is driven by consumer loyalty. The major players in the Japan pet food market are like Mars Inc., Hills Pet Nutrition, Nestle Purina Petcare, Nutriara Alimentos Ltd and Maruha Nichiro Holdings, accounting for more than half of the market share. Consisting heavily of large multinational players, the market studied also have many private label players. Apart from the presence of a loyal customer base, the major players of the market studied benefit from great marketing and innovation capacities.

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