New Market Report: Fast Food in Japan

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Tue Dec 09 2014

Fast food in Japan increases by 4% in current value terms to reach ¥4,114 billion in 2013. The positive growth was driven by the strong growth in convenience stores fast food, which comprises more than 50% of the overall fast food category and grew by 9% in value terms. One of the two key drivers of the growth during 2013 was increasing sales in bento (Japanese meal box) and souzai (readymade side dishes) due to the increasing number of single-person households consisting of busy workers and the elderly who are unable to get groceries and cook. As some consumers prefer eating at home rather than dining out alone, "nakashoku" (readymade meals and side dishes for takeaway) has been a recent key trend. With such demographic changes, many chained convenience stores are expanding their product variety in bento and souzai. The other key driver was brewed coffee. Even though some convenience stores had been offering a brewed coffee service, 7-Eleven Japan Co Ltd’s introduction of Seven Café, a freshly brewed coffee service, in January 2013 quickly disseminated the concept among consumers. It not only boosted the overall sales of brewed coffee among major convenience stores, but also encouraged consumers to purchase pastries and desserts along with coffee.

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Competitive Landscape

Within fast food, 7-Eleven Japan Co Ltd was the leading player with a value share of 27% in 2013. The company operates the largest convenience stores brand 7-Eleven in chained convenience stores fast food. The company’s successful expansion in terms of outlets, transactions and value sales is attributed to two factors. One is the introduction of a brewed coffee service called Seven Café in January 2013. Even though major competitors such as Lawson Inc and Family Mart Co Ltd preceded 7-Eleven with a brewed coffee service, the company successfully promoted the Seven Café brand by having Kashiwa Sato, one of the most influential creative directors in Japan, as the designer for the brand concept, packaging and logo. The volume sales of Seven Café coffee exceeded 300 million cups by mid-December 2013. The other factor is Seven Meal, which is a delivery service of healthy bento boxes designed by dieticians since 2012. The service is particularly popular among the elderly population who are unable to prepare food by themselves. During 2013, the company expanded its distribution network and introduced power-assisted bicycles for delivery.

Industry Prospects

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