Baby Food In Japan analyses the trends in the baby food market for 2012-2016, with forecasts to 2018. It examines how live birth rates, breastfeeding trends, the economic crisis, new product and packaging developments, changing attitudes and safety concerns have affected the market for baby milks, cereals, meals, drinks and finger foods.
Pharmacies continue to account for a significant share of all baby food sales in value terms, thanks to their importance in milks. Other outlets such as supermarkets and convenience stores have, however, been steadily eroding pharmacies' share, although the last few years have seen some revival in the fortune of pharmacies and other specialist outlets, due to their ability to offer a wider range of products than some of the supermarkets.
The future for the Japanese baby food market does not seem bright. Against the backdrop of a continuing fall in the number of births, retail sales are not expected to show any overall growth in real terms by 2018, although at current prices an increase of over 5% is forecast. The milks market is expected to continue to decline. If a slight upturn occurs in the economy, this will be made up of baby milk and other baby food/drink products.
A number of factors lie behind the overall trend of falling figures, including changing lifestyles, women marrying later, the economic slump in which Japan has been plunged for the past decade or so, non-child-friendly employment policies which have been very slow to change, the phenomenon of "parasite singles" (men and women aged 20 to 34 who remain in the parental home, despite being employed, contribute little to the household and postpone marriage), and a general mood which is not buoyant, particularly in the wake of the 2011 tsunami.