The United States is the second leading supplier of processed vegetables to Japan, following China, with other smaller supplying countries including Thailand, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium. While the United States is the top supplier of frozen potato, tomato paste, and sweet corn, the market is becoming highly competitive with other countries, such as Thailand, Ecuador, and the Netherlands, that have increased market share in recent years. It is recommended that U.S. suppliers differentiate their products through promoting the quality of their products against lower-priced products from other countries in order to retain its market position and expand further its share.
Imported processed vegetables are well positioned in the Japanese market with increasing demand due to a lower-price point than domestically produced. Imported processed vegetables to Japan have increased over the years with the recent three-year growth from 2015 to 2018 reaching 10.3% in volume and 9.1% in value. Year-over-year increase from 2017 to 2018 in volume and value reached 1.89 million MT (2.4%) and US$3.4 billion (3.7%), respectively.
Just recently, local Japanese press highlighted this growing market opportunity for imported frozen vegetables by citing record import volumes for the first half of 2019. Frozen vegetable imports grew 3% year-on-year to 526,000 tons in the first half of 2019 as steady demand were seen among both businesses and households.