On October 6th AEON announced that they will increase their segment of organic products to120 items — twice the current number of products — with a focus on organic foods under the private brand/label “TOPVALU”. In the past the focus was on fresh agricultural products such as vegetables and fruits, but from now on more processed products such as honey and olive oil with redesigned packaging will be offered. AEON wants to meet the consumer demand and high interest in health and safety by increasing procurement from Europe and America and is aiming for sales of 20 billion yen in fiscal 2015.
Starting from October 7th under the label of “Green Eye”, a series of organic food products with reduced chemical pesticides and fertilizers, will go on sale at 4,000 outlets of the AEON-Daiei group, including MINISTOP convenience stores. Initially 58 new products will be available, among them “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” (227 g*, 537 Yen) made of organic Spanish olives,”honey” (340 g, 797 yen) with organic certification from the United States. In the past most products came from domestic and Chinese suppliers. From now on more organic products will be imported from the United States and Europe. A major reason for this shift are recent equivalence agreements between Organic JAS and organic standards in the US and EU.
AEON forecasts a sales increase for organic food from from 5.6 billion Yen in fiscal 2013 to 20 billion Yen in fiscal 2015 and steady growth in the future.
The current domestic market for organic food is about Yen 130 billion, which is much smaller than in Western Germany and the United States with 1 trillion Yen and 3 trillion Yen respectively. Several factors will contribute to the anticipate continuous growth of the Japanese market: Consumer demand for safe and healthy food and a greater variety of organic products.
Source: Tokyo Shimbun and Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 6th October 2014
o 1 US$ = 107 Yen (Oct. 2014)
o* In Japan some liquid foods, such as oils, are measured in gram.
o AEON Group is the largest Japanese retailer with over 18,000 stores/locations
including outlets in 14 (mainly Asian) countries;
420,000 employees and an annual turnover of 6,395 billion Yen.
Many other Japanese distributors and retailers observe and often follow AEON’s strategies.