Review of 2023: Food and Drink Sector 

Continuing our brief look back at 2023, the food and drink market in Japan continues to present opportunities. We’ve highlighted a few of the events that have showcased British food and drink during the year.

Full flavour of the four nations at FOODEX 2023 

Ever the calendar highlight of the Food & Drink sector in Japan, FOODEX 2023 was hosted at Tokyo Big Sight in March. FOODEX provides a perfect opportunity for brands to engage with key Japanese food and drink industry stakeholders. The UK set up a pavilion in the exhibition space to showcase delicacies from all four nations. 73,789 people passed through the show over four days of activity, with stalls and events providing key networking opportunities with importers and distributors and great opportunities to get British produce on the shelves in Japan. 

British SEAFOOD is a Catch in Japan 

August brought with it a focus on the seafood market in Japan with The Japan International Seafood & Technology EXPO held at Tokyo Big Sight. Eight UK companies and two UK seafood industry associations exhibited on the UK pavilion, co-hosted with Seafish and in partnership with Seafood from Scotland. The pavilion was visited by buyers seeking the finest seafood from around the UK, including salmon, mackerel, lobster, tuna and whelk. See the directory of businesses attending the event

British CHEESE eyes a bigger slice of Japanese market 

Shifting focus to the UKs long history of quality dairy production, at the beginning of November DBT Japan delivered the webinar ‘Challenges and Opportunities in the Japanese Cheese Market’ during International Trade Week. Mr Hiroyuki Arita, Managing Director/Secretary General of The Japan Imported Cheese Promotion Association delivered a comprehensive overview of the latest trends and opportunities for cheese in Japan. The session identified opportunity to capitalise on a new generation of Japanese consumers with increasingly international tastes.  

Anuga, which took place in Cologne in October, is one of the largest food and drink industry trade shows in the world. The UK dairy pavilion welcomed Japanese importers and buyers to a guided UK cheese tasting experience. Participants enjoyed unique specialities such as Wensleydale, Stilton and Cheddar paired with English Sparkling Wine, while learning about the characteristics of each cheese and networking with the exhibiting producers.

DBT Japan also delivered a UK Cheese seminar and tasting event on the 30 November at the Ambassador’s residence in the British Embassy Tokyo.  Six UK cheese suppliers participated the event, showcasing samples and offering a variety of UK cheeses to over 80 local attendees including buyers, importers/distributors, chefs, restaurants/bars/hotels and media.  The audience was also treated to two presentations from speakers dialling in live from the UK, where they learned about the USPs of UK cheese – heritage, authenticity/quality and creativity.  The event attendees also welcomed explanation of benefits arising from the UK-Japan trade agreement, CEPA, particularly on tariff reduction on cheese.  

Japanese importers and buyers were treated to tasting and networking at Anuga 2023, Cologne.