In addition to broader worries about youngsters - hair style, video game habits and inexplicable taste in clothes to name a few - declining consumption of citrus among young people is a concern for Japanese fruit traders. For other insights into the important Japanese citrus market, read on for more from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service:
Japan Citrus Annual 2009
Report Highlights: In MY2009/10, "on-year" for Japanese tangerine trees is expected to offset decrease in planting area. Japanese imports of grapefruit are estimated to keep steady, while imports of oranges are expected to increase slightly. Lemon imports are expected to rise as domestic stock situation normalizes. Lower consumption of fresh produce among young consumers remains a concern. Japan lifts MRL-related sanctions on U.S. lemons and oranges.
Production Japan does not produce grapefruit. Consumption According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), in 2008 Japanese annual consumption of grapefruit was approximately 2.5 kilograms per household with total expenditures of $7.90 (694 yen).* This is the average consumption per (two-or-more people) household.
People ages 60 to 69 ate 3.3 kilograms of grapefruit in 2008; while people in ages from 30 to 39 ate 1.4 kilograms. People under 30 years old ate only 0.7 kilograms. Given the state of the economy and the general trend among young consumers to eat less fresh produce total annual consumption was down from last season.
* The exchange rate of 87.80 yen per dollar is based on the Nikkei News quote on December 3, 2009.
Trade (Imports) The United States is the largest supplier of fresh grapefruit to Japan, supplying approximately 63 percent of total Japanese imports. South Africa is the other major supplier to Japan, sharing approximately 34 percent of total grapefruit imports. For MY 2009/10, post estimates Japanese imports of fresh grapefruit to be approximately 180,000 metric tons, a similar to MY 2008/09. The United States supplied 115,600 metric tons of fresh grapefruit in the MY 2008/09, valued at approximately $125 million (CIF).
Japan is still in the midst of an economic recession with relatively high unemployment and fairly conservative consumers. While Japan has been in a recession for more than 14 months, Tokyo grapefruit-traders hope for a minor recovery in 2010. The current strong yen situation also encourages Japanese importers to increase their trade.