NAFB: US Meat in High Demand in Japanese Convenience Stores

The pandemic has changed the way shoppers around the world are buying beef. In meat cases across Japan, American beef is selling faster than its competition.

It seems that Japanese shoppers want something quick and healthy for their next meal, and American beef is making its way into their carts. The US Meat Export Federation says that more than 60,000 convenience stores across Japan are selling the popular protein.

Jesse Austin, Marketing MP for USMEF, gives his take: “An interesting trend we’ve seen throughout the pandemic however, is when companies have gone remote, those employees are not commuting to the inner city every day. So, we’ve actually see a drop in traffic in those inner city convenience stores and we’ve seen traffic increase in the suburban convenience stores.”

Austin goes on to say that even though sales and visits to grocery stores have dropped during lockdowns, Japan’s customers are buying more meat when they do shop the aisles. And when they reach for a cut, it’s usually pre-packaged meat. Similar trends are being observed in Korea and even in Mexico, according to Austin.

Austin adds that they expect the trend to continue and spread, promoting more convenience items in a variety of markets and settings. And, as Asia’s middle class grows, analysts expect more convenience stores to keep American meat in stock.

Last year, Japan dropped some of its import restrictions on US beef. Livestock groups expect to see some financial returns on that agreement, once pandemic disruptions ease.