Suntory insights: PET bottled coffee finding favour in Japanese office workforce

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Suntory said that PET bottled coffee is a popular beverage for the Japanese office workforce.
Suntory said that PET bottled coffee is a popular beverage for the Japanese office workforce.

Related tags: Suntory, Coffee, Pet bottle

PET bottled coffee are increasingly popular amongst younger Japanese office workers, and is key sales driver amid a shrinking ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee market in Japan, according to Suntory.

Suntory says its “Craft BOSS” PET bottled coffee series has been particularly welcomed by office workers and female consumers who are not familiar with canned coffee.

Launched only in April 2017, the annual sales volume of its “Craft BOSS” PET bottled coffee exceeded 27m cases, delivering “a very strong”​ performance, and was the “largest driver record highs”​ in 2018, Suntory said.

PET bottled coffee was gaining popularity due to its packaging and ease of consumption, Naoko Kushima from Suntory Beverage and Food’s (SBF) global corporate communication said in response to FoodNavigator-Asia’s​ queries.  

“As PET bottled coffee has a bottle cap, it is favourable for modern workers who want to drink coffee little by little. (This also allows them to enjoy their coffee slowly) at their office desks.

“Also, PET bottled coffee is popular because it is easy to drink and comes with stylish package designs,”​ Naoko explained.

In contrast, canned coffee are favoured by traditional workers, who still comprise the majority of RTD coffee market, she pointed out.

“Canned coffee is favoured by traditional workers who prefer to drink coffee during their short refreshment breaks.

“Canned coffee consumers also tend to become heavy or repeated coffee drinks, and thus, they still form the majority of the ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee market,”​ she explained.

107.1m cases of “BOSS coffee” were sold last year, which was an 8.1m increase from year 2017, despite a contracting coffee market, Suntory said.

As Suntory’s “BOSS coffee” comes in bottle and can formats, a case could contain 30 cans or 24 bottles of coffee.

The sales record last year was the highest incremental volume since year 2017.

According to a Euromonitor report last year, Suntory continues to be the leading player due to the major success of its “Craft BOSS” coffee.

“Although BOSS struggled due to the decrease in its canned RTD coffee, the strong performance of Craft BOSS more than compensated for the decline and ensured growth,”​ said the report.

Plans in 2019

Suntory will drive sales of “BOSS coffee” via its marketing campaigns and unique product portfolio this year.

Last year, “BOSS coffee” became the second brand under Suntory to hit the 100m cases sales volume record. Suntory believed that the increase in TV commercials and consumer campaigns marketing the product could have contributed to the success.

The brand to first achieve the 100m cases figure was “Suntory Tennensui (Natural Water)”.

“(Moving forward, the company will) find and meet diversifying consumers’ needs,”​ Naoko said.

Price revision

SBF will be revising the prices of all PET bottled products that are at least 1.2litres.

From May 1, each bottle will see a price increase of JYP$20 (US$0.18) before tax.

The price revision will be implemented throughout Japan.

However, Foods for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU), Foods with Function Claims (FFC) which are sold exclusively via food services and products that SBF distributes will not be affected by the price revision.

Related topics: Japan

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