Japan Focus: Insect protein, local supermarkets' focus on RTE and private label, AI for Japanese seafood and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Insect protein, local supermarkets' focus on RTE and private label, AI for Japanese seafood and more feature in this edition of Japan Focus. ©Getty Images
Insect protein, local supermarkets' focus on RTE and private label, AI for Japanese seafood and more feature in this edition of Japan Focus. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Japan

Insect protein, local supermarkets' focus on RTE and private label, AI for Japanese seafood and more feature in this edition of Japan Focus.

‘Insects the new sushi’: Ÿnsect sees Japan and Korea as attractive markets for mealworm protein

French insect protein company Ÿnsect is seeking to enter the Japanese and Korean markets after securing success in a national trade contest and signing a high-profile research partnership.

The firm was founded in 2011, and breeds Buffalo and Molitor mealworms for protein applications in human food and supplements, fish feed, pet food, as well as plant fertiliser.

It currently operates a factory in France for its animal nutrition and fertiliser business and another facility in the Netherlands for human nutrition.

We focus on mealworm because it is easier to industrialise compared to other insects. Mealworms also have a high protein content of about 72% in powder and have a low fat content, whereas beef or chicken can give about 25 to 30% protein​,” said Bruno Grandsard, strategy committee member supporting Ÿnsect’s global development.

Japan 2021 supermarket survey: Retailers see RTE and private label as key to maximising profits

Japanese retailers aim to increase the number of ready-to-eat (RTE) and private label products on the shelves after identifying them as key categories to maximise profits.

This was one of the key findings of the National Supermarket Association of Japan (NSAJ)’s recently-released Supermarket Statistical Survey 2021.

The survey is published annually, and in 2021 it was conducted via mail and web surveys.

This year’s survey revealed that Japanese supermarkets have significantly increased the number of RTE products – also called ‘prepared foods’ – in the past year, and intend to do the same next year as well as the potential profits return for this category has been higher than other categories.

“RTE foods saw the highest rate of increase in the number of SKUs by product category in 2021 at 23.8%, with its closest competitor being meat and processed meat products at almost half that rate of growth with 12.3%,” ​said NSAJ via the survey documents.

Mondelez, Nestle, Calbee and Ayam Brand on five top trends set to shape the APAC food industry in 2022

We speak to experts from major brands to assess the five top trends that look set to shape the Asia Pacific food and beverage industry in 2022, including top post-COVID-19 developments, pricing and taste importance in the plant-based sector, the rise in sustainable palm oil sourcing and more and featuring big Japanese brands including Calbee and Nissin.

Time for change: AI firm targets Japan’s ‘traditional’ seafood sector with traceability tech

Amid dire warnings for the future of Japan’s ‘traditional’ seafood industry, a Canadian artificial intelligence firm is seeking to launch its traceability tech in the country after winning a coveted trade contest.

Founded in 2017, ThisFish has developed Tally to help digitise the seafood supply chain and bring more traceability and transparency to the global seafood industry.

The firm has serviced clients in Canada, US, Latin America, the Philippines, Thailand and is now keen to work with seafood processors in Japan dealing with popular products such tuna and yellowfin. 

Japan is the second largest market for seafood after the United States. Seafood is also a very important identity and culture of Japan​,” said Eric Enno Tamm, CEO and co-founder of ThisFish.

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Read our top 10 most viewed Japan food and beverages stories from 2021, featuring innovative beverages, packaging and the low-to-no alcohol trend.

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