In 2020, Japan is expected to welcome more foreign tourists than the country has ever faced, especially with events such as the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics attracting travellers. However, Japan is a notoriously difficult country for people who are on specific diets, particularly vegans and vegetarians, as the country is relatively behind in regards to embracing vegan and vegetarian food labelling and many food service outlets do not have the menu to cater to these people. The influx of Western tourists will expose the country to veganism, helping increase recognition and understanding of veganism among consumers in Japan.
Mitsue Konishi, Senior Innovation Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Consumers in Japan following vegan or vegetarian diets are rare. According to GlobalData’s 2019 Q4 global consumer survey, only 1% of people in Japan say they are vegetarian and 0% is vegan – in comparison to the growing popularity worldwide, with 2% of global consumers identifying as vegan, and some countries such as the US (5%) seeing a continuous rise of vegans.”
However, the tables are turning as many businesses in Japan are noticing that vegan and vegetarian tourism could be a huge opportunity. As a result, the development of vegan products, retailers and food service is being implemented at the fast pace. Products certified by entities such as Vege Project Japan or The Vegan Society of UK have also been gradually increasing – for example, selected Seven Eleven convenience stores in the Tokyo area are selling ready meals certified as vegan-friendly by Vege Project Japan. Also, Vegan-friendly convenience store and eat-in venue ‘Vegan Store’ has opened in Tokyo. On the non-food side, major cosmetics company Kose announced that it will reinforce the marketing of its vegan cosmetic brand Awake with new products.
Konishi continued: “Development centralised around vegan tourism may potentially develop the number of vegan consumers in Japan. Veganism has been trending in Western markets for several years now, but in 2020, it may finally reach the Far East.”