There is an interesting article in the June 30th edition of Shokuhin Sangyo Shimbun (食品産業新聞) about the Japanese cheese market. Here are some of the points made in the article:
- cheese prices are expected to go up another 10 to 15 percent by next Autumn, due to increasing dairy ingredient prices,
- as in other industries, repackaging is also being used in addition to price increases (for example, 10 slice processed cheese packs are now 8 slice packs),
- the price increases will likely lead to reduced imports of natural cheese and lower consumption of industrial use cheeses.
There is also a nice chart showing the variation in the Japanese cheese production and consumption for each year from 1990 to 2007. Here are some interesting numbers (all in tons) comparing the years 1990 and 2007 (data from the Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry).
Domestic Natural Cheese Production 28,415 and 42,948
Imported Natural Cheese 111,629 and 211,405
Processed Cheese Consumption 77,428 and 163,262
Total Cheese Consumption 153,325 and 279,189
(some of the natural cheese is used to produce the processed cheese)