Japan eyes bigger slice of Indian FMCG market

Japanese firms, driven by lower consumption in their country, are now eyeing the Indian FMCG market. Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) is one of the trade bodies studying the Indian market preferences for the FMCG sector.

Since last year, Jetro has been conducting sampling of Japanese products in select supermarkets in Indian cities to understand the customer choices. Last November, it conducted a fair in Godrej’s Nature’s Basket stores and Hypercity in Mumbai. This year, it is partnering with Big Bazaar for a month-long ‘Japan Mela’ in its stores in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.

“Japanese FMCG industry is going through a period of deflation. It is trying to focus on exports, especially to emerging markets like India. We are conducting market research for them,” said Naoyuki Maekawa, director general of Jetro.

Acecook, Calbee Foods, Hanamaruki, and Kikkoman are a few companies in the food category which have shown interest in the Indian market, while dental products company Jacks, men’s grooming brand Gatsby and Bigen brand of hair colours are a few in the non-food category.

“From last year’s initiative we learned that our pricing is too high for the Indian customer. The labelling should be in English and there should be educational activities around new product categories like prawn crackers and miso soup. This time we have tried to address some of these issues,” he said. To lower the prices, the participating firms are sampling products that are manufactured in Asean countries like Thailand and Vietnam.

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