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Japan Economy Tough, But Beef Consumption Firm at Home

04 June 2010
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - Japanese families have been spending less on meat purchases, but eating slightly more beef at home, according to data by Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC).

The average Japanese household spent 6,030 yen (A$70) on meat purchases in April, down 3.1 per cent compared with the same time last year. The year-on-year fall has been consistent for the last 13 months, as the market suffers from persistent deflation. The latest consumer price index (April) fell 1.5 per cent from a year ago, recording the 14th consecutive monthly decline. The government believes that the economy "has been picking up steadily" (May economic report by the Cabinet Office of Japan), but it still "remains in a difficult situation".

Per household beef expenditure has also been impacted by the slow economy, with average expenditure trending down year-on-year since December 2008. Beef purchase volumes, however, have exceeded the previous year for the last 12 months, with the latest April figure showing purchases averaging 565 grams per household (up 3.7 per cent from 2009). This indicates soft but steady demand for beef among Japanese families, despite the deflationary economy and subsequent decline in beef retail prices.

There has been no evidence of reduced beef consumption due to the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Japan. Yet, the trade is carefully monitoring consumer reaction, as the government works around the clock to contain the further spread of the disease.

TheCattleSite News Desk


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