Japan’s ‘Calbee’ to Invest $1-Billion to Boost Growth in North America and China

Business Consumer Goods

Calbee, a Japanese snack brand, intends to boost efficiency and accelerate growth by investing $1 billion in automation, mergers and acquisitions, and equipment upgrades over the next three years. According to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, the move is a part of the company’s plan to diversify its geographic footprint, offset the decline in the Japanese savory snacks market, and establish itself as a “Made in Japan” brand in China and North America.

Bobby Verghese, Purchaser Expert at GlobalData, said that, Calbee is the leading manufacturer of savory snacks in Japan through its iconic brands, Kappa Ebisen, Sapporo Potato, Jagabee, and Jagariko. It has between 16 and 20 percent value share in the highly fragmented market. However, the onset of COVID-19 caused a slowdown in the Japanese savory snacks industry, resulting in lower retail foot traffic and supply chain bottlenecks. Additionally, in the midst of the health crisis, health-conscious consumers restricted their intake of unhealthy snacks.

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Even though the measures to control the pandemic were lifted in 2022, the sector’s recovery was hindered by rising inflation. Japanese consumers are reducing their purchases as more manufacturers of savory snacks include the rising costs of fuel and raw materials in their product prices.

Mariko Kadosaka, Key Record Chief at GlobalData Japan, said that, Japanese bites have acquired tremendous notoriety in China and North America as of late, with an expansion in the quantity of eateries, especially sushi bars, opening branches in these business sectors. Over the course of the past ten years, well-known Japanese snacks like Pocky and Hello Panda have also seen an increase in shelf space and visibility in overseas physical and online retail stores.

The cult following for Japanese anime and “manga” comics, celebrity chefs, television and webcast shows, social media influencers and bloggers, and the popularity of Japanese snacks in China and North America all contributed significantly. Central area China and Hong Kong are as of now the greatest commodity markets for Japanese bites.


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