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3 Trends in High Protein Snacking in Japan

Many Japanese consumers are switching to high protein snacks to support their health. See the trends in high protein snacking in Japan—including top snacking motivations and favorite high protein formats.

Top Trends in High Protein Snacking in Japan

Japanese consumers’ snacking habits have been shifting to include more high protein snacks in their diets. More than half (54%) of Japanese consumers have changed their snacking habits from products like chocolate and confections to high protein and/or low sugar products.1 

These high protein snacks range from high protein cookies to high protein yogurt, with both dairy and plant proteins popular fortification choices for Japanese snacks. Health is driving the interest in protein snacks, with 24% of Japanese consumers saying a high protein claim makes a snack healthy.2

Here’s a look at the top trends in high protein snacking in Japan to help brands better understand this market.

1. Snacking is Hunger-Driven

In exploring why Japanese consumers snack, research by FMCG Gurus reveals hunger is the number one reason.3 Unlike some other countries where indulgence and boredom are rising to the top as snacking motivators, in Japan, two in three consumers choose to snack to alleviate hunger.4 Since protein provides satiety, snacks that are high in protein address consumers’ prime reason for snacking.

Top Motivations for Snacking in Japan

Reasons for Snacking Proportion of Consumers
Hunger 62%
Indulgence 35%
Energy 26%
Health 19%
Relaxation  13%
Source: FMCG Gurus, Snacking Trends in Japan, September 2019
woman eating cookie

2. Balance Between Indulgence and Nutrition

Nutrition is clearly top of mind for the 54% of Japanese consumers who have switched to high protein and/or low sugar snacks, with heart health, general health, and boosting energy the most common reasons for doing so.5 Nonetheless, more than one in three cite indulgence as a reason they snack.6 Consumers have many options for adding healthy nutrition to the diet (including meals). For a snack, the element of indulgence must also be present, particularly through enjoyable flavors and textures. 

3. New Formats

Besides delivering on nutrition and indulgence, brands should consider which formats consumers are most interested in when it comes to protein snacks. For example, high protein cookies and yogurts are trending in Japan. In the last six months, 56% of consumers have purchased high protein cookies, while 54% have bought high protein yogurts.7 Other formats Japanese consumers like for high protein snacks are bars (66%), chocolate/confections (64%), and cake/muffins (49%), according to FMCG Gurus.8

Most Preferred High Protein Snack Formats in Japan

Snack Format Proportion of Consumers
Cookies 74%
Bars 66%
Chocolate/confections 64%
Yogurt 54%
Cake/muffins 49%
Pudding 35%
Soup 35%
Savory Snacks 27%
Crisps 26%
Beverages 21%
Source: FMCG Gurus, Japan Active Nutrition Survey, Q3 2019
man feeding woman

Opportunities in High Protein Snacks

The interest in high protein snacks in Japan makes this an exciting time for brands in this space. Messaging that links protein to satiety so consumers understand a snack can keep them fuller for longer is one way to boost a snack’s appeal. 

Brands can also focus on delivering an indulgent snacking experience through flavor and texture, so consumers don’t have to compromise when they choose a high protein snack. There is also opportunity to grow by expanding into high protein confections, bakery products, savory snacks, and other popular snack formats.

Download our Protein Supplier Guide to learn more about fortifying with protein to meet the protein trend.

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1-2. FMCG Gurus Japan Active Nutrition Survey, Q3 2019.
3-4. FMCG Gurus, Snacking Trends in Japan, September 2019.
5. FMCG Gurus Japan Active Nutrition Survey, Q3 2019.
6. FMCG Gurus, Snacking Trends in Japan, September 2019.
7-8. FMCG Gurus Japan Sports Nutrition Survey, Q4 2019.

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