Consumers' Sound Bites - Alt-Egg Exploration #2
Japanese consumers show interest in alt-eggs. But can innovators meet their high eggspectations for quality, functional products?
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Happy Tuesday Market Shakers. In today’s article, we share data from our in-house surveys and interviews with Japanese consumers about their attitudes to alt-eggs.
To put these responses in context, we start by reviewing how Japanese consumers feel about regular eggs. Let’s get cracking.
In Today’s Article
Overview of Japanese consumer’s attitudes to eggs, regular and alt
In-house survey data and infographics revealing Japanese consumer’s attitudes to alt-eggs and our analysis of the opportunities
Interviews with real Japanese consumers about alt-eggs and what they want from products
Japanese consumers’ take on chicken eggs
When it comes to conventional egg consumption, Japan is a top consumer globally. In 2021, annual per capita consumption was 340 eggs, more than one egg per day.
Given the high levels of consumption, it’s unsurprising that 90% of respondents to Kewpie’s annual egg survey (2021) reported liking eggs.
Consumers in Japan enjoy their eggs in a variety of ways. The same survey reveals:
Consumers in Japan prefer their eggs fried (69.7%), hard-boiled (66.5%), as omuraisu - a Japanese style omelette on seasoned rice (66.4%), in fried rice (64.8%), and for tamago kake gohan - raw egg mixed with rice(60%).
Consumers in their 20s show a much greater preference for rice and egg dishes, such as fried rice or omuraisu, than conventional fried and boiled eggs. This trend is also notable for women in their 30s and 40s.
For those aged 50 and above, both men and women show stronger preferences for fried and boiled type eggs.
The reason Japanese consumers eat eggs is predominantly as a source of protein, and other vitamins and minerals, according to Kewpie’s data. Alt-egg products will need to stand up nutritionally in order for Japanese consumers to consider them as an alternative to conventional eggs.
What about plant-based and other egg alternatives?
Awareness amongst Japanese consumers about egg alternatives is low. The consumers we interviewed and surveyed for today’s post were mostly unaware of alt-eggs before we explained about them.
Currently, there are only a few plant-based egg products on the market, mainly available online and in speciality stores. Without being sold in regular supermarkets, consumers cannot encounter alt-eggs “in the wild” while shopping. While this barrier remains, awareness will likely remain low too.
According to a survey by Rakuten Insights conducted in 2021, just 1% of respondents had tried an “egg replacement/ vegan egg” compared to 40% who had tried plant-based meat.
What’s the online noise saying about alt-eggs in Japan?
Data from google trends shows fluctuating interest in alternative eggs in Japan. The spikes in the image below coincide with announcements throughout 2022 about alt-egg product launches in Japan.
Egg alternatives have been picked up in Japanese media, both T.V. and print. As a result of this, a few of the consumers we interviewed had heard of plant-based egg products.
Our In-House Survey Data
We found no publicly available data sources about Japanese consumer attitudes toward egg alternatives. So, we conducted a survey with Japanese consumers to understand their attitudes to alternative eggs. The results reveal promising signs for egg alternatives in Japan.
To uncover where the opportunities to crack the egg market with alternatives lie, we asked consumers about their regular egg-eating habits. 90% of consumers reported “liking eggs”. The main reasons for this [Fig. 1] is their versatility as a food ingredient, followed by taste and then nutritional benefits.
From these responses, companies seeking to launch egg alternatives should aim to
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