Tuna maker Alliance Select Foods International Inc. is set to enter into distribution agreements in Japan to expand its reach and foothold in the East Asian market.
Alliance Select said it is targeting the potential market in Japan, which is one of the largest importers of fresh and canned seafood.
Through more distribution deals, the firm wants to expand its market share in Japan by taking advantage of the distribution potential of ready-to-eat seafood products, targeting the younger Japanese consumers who are said to lack skills to prepare and cook fish and seafood meals.
This is reportedly threatening the long-term future of the fishing industry in Japan, which in turn is seen as an opportunity by exporters such as Alliance Select.
“While the aging and declining population have taken its toll on fish volume sales in Japan, the younger generation prefers ready-to-eat meals and consumer food service,” the company said in a statement.
Citing Euromonitor data, Alliance Select said the Japanese are well known for their high per-capita consumption of fish and seafood, which stood at 32 kilograms per person in 2014 — almost seven times greater than the US consumption.
In spite being central to the Japanese diet, consumption of fish and seafood in Japan fell from close to 40 kg in 2007, indicating the changing demographics and Westernization of Japanese food consumption and preferences.
These trends are seen to negatively impact Japan’s status as the leading global importer of fish and seafood. But Alliance Select said it remains optimistic that its products are in line with the increased consumer awareness of healthy foods of the Japanese.
“Our established global reputation and leading position provide a strong platform to grow our international market shares through product line extensions and expansion of our distribution networks, particularly in a m arket that consumes the exact product we provide,” Alliance Select President Raymond See said.
Aside from Japan, Alliance Select’s distribution network of processed tuna products stretches from the United States to Europe, Middle East and Asia.
The company said the growing global demand for fish and seafood and an increase in prices for these products, particularly in China and Western Europe, are major positive factors the tuna canning industry.