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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Driving Japan's $60-billion Packaging Industry

JAPAN – Valued at US$59.4 billion annually, Japan’s packaging technology sector is being challenged by the demands of a new consumer demographic landscape and the need for increasingly competitive brand product differentiation, according to the latest market report by EP Resources Pte Ltd - Zen & The Technology of Japanese Package Design 2012-14.

I'm scattering pages from the report throughout the blog...

This report examines the motivation behind the drivers of Japanese packaging technology with an in-depth study into the influence of Japanese culture on consumer expectations, the impact of the changing retail sector and how the world's strictest environmental and Circular Economy regulations have driven the packaging industry to innovate.

Many of the solutions developed by Japanese industry in response are relevant in Western markets where packaging and brand owners are starting to encounter similar challenges of changing demographics, sustainability and increased regulatory regimens.

According to the report, Zen & The Technology of Japanese Package Design 2012-14, more than a quarter of the population is now aged over 65 and, coupled with Japan’s declining birth rate, packaging has used Universal Design (UD) solutions to solve the problems of accessibility and address the needs of the changing market dynamic: easy-to-read, easy-to-open, easy-to-use and easy-to-close packs address the problems of aging - failing eyesight, arthritis, etc – and the ultimate impact of having a corresponding increase in the number of single-person households that demand single portion ready-meal packs.

With Circular Economy legislation in force for more than 20 years, and with householders required to deconstruct packaging into separate materials, Japan’s industry has embraced the Zero Waste strategy. By developing easy-to-separate packaging while reducing exposure under Japan’s Extended Producer Responsibility regulations, packaging has been light-weighted below anything seen in other markets. As a result, Japan has achieved the highest recycling rates in the world:
  • Recycled paper utilization = 63.8%
  • Paper packaging recovery = 44.2%
  • Corrugated cardboard recovery = 98.4%
  • PET bottles = 85.0%
  • Mixed plastics = 80.0%
  • Steel can = 90.8%
  • Aluminum can= 94.7%
Zen & The Technology of Japanese Package Design 2012-14 explores, with charts and examples of packaging in the marketplace, the technical innovations prompted by the need for compliance that have resulted in significantly higher value packaging that less materials to deliver more value. Quite literally, Less is More.

Along with the rest of the country, the packaging industry suffered massive losses in the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that affected the east coast. During the emergency relief, some every day packaging actually impeded efforts, while other formats were found to have contributed significantly by having surprising secondary uses in emergency situations. This report analyses the role of packaging in disaster and emergency relief situations and offers solutions suggested by the Japanese experience.

This 202-page report examines all key packaging end-use markets - including food, beverage, spirits, confectionery, cosmetics, personal care, household, pharmaceutical, medical, electronics, industrial and logistics – and all packaging materials, types and formats.

Fully illustrated with more than 200 photographs of the latest packaging technologies and solutions introduced in the Japanese market between 2012 and 2014 by more than 110 Japanese packaging manufacturers, design agencies and brand owners, Zen & The Technology of Japanese Package Design 2012-14 provides real-life market examples and case studies of how the Japanese packaging industry has responded to the changing market dynamic.

The report's author is Stuart Hoggard, has had more than 20 years involvement with the Japanese packaging industry as journalist, publisher and consultant. He is chief executive officer and publisher of the daily news service Co-author Trina Tan Ker Wei is managing editor of the monthly packaging industry newsletter, Packaging Business Insight Asia

Priced at US$595 this report, Zen & The Technology of Japanese Package Design 2012-14 is available directly from the publisher:

Key Topics Covered:

- Japan packaging industry data:
  • Volumes for paper, plastic, metal and glass packaging from 2008 – 2013.
  • Values for paper, plastic, metal and glass packaging from 2008 – 2013.
- Japanese environmental packaging legislation:
  • Circular Economy;
  • Front-of-pipe and End-of-pipe compliance;
  • Extended Producer Responsibility.
- Demographic Trends:
  • Household sizes and compositions;
  • Aging population;
  • Youth market and young adults;
  • Mature consumers.
- Universal Design for packaging

- Retail market demands on packaging

- Influence of Culture, Religion and History on packaging design
  • Shinto and Zen Buddhism: the cultural roots;
  • Edo Period: The Golden Era;
  • Furoshiki: Japan’s 16th Century Packaging;
  • Wood-block prints: Japan’s first commercial art form.
- Calligraphy and Typography graphics in contemporary packaging design

- The Cult of Kawaii: being cute sells

- Packaging for Disasters: Great Eastern Japan Earthquake 2011

Orders for this beautiful-looking report can be placed via e-mail at

While I am unable to purchase a copy myself, I would gladly accept one gratis for review purposes, of course.

Packing it in,
Andrew Joseph

1 comment:

  1. "While I am unable to purchase a copy myself, I would gladly accept one gratis for review purposes, of course. "
    Lol .... email me & I'll see what I can do