February 15, 2024

Japanese Ice Cream is Popular in Asia

Ice cream from Japan is becoming increasingly popular in Asia. The unique taste and texture of mochi (rice cakes), which have been cultivated in Japan, have won the hearts of local consumers. The Japanese food boom has also been a tailwind, and Japanese flavors such as matcha and azuki bean paste are gaining support. Southeast Asia's demand for ice cream is firm due to the region's mild year-round climate. In addition to expanding local production, manufacturers will also focus on expanding exports.

Imuraya Group has been locally producing and selling its flagship ice cream, "Azuki Bar," in Malaysia since 2021. In the future, it is considering exporting azuki bean bars from Malaysia to neighboring countries such as Indonesia, which has a sizeable Muslim population.

The Muslim population accounts for 60% of Malaysians, and the product needs to use Halal-certified ingredients that indicate compliance with the precepts. Three flavors are available: azuki, green tea, and milk, and the sweetness and texture are also tailored to local tastes.

According to trade statistics from the Ministry of Finance, ice cream exports in 2023 totaled 10,137 tons, a 20% increase from the previous year and a 23% increase in value to 7.9 billion yen. Export volume has increased about sixfold in the past ten years. One reason behind the rapid increase in exports is the development of frozen logistics networks in Asia.

The number of inbound tourists from Asia who enjoy Japanese ice cream during their trips is also increasing. If it can develop demand for Japanese ice cream to be enjoyed after returning home, the Asian market could expand.