Date of Issue/October 2020 Issue  Category/Knowledge

My Point of View on the Relationship Between Large Wholesale Bakeries and Small Retail Bakeries in Japan

Hello, I am James Odaira, president of Boulansserie Journal Inc. talking to you from somewhere in the syburb of Tokyo, Japan. Today, I would like to talk about the relationship between large wholesale bakeries and small retail bakeries in Japan.

Japan is the country where you can find so many kinds of breads like French bageuttes, croisants, Danish pastries, german breads, and Janaoese specialties called "kashipan", such as "anpain", "cream pain", "melonpan",and other sweet breads that originats in Japan, and the quality is very high, and I think it could be the highest in the world.

The anual market volumn of Japanese bread industry is said to be a little more than a thousand bilion yen, and the market share of the wholesalers is about 80 %, and the other 20 % is done by small retail bakeries.The share of the retail bakeries has been decreasing for so many yeras, 30 or 40 years or more.

But reatail bakeries are just as important as they were before and will be important in the futusre, too, because they are doing what large wholesale bakeries cannot do. They are priving the joy of eating hot bread just baked a minute ago, and they bake croisants which is so crispy outside and chewy insaide, which can never be provided by the wholesalers.

The whoesale bakeries, on the other hand, are doing what they are good at. They are producing baked products in large quantities to make them circulate all through Japan, which small retail bakeries cannot do.They are contributing to steady dietary life of Japanese people by proving bread products at very reasonbale prices every day.Parents who have growing kids are so gratefull to the wholesalers.

And so the both sides have their rolls to play in the market where there are virieties of needs from varieties of people.As I said earlier, the market share of the wholesalers is 80% and that of the retail bakeries is 20%, and I think the 80-20 raitio will continue for the time being, because it seems to me that the 80-20 ratio is the point where the 2 parties are best balanced when we cosider the kinds of needs and their volumns that exist in the market.

And I also think that it depends on the economic conditions. If the economy gets better, the share of the retail bakeries will increase, and if it goes into recession, the wholesalers' share will increase.