A traditional Japanese dish prepared by fermenting soybeans with Bacillus subtilis, Natto forms a healthy breakfast food. It satisfies the demand of customers for the healthy product at lower cost, especially in Japan. Other countries such as U.S., U.K., Germany imports Natto from Japan. According to various reports, Japanese population alone consume about 7.5 billion packets of natto each year while enjoying long lives—85 years for women and 78 for men. On the contrary, American lifespans average 79.1 years for women and 74.1 for men. Natto appears to be uncanny and has an absurd smell, but it’s highly nutritious. Natto offers several health benefits, including preventing strokes and heart attacks, increasing bone density, promoting weight loss, aiding digestion, and decreasing risks of cancer. Natto is gaining popularity among the consumers who long for food safety. Also, senior citizens living alone find it convenient to consume natto as it can be bought & eaten with ready-to-eat food at supermarkets. Many studies state that younger population doesn’t contribute to the Natto market due to the sticky texture & strong odor it carries. They prefer other soy products over Natto.

Exhibit 1 : A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) portion provides the following Nutritional Value:

Calories

212

Fat

11 grams

Carbohydrates

14 grams

Fiber

5 grams

Proteins

18 grams

Manganese

76% of RDI

Iron

48% of RDI

Copper

33% of RDI

Vitamin K

29% of RDI

Magnesium

29% of RDI

Calcium

22% of RDI

Vitamin C

22% of RDI

Potassium

21% of RDI

Zinc

20% of RDI

Selenium

13% of RDI

Source: Healthline Data

RDI: Recommended Daily Intake

Japan is the biggest market for Natto (consuming 125,000 MT Natto daily), which is prepared by importing soybeans from countries such as United States. Natto is also gaining market in the U.S. as American Soybean Association along with U.S. Soybean Export Council created an award given to the Natto which is made with U.S. soy. The idea behind is to promote the use of U.S. Soy in the Natto industry.

Reasons for covering this title

The demand for Natto is high with increased production & export of soybean to Japan in return for creating a market opportunity for developed countries in Natto industry. The population in developed nations are focused towards consumption of healthy products. Growing awareness & knowledge about the health benefits of soybean is creating a market opportunity for Natto resulting in increased imports of the product from Japan. The developed economies are also moving a step ahead & manufacturing the product domestically as they are already rich in production of soybean. Soybean imports have been constant in Japan from last 2 years (1650 thousand MT) (Source: USDA), hence supporting the fact that developed nations are heading towards manufacturing in-house Natto.

Another reason behind covering the title is the growing applications of Natto. Previously Natto used to be available at supermarkets in packaged form, however, now it is also available in the form of supplements called Nattokinase. Nattokinase is an enzyme which is extracted from Natto and is available in the form of supplements. It helps in preventing & treating hypertension, seasonal allergies like sinus, and blood clots.

Natto is also available in the form of cosmetic products. The companies sell natto skin moisturizers which help in capturing & storing moisture in the skin.  

Global Natto Market – Key Players

Some of the key players operating in the global Natto market are – Captek, CP Kelco, Japan Traditional Foods Inc., MegummiNatto, Azuma Shokuhin Co., World Food Processing

  • In March 2017, Mizkan in Aichi Prefecture released a product called "Kume natto," made up of large-size domestic soybeans. Because of which sales increased between March and August 2017 by nearly 10 percent
  • In June 2012 CP Kelco entered into functional skincare with AquaMAX™ product line manufactured by fermented soybeans such as Natto.

Global Natto Market – Segmentation

On the basis of types, the Global Natto Market has been segmented as –

  • Sticky Natto – which is used for consumption purposes
    • Whole Soybean Natto
    • Hikiwari Natto
    • Goto Natto
  • Dried Natto

On the basis of applications, the Global Natto Market has been segmented as –

  • Packaged Food
  • Supplements
  • Functional skincare

Market Opportunities –

The aging population is creating a market opportunity for the Natto market.  In 2010, an estimate of 534 Million people grew older than 65 which is 8% of the world’s population. It is expected that the number will be tripled by 2050 to 1.5 billion creating opportunities for our target market.

Exhibit 2: Older people living alone or with spouse only

natto market

Source: UN

Also, there is an untapped opportunity for the younger population who do not contribute to the overall market because of the basic features of Natto. The Natto federations are launching natto-themed competitions in schools & colleges in order to enhance its consumption among the younger generation.

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