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Japan’s appetite for cheese grows amid pursuing FTA with EU

Cheese consumption in Japan has been growing, as people prefer eating at home than dining out to save some extra cash, official data has showed.

But Japanese farmers have failed to meet that demand as the domestic cheese production has been declining. So, floods of imports are taking advantage of filling the gap.

The trend comes at a time when the free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU will come into force early next year.

The EU is well known for specialty cheeses and one of the world’s major exporters of the dairy products.

Japanese consumption for cheese increased 5.3% to 338,344 metric tons in 2017 from a year earlier. It’s the third straight year of record-breaking cheese consumption, the agriculture ministry said on July 13.

Japanese growing appetite for cheese has been filled by imports. That will be accelerated by FTAs with food exporting countries such as the EU and New Zealand, experts say.