Thanks to advances in technology and the availability of products, online grocery shopping in Japan and elsewhere has surged in popularity. Millennials especially are embracing online shopping and leading the market, particularly in the search for niche or specialty products. The driver behind the popularity of online retailers is convenience as you can order and receive products without leaving home. Currently, around 25% of households in America buy some of their groceries online and the number is set to increase. In the Asia Pacific region, 37% of consumers order groceries online. In China, the statistics are even higher with around 46% of households buying their groceries online.
In 2015, 28% of households in Japan purchased some products online. However, only 14% of the total revenue spent went to online grocery shopping in Japan. Many people still prefer to select their own fresh food, which is hampering the growth of online grocery shopping. Many online shopping services are still only available in Japanese. That being said, there are some websites catering to the current e-commerce boom.
Healthy, organic, natural and special diets
Shopping for specialty foods or goods that cater to specific diets are even more limited in Japan and perhaps many of the websites you come across are in fact, overseas businesses. If you do happen upon a website that sells organic or natural products for example, many obstacles may stand between you and the product. Firstly, there is usually a very high premium attached to it as it needs to be imported. Secondly, the item might not be allowed through customs. Third, if it is a Japanese website, the language barrier can pose a problem. Or consequently, if it is an international website, they may not even post to Japan. If they happen to post to Japan, you may have to pay exorbitant shipping fees and import duties that could even exceed the monetary value of the product itself. Also, you probably won’t be able to get fresh or frozen goods shipped to you due to customs restrictions.
For organic produce, eggs and poultry, Biomarche is a good local option. They have a variety of fruit and vegetable subscription boxes for every lifestyle. The website is only in Japanese, however if you call them up then you can speak to them in English.
Natural House is a supermarket collective with brick and mortar stores in Tokyo with a focus on fresh produce, meat, seafood, eggs and baked goods. Their online store has a variety of natural foods, personal care and beauty products. The Natural House online store is only available in Japanese.
SuperOrganic is a website dedicated to organic and ethically sourced food and products. They also have links to vegetarian and healthy restaurants and websites. The website is currently only in Japanese.
Tengu Natural Foods
There are many vegetarian and vegan foods on offer with a wide variety of Alishan products and products from other international retailers. If you’re in Saitama you could also head to the Alishan restaurant for delicious plant based food and pick up groceries in person!
Terre de Cigogne
Terre de Cigogne specializes in natural and organic kids and baby products, with everything from clothes, toys, food and even products for mum!
Amazon is a force to be reckoned with, and thanks to the advent of Prime, you can buy not only groceries but many other products and receive it within the same day.
Similar to Amazon Japan, Rakuten is an online market that covers a wide array of products, but it doesn’t quite rival Amazon Japan yet.
National Azabu Supermarket in Hiroo is one of the retailers on HonestBee, a grocery delivery service that ships to limited places in Tokyo.
The Flying Pig
The Flying Pig not only has Costco products on offer but also products available for personal import from Hawaii. The prices are quite steep, but there is a decent seasonal selection with offerings for Halloween, Christmas and other special holidays.
The Meat Guy
If you’re looking for artisan meats like kangaroo or lamb then The Meat Guy is for you! They also sell products from around the world and other hard to find items like cheeses or grass fed butter. There are also grocery items such as meat pies which are always a crowd pleaser.
Foreign Buyers Club USA
The Foreign Buyers Club began among a small group of expats in Japan as a way to get hard-to-find foods from home with products from the USA.
Looking through the options for online grocery shopping in Japan gives you hope that more products and services will become available in the near future as the net boom continues. It’s all too easy to sidetrack your health and fitness goals while shopping online, with the availability of exotic candy and snacks available at the click of a button. The range of natural and additive-free foods from Sugarlady like frozen organic produce, chemical free meat, seasonings and more means you can meal prep nutritious meals before you get stuck into vegan chocolate puddings or daifuku.
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