How Much Fruit do Japanese Eat? Not Much – And Here’s Why

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  October 19, 2020

I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

According to a 2013 survey by the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization, Japan’s food supply per capita is only at 144.8 grams per day.

That makes Japan one of the countries with the lowest fruit supply in the world.

In fact, the fruit supply per person in this Asian country is about half of the amount per person in the United States.

How much fruit do Japanese eat?

So, how much fruit do Japanese eat?

Not much.

While they are especially fond of raw meat, seafood, and vegetables, people in Japan do not eat much fruit, and here’s why.

Why do the Japanese eat Less Fruit?

Unlike in other countries, fruits play a different role in Japanese culture.

Fruits are often regarded as gifts that you give to impress people or to show gratitude.

Furthermore, it is common to only serve a few slices of fruits after a traditional kaiseki meal.

Because fruits hold a regal status in the Japanese culture, they should be perfect and blemish-free.

“Premium” fruits are quite expensive and can go as much as 3,000 Yen per piece.

In a survey conducted by the Japan Fruit Association in 2014, they discovered that one of the reasons people do not buy or eat fruit every day is because they are expensive.

This is not surprising at all since growing fruits in Japan is labor-intensive.

Most fruit farms in the country are family-owned and follow traditional ways of fruit cultivation.

Also, 80% of Japan’s landmass consists of mountains. This means there is not much room for fruit crops.

Fruits in Japan are also highly regulated.

Farmers must produce them according to the size, color, and taste set by the Japan Agricultural Cooperative.

To summarize, all these factors contribute to the high cost of fruits in the country, and the lack of enthusiasm by the Japanese people for it.

Can you buy Cheap Fruits in Japan?

Of course! For instance, bananas are relatively cheap in Japan.

Japanese people are particularly strict about the food they buy and eat. That includes fruits.

You might find fruits in major supermarkets and grocery stores around Japan expensive because they are the blemish-free and near “perfect” kinds.

If you want affordable fruits, you may consider buying at local fruit stands and markets where they sell fruits at modest prices.

You should also avoid buying fruits that are not in season because they tend to be expensive.

Eating fruit is more common in the Philippines, check out this Filipino Fruit Salad Recipe

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.