UK obesity and business opportunities


The obesity rate in the UK is very high, compared with other European countries and is increasing. In Japan, the proportion of overweight/obese people in men is 29% and in women 20% (MHLW2013). However, in England, the statistics are 67% for men and 57% for women (HSCIC2013). The UK government is implementing policies to promote more healthy lifestyles. When I go to the drinks sections in major London supermarkets, I am always surprised at the lack of healthy options. The various tea selections to be found in Japan – which do not contain sugars or sweeteners – do not exist and vegetable juice selections are often either tomato juice containing salt or a large bottle of “high end” carrot juice. People may think that a bottle of tea will be difficult to sell in the UK, but seeing its increasing popularity in Asian restaurants in London makes me think it could. Of course, good marketing which promotes these drinks as the “healthy option” is likely to increase demand. I have often bought bottles of green tea in convenience stores in Japan. I was brought up in a household which always had Kagome vegetable and fruit juice. So, for me, the drinks section in London supermarkets is challenging and on every visit I think of the significant business opportunities open to Japanese companies. I would love to be involved in these projects.

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