Supermarket Tradeshow 2018 signals direction of Japanese retail

By Devin Yoshimoto, Jan 15, 2018, 16:30 3 minute reading

updated at: Jan 17, 2018, 04:59

Supermarket Tradeshow 2018, Japan’s largest retail exhibition, will be held on 14-16 February 2018, immediately following ATMOsphere Japan 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. This website spoke to the New Supermarket Association of Japan’s Tetsuichiro Tomihari about the upcoming February exhibition.

The Supermarket Tradeshow (SMTS) is Japan’s largest retail exhibition and is the key event to attend to witness the latest trends shaping the country’s retail industry. This website spoke to the New Supermarket Association of Japan to find out more.

The event is a key exhibition showcasing the latest natural refrigerant technologies being developed by the country’s leading manufacturers and suppliers.

With 2017 having proven to be a very significant year for the Japanese HVAC&R market, SMTS 2018 is sure to be a key event to attend for those interested in opportunities in the retail sector.

Last year saw the debut of Panasonic's 30-HP system for CO2 use in larger applications signalling the company's anticipation of the opportunities in this sector. 

Also in attendance were several international suppliers of plug-in hydrocarbon cabinets, such as Fricon, Liebherr, IARP, KREA, and AHT, showing the growing interest in hydrcarbon systems in the Japanese market. 

This year's event promises to show what's in store for COand hydrocarbon use in the Japanese commercial retail market in 2018.

The event will be held on 14-16 February.

We spoke to Tetsuichiro Tomihari, exhibition section manager for SMTS organiser the New Supermarket Association of Japan, to gain some insight into the event itself as well as Japan’s unique retail industry.

Can you give us a brief history of SMTS? When did it begin and how has it changed?

We started this tradeshow (Self-Service Fair) in 1964 to offer the latest information to the food distribution industry focused on supermarkets.

When it began, Japanese regional supermarket owners joined the show to experience the latest technologies such as registers, showcases, and other retail-related store facilities.

In 1991, we changed the show name to Supermarket Trade Show and moved to Makuhari Messe, which is one of the biggest venues in Japan, to expand the space.

In 2016, when we celebrated our 50th anniversary, the show was held in conjunction with the FOOD TABLE in JAPAN show.

The whole event consisted of 4 comprehensive exhibitions – eliminating the barriers between the retail, ready-made meal, and food service industries in order to promote not only retailers but also all food-related industries.

What can attendees look forward to at Supermarket Tradeshow 2018?

Continuing from last year’s event, the Future Store "NOW" project will again be featured at the show.

Future Store "NOW" is a continuous near-future supermarket research project that focuses on sharing solutions to the biggest issues currently faced by supermarkets – issues such as societal changes (ageing population, declining birthrate, population decrease, labor shortages, etc.) as well as the creation of identity and productivity improvements.

Ideas and possible solutions toward these societal changes contribute to the development of the supermarket industry by discussing both the retail industry and related businesses.

Of course, environmental issues will also be one of the main issues next year.

Additionally, there will be a Japanese Craft Sake & Beer Zone where attendees will meet products of craftsmen who value Japanese tradition. About 30 selected brewers will join to serve good sake and beer.

In 2017, we saw several companies exhibiting natural refrigerant technology. Do you expect to see more companies exhibiting this technology in 2018?

Of course. We expect our exhibitors to exhibit their latest showcase technology that gives retailers benefits.

Japan's Ministry of Environment has just confirmed a subsidy for natural refrigerants for retailers beginning this year. Do you think this will be a big boost for the retail industry to adopt natural refrigerant technology?

I think it will be a very effective effort for companies thinking about environmental measures.

However, for small and medium-sized retailers, the cost is still high, so I think we can accelerate [natural refrigerant technology] further if we can show its specific benefits.

For more information on SMTS 2018 click here.

To register for ATMOsphere Japan 2018 click here.

By Devin Yoshimoto

Jan 15, 2018, 16:30

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