According to Brand Finance’s Japan 200 2023 report which ranks the nation’s 200 most valuable and strongest brands, almost all food brands from 2022’s rankings saw their brand values increase as much as 19% this year. As Japan’s economy saw a growth of 2.7% in the first quarter of the year due to businesses’ robust capital spending, food brands are strengthening supply chains and executing marketing activities to expand global reach as pandemic restrictions ease.
Kikkoman reigned as the most valuable food brand (brand value up by 19% to US$4 billion), followed by Yakult (brand value sustained at US$2.1 billion), Ajinomoto (brand value up by 8% to US$2.1 billion) and Nissin (brand value up by 11% to US$1.8 billion). Seven new entrants from the food sector have also made it into our rankings this year: Meiji (brand value at US$905.79 million), Nipponham (brand value at US$832.78 million), R-1 (brand value at US$633.86 million), Morinaga (brand value at US$499.28 million), Nisshin Seifun (brand value at US$434.72 million), Calbee (brand value at US$418.86 million) and Frugra (brand value at US$365.81 million).
Toyota defended its position as the most valuable brand in Japan despite recording a decrease in brand value by 18% to US$52.49 billion. However, it was able to maintain its brand strength rating of AAA. Toyota’s decrease in brand value was mainly attributed to a dip in brand strength and a weaker Japanese Yen. Toyota’s customer-centric branding strategy was one of the main ways that allowed it to maintain a competitive advantage over its peers. For instance, the brand boasts an ecosystem of services such as Toyota Smart Centre, Toyota Big Data Centre and the Mobility Platform Centre that coordinates its efforts to deliver seamless and personalised customer service.
To strengthen global competitiveness, Toyota signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Suzuki to integrate the former’s strength in electrification and the latter’s expertise in technologies for compact vehicles – towards the joint production of electrified vehicles. Through this collaboration, both brands seek to create superior hybrid vehicles to capture foreign market share in countries such as India and Africa.
Asahi emerged as Japan’s strongest brand, maintaining its stellar AAA+ brand strength. The beers brand had charted an 11% increase in brand value to US$2.84 billion, rising nine positions to 49th place. Asahi continues to actively pursue promotional activities to enhance its global presence and brand recognition, investing in global marketing campaigns and sponsoring sporting events. In 2022, Asahi launched its biggest global marketing campaign with a multi-channel advertising campaign “Beyond Expected” to showcase the unique taste of Asahi Super Dry to Australia. This year, it is the Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup France 2023, making Asahi Super Dry the official beer for the tournament.
Moving forward, the brand plans to increase investments in low-alcohol beverages, non-alcohol beer-taste beverages and adult soft drinks to meet consumers’ diversifying alcohol consumption preferences. In 2022, Asahi launched its first alcohol-free beer, Asahi Super Dry 0.0% as part of its pledge for 20% of its product range to have alcohol-free alternatives by 2030. Its “Smart Drinking” initiative also strives to tackle alcohol-related societal issues by creating an inclusive drinking culture, as seen in the opening of SUMADORI-BAR SHIBUYA. As a joint venture with Dentsu Digital, this experiential flagship store allows consumers of alcoholic and non-alcoholic preferences to enjoy Asahi’s beverages together.
Inpex claims the title of the fastest growing brand in our rankings this year, posting an impressive 29% rise in brand value to US$2.88 billion. Likewise, its ranking was catapulted by 18 positions to 48th place although its brand strength rating declined from AA- to A+. Inpex’s improvement in brand value was largely attributed to its acquisition of offshore wind power farms in 2022.
The Oil & Gas brand is setting its sights on further diversifying its business portfolio by leveraging renewable energy and developing new technologies. In 2022, it acquired several projects internationally such as the geothermal power generation projects in Indonesia and offshore wind generation plants in Europe. Its collaborations with Nissan Chemical Corporation and OILMIND LLC in developing a next-generation chemical water shut-off (WSO) technology received widespread international recognition. Inpex won the Innovation and Technology Award at the Energy Awards of the Middle East Oil & Gas and the Middle East Geosciences & Exhibition in 2023. The new WSO technology was highly commended for its capabilities in significantly reducing carbon emissions during production processes.
Alex Haigh, Managing Director – Asia Pacific of Brand Finance, commented:
“In Brand Finance’s Top 200 Japan brands rankings this year, Toyota, Asahi and Inpex have topped the ranks as most valuable, strongest and fastest growing brand respectively. Congratulations! We would also like to commend the food brands in our rankings which have seen growth in brand value, attributed to their efforts in strengthening their supply chains and expanding global reach.”
 Brand value is understood as the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. The full ranking, additional insights, charts, more information about the methodology and definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Japan 200 2023 report.
 Brand Finance determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity and business performance. Compliant with ISO 20671, Brand Finance’s assessment of stakeholder equity incorporates original market research data from over 150,000 respondents in 38 countries and across 31 sectors.