Japan Focus: Innovations for seniors, gut health on the go and FOSHU-certified skincare supplements in our latest country round-up

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

Japan Focus: Innovations for seniors, gut health on the go and FOSHU-certified skincare supplements in our latest country round-up

Related tags Japan Probiotics Nutricosmetics Ageing Enzymes

In our latest review of Japan's supplement and functional food sectors, we feature DSM's efforts to support healthy ageing, probiotic-rich convenience snacks, the country's first FOSHU-certified nutricosmetics product, and enzyme supplements said to improve heart health.

Older consumers are celebrating ageing, so why isn't industry innovating for them?

There is a gulf between the nutritional needs and desires of senior consumers​, and the number of products launched and marketed towards them, according to an industry expert from DSM.

Speaking at the 7th​ DSM Health Academy in Tokyo, Gita de Beer, DSM Nutritional Products' Global VP of Marketing (Food & Beverage), said that apart from Japan, industry was not taking advantage of the health and nutrition opportunities in the senior market.

"We need to look at older consumers and consider their life expectancy. They want to be healthy but the reality is many of them are not, because businesses are not providing enough products and services.

"Globally, only 1% of all such innovations is targeted at these consumers, and only 10% of all marketing is spent on them. But older consumers tend to have more money — though this is not the case for every country — and are more willing to spend, so brands need to tap into that."

Probiotics and convenience: Japanese firm launches 'on-the-go' functional products

Japanese firm House Wellness Foods is tapping into the functional food sector's growing trend of healthy convenience with a new range of products​ featuring its patented lactic acid bacteria strain, heat-killed Lactobacillus plantarum​ L-137 (HK L-137).

The products are designed to provide on-the-go nutrition in convenient formats, and include a yogurt-flavoured functional beverage and energy gel pack, a flavourless soluble powder that can be added to drinks and soups, instant Japanese curry, instant noodles, a strawberry-flavoured packaged dessert, and caramel-flavoured corn snacks.

According to the company, consumers have responded well to the products, and it expects them to become even more popular over the next few years.

GM Kotaro Soga told NutraIngredients-Asia​: "Our target demographics are men and women in their 20s to 40s, especially when it comes to the drink, soluble powder and energy gel pack. We believe the rest of the products are suitable for male and female adult consumers of all ages."

POLA Orbis launching Japan's first FOSHU-certified skincare food supplement next year

Cosmetics and skincare manufacturer POLA Orbis Holdings will launch Japan's first skincare nutricosmetics product certified as Food for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU)​ in January next year.

Named Orbis Defencera, the product was granted FOSHU status from the Consumer Agency of Japan in December last year. The specified health use for this product lies in its ability to prevent skin dryness, a spokeswoman from POLA Orbis told NutraIngredients-Asia​. 

Glucosylceramide extracted from rice germ is the active ingredient of the product. It prevents skin dryness by "making it harder for moisture to escape from the skin," ​the spokeswoman said.

The firm has conducted clinical trials with 133 men and women. Subjects who ingested glucosylceramide daily were found to retain more skin moisture within four weeks' time.

WATCH: Enzymes for heart health — Japanese firm to grow US and China markets

Japan Bio Science Laboratory (JBSL) is targeting the US and China markets to promote its enzyme dietary supplements​.

NutraIngredients-Asia ​spoke to Raita Sasaki, assistant manager (overseas division) at JBSL, during the Vitafoods Asia show, where he talked about plans for its overseas business.

Enzyme supplements that promote heart health is one of the company's main portfolio items. Its Natural Super Kinase II supplement uses Nattokinase enzymes to prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) by reducing blood pressure and preventing thrombosis, a condition where blood clots are formed in the blood vessels.

Asked the firm's reasons for focusing on the US market, he said : "CVD is often said to be the leading cause of death in the US, so people in the US are very keen on disease prevention, and food supplements are used for diseaseprevention"​, ​while huge market opportunities have drawn the company to enter the China market.

DSM collaborates with Japanese hospital group to provide nutritional rehabilitation for elderly patients

DSM has embarked on a collaboration to develop nutritional rehabilitation services​ for patients warded at Japan's Harajuku Rehabilitation Hospital.

At the recent 7th​ DSM Health Academy in Tokyo, attended by NutraIngredients-Asia, ​the company announced its partnership with Japan's Kyojunokai Group (KJK), a top rehabilitation hospital group that provides rehabilitation for patients in recovery, and works to tackle the shortage of rehabilitation hospitals in the country.

As one of the four organisations that comprise the Kamachi Group — a medical consortium that manages hospitals, schools and clinics — KJK runs 14 hospitals in Japan's Kanto and Kyushu regions, as well as the Yamaguchi prefecture.

The partnership, which has already begun, is being managed via DSM Japan KK, a local entity of Royal DSM.

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