Japan focus: Kirin’s and Suntory’s quest for new health foods markets, gym trainers develop protein powder for women and more

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Our latest news coverage on Japan's health foods industry features stories on Kirin and Suntory. ©Getty Images
Our latest news coverage on Japan's health foods industry features stories on Kirin and Suntory. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Japan, Kirin, Suntory

Read about the latest health foods business and scientific news involving the Japanese firms and consumer markets, including Kirin’s and Suntory’s external markets expansion plans in our country round-up.
No strain no gain: Kirin seeks expansion for immunity and anti-ageing functional foods

Kirin is seeking to secure new markets for its functional food brand “iMUSE”, which contains the lactic acid bacteria Lactococcus Plasma, with work also underway to include another strain, Lactobacillus KW.

Speaking at our Healthy Ageing APAC Summit in Singapore, Dr Daisuke Fujiwara from the firm’s Business Creation Department, shared Kirin’s research in this novel area to develop immunity strengthening and anti-ageing products.

Fujiwara said:​ “Along with ageing, our body also comes with other problems like muscle loss, metabolic decline, skin deterioration, bone density reduction, eye problem, and infections​.

Suntory in China: Firm to expand supplements and health food offerings via e-commerce

Japan’s Suntory is expanding its health foods portfolio in China through an existing joint venture with Citic Group – a Chinese state conglomerate.

Local Japanese media NHK reported that Suntory will launch the health foods business to meet growing demand of affluent and health-conscious Chinese consumers.

NutraIngredients-Asia has confirmed​ with Suntory that the initiative would take place via an existing JV company known as the China Jiangsu Suntory Foods formed in 1984.

Personal trainers driving NPD: Japanese gyms to sell protein powder for women developed by instructors

A new brand of protein powder designed by personal trainers is being launched in Japanese gyms, especially for the female sports nutrition market.

Under the brand name THE BOUTÉ, the chocolate-flavoured protein powder will be is exclusively available in gym centres from this month. Involving about 300 out of 530 personal trainers from Japan’s Personal Trainer Research Institute, the product development took 14 months, with the goal of “creating Japan’s best protein.”

This is the first product​ developed by the institute and was launched by Leverage, a Japanese firm that runs an array of sports-related business, including the management of more than 900 gyms, where it matches gym-goers with the right trainers, and a media platform that talks about sports and fitness.

Japanese teens and supplements: Males hot on sports nutrition, females target weight management

Japanese males aged between 15 and 18 taking supplements most commonly seek sports benefits, while girls seek weight loss products, according to a nationwide survey conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Health and Nutrition.

The study examined the differences in perceptions and usages of dietary supplements among so-called ‘active and passive users’.

They surveyed​ 1031 high school students (276 male, 755 female) between the ages of 15 to 18. Findings suggest 30.8% of males use dietary supplements compared to 26.7% in females.

Japanese researchers advise against vitamin D supplementation for recovering stroke patients

Japanese researchers do not recommend the use of vitamin D supplementation for post-acute stroke patients, despite low vitamin D levels being linked to poorer post-stroke outcomes.

Researchers at the Teikyo University School of Medicine and Jikei University School of Medicine conducted a multi-centre RCT to examine the impact of vitamin D supplementation on outcomes in hospitalised patients undergoing rehabilitation after suffering acute stroke.

The 5.5-year study​ (conducted from January 2012 to June 2017) involved 100 patients who had been admitted to a convalescent rehabilitation ward after experiencing an acute stroke. Every day, each patient was given either 2,000IU of vitamin D3, or a placebo.

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