The top 10 most read Japan health and nutrition stories in 2019

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images
©Getty Images

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Read our top 10 most viewed Japan health and nutrition for this year, including the rapidly growing Food with Functional Claims industry, firms entering the lucrative nutricosmetics sector, and mushroom consumption’s benefits against prostate cancer.
Suntory reveals top five functional beverage trends shaping Japan's market

Suntory has identified the top five consumer trends​ shaping Japan's booming dietary supplement market.

The country is witnessing a sharp increase in new product development, largely stemming from regulatory changes.

While firms previously had to adhere to the stringent Foods for Special Health Uses (FOSHU) rules, the introduction of the less rigorous Foods with Functional Claims (FFC) in 2015 enabled more innovation.


Ageing in Japan: FANCL launches supplements to regulate uric acid levels in middle-aged men

Japanese skincare firm FANCL has launched a supplement to reduce uric acid levels in men, and claims it is the first supplement​ to do so in Japan.

Targeted at middle-aged men, the supplement named Uric Acid Support comes in the form of capsules and is registered as a Food with Function Claim (FFC)​.

An elevated level of uric acid is a cause for concern, as it may lead to hyperuricaemia and eventually, gout. In response to queries from NutraIngredients-Asia​, a spokesman said the product was able to regulate uric acid levels due to the presence of ampelopsin and chitosan.


From Cup Noodles to nutricosmetics: Japan's Nissin launches probiotic and collagen beauty drink

Japanese food firm Nissin, best known for its Cup Noodles, is venturing into the nutricosmetics scene with the launch of its beauty beverage​, Fermented Hyalmoist Lactobacillus Drink.

The first beauty product by the company, Hyalmoist claims to provide moisturising benefits, reduce skin damage from UV rays, and decrease melanin production. The product has been available for sale since Monday, January 28.

Hyalmoist Lactobacillus​ (Lactobacillus gasseri​ N320), the probiotic ingredient present in the product, was selected after the firm had screened 1,000 different bacteria strains.


Japan sports nutrition leader Meiji eyeing 10% sales growth amid expanding market

Meiji is aiming for 10.6% sales growth​ for its sports nutrition business amid a flourishing domestic market.

If the target is met, the firm will generate a sales figure of ¥$21.1bn (US$190m).

Not much is known about Meiji's sports nutrition portfolio outside of Japan. Besides dairy products, it is in fact a forerunner in the domestic sports nutrition space, led by the success of its flagship brand SAVAS, which was launched in the 1980s.


Asahi JV launches new mother and baby formula range to drive growth in Vietnam

Asahi-Nutifood — the joint-venture firm consisting of Asahi Group Foods and Vietnam Nutrition Food JSC (Nutifood) — has announced the launch​ of its new range of infant and maternal formula products for the Vietnamese market.

The products, which are manufactured at Asahi's Tochigi Sakura Factory in Japan and imported to Vietnam, feature four types of milk formula under Asahi's brand of infant and maternal nutrition, Wakodo: Step 1 formula for infants up to one year old, Step 2 formula for children aged one to three, Step 3 formula for children aged three and older, and Wakodo Mom, for pregnant and lactating mothers.

Tailored specifically to meet the needs of Vietnamese infants and young children, the three infant and child nutrition products contain galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) to improve intestinal environment and stool consistency.


Japanese sexual enhancement supplement no longer on sale amid 'date rape drug' criticism

Japanese lingerie maker Peach John has stopped selling its sexual enhancement​ supplement, Love Potion, after the product was criticised as a potential date rape drug.

Love Potion was merely launched about two months ago and contains eight main ingredients, including cocoa and velvet bean.

The supplement, which comes in powdered form, was marketed as a product that “arouses feelings of passion” ​and a “love supplement for both men and women”, ​making it clear that it was an aphrodisiac.


No beer belly: Kirin releases non-alcoholic beer with fat-reducing function

Kirin is preparing to launch its non-alcoholic beer with a Food with Functional Claim (FFC) label in Japan.

The beer, Kirin Karada Free, contains matured hop extract (S-Ignite​) which the firm claims to help reduce abdominal fat​.

Toshiaki Hyodo from the corporate communication at Kirin Holdings told NutraIngredients-Asia​, that there was an increasing awareness in health and moderate exercise, “and consumers are looking to obtain (health) benefits from drinking beverages​.”


Foods with Function Claims in Japan: Four years on, which firms have benefited most from the regulations?

FANCL, Nippon Suisan, and Ezaki Glico are three of the biggest beneficiaries​ of Japan's Food with Function Claims (FFC), which was introduced four years ago and gave firms more opportunities to make health claims without going through the more stringent FOSHU process.

FANCL's revenue climbed from ¥800m (US$7.2m) to ¥5bn (US$45.5m) in the period since the FFC system was introduced.

The information was revealed by FANCL's executive VP and director, Kazumi Miyajima, when he was speaking a panel discussion at an event organised by Japan Direct Marketing Association (JADMA) recently. The theme of the event was to commemorate the FFC system's fourth 'anniversary'.


Cute culture? Japan’s Takanashi Group launching beauty-from-within yoghurt drink

Japanese dairy manufacturer Takanashi Group is launching what it believes is the first yoghurt drink for good skin backed by a Food With Function claim (FFC).

The flora yogurt drink claims to relieve dry skin​ and keep it moist with its functional component, lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillusrhamnosus GG​, reported to help moisturise skin from inside.

The product is sold as a FFC, and contains 14 billion strains per 100mL.


Frequent mushroom consumption associated with reduced prostate cancer risk: Japan cohort study

Habitual mushroom intake may help to prevent prostate cancer, especially in middle-aged and elderly Japanese men, according to the findings of a new cohort study​.

Researchers from Japan believed they were the first to investigate this link, and that their work is “the first cohort study indicating the prostate cancer-preventive potential of mushrooms at a population level​.”

They published their findings on the International Journal of Cancer​.

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