Earlier this year, Q’sai was acquired by three entities, AP Fund, Euglena Co and Tokyo Century which will form a joint venture together.
The ultimate plan is for Q’sai to transform from a mail-order company producing health foods and cosmetics, to developing products and services to support healthy ageing.
Q’sai is known for its flagship kale (Aojiru) juice marketed under the brand The Kale, knee support collagen series, and Cola-Rich and Skinkalede series of cosmetics.
Its latest supplement is registered as a food with functional claim (FFC), claiming to enhance the skin barrier and provides moisturising properties for people concerned with dry skin.
The functional ingredient in the supplement is glucosylceramide derived from rice germ, which increase ceramide levels in the skin.
Ceramides are lipids (fatty acids) found nationally in skin cells, making up about 50% of the outer skin layer (epidermis). It helps create a barrier to prevent permeability against environmental threats such as UV, pollution, as well as locks in moisture which reduces dryness and irritation.
Ceramide levels decreases with age. The amount of ceramide in a 60-year-old decreases to half the levels found in 20 year-old, resulting in dry skin.
Q’sai conducted research back in November 2018, on 5,946 people aged 40 to 70 years old. The research showed that more than 80% of women, and 60% of men were concerned with dry skin.
With additional skin concerns accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic such as skin roughness due to prolonged usage of masks and frequent disinfection, Q’sai anticipates demand for products to solve such skin issues to increase further, according to Minami Maeda from public relations.
Dry skin is also the cause of fine lines and wrinkles, creating a dull appearance. Areas including the face, hands and neck are most susceptible to dryness.
The company said in order to protect the moisture of the skin, it was important to enhance the barrier function of the skin not only from topical skin care such as lotion, but also from the inside of the body, hence it developed the supplement for dry skin.
Glucosylceramide works by reducing the amount of moisture transpirating of the skin. According to Minami, glucosylceramide is a rare ingredient, where only 1g can be extracted from 1 ton of brown rice.
Each supplement tablet contains 1.8mg of glucosylceramide, which is equivalent to the amount found in 6kg of white rice or 2kg of brown rice.
The supplement is sold on the company’s online store in Japan, in 30 tablets.
Q’sai also recently launched a few skin care products under the Skinkalede brand, including a cleansing gel and a clear milk emulsion for moisturising functions. Skinkalede also produces lotions, made using its kale extract.
Its other cosmetic brand, Cola-Rich, mostly sells gel products.
Minami told us: “We are going to expand our product lineup under both brands.”
Q’sai has recorded annual sales of about JPY25bn (US$228m) with 370,000 mail order customers.
It is specifically hoping to enter the ‘pre-senior’ consumer market, targeting healthy life expectancy and improving quality of life.