The report, titled “In-depth Analysis of FFC Notified During the First Half of FY2022”, was produced by consultancy firm Smooth Link Inc.
Between April and September 2022, a total of 580 FFCs were notified to the Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) – the authority overseeing the FFC system.
In fact, the number of FFCs claiming to support fatigue and stress relief in the first half of FY22, has exceeded the total of such products between April 2015 and April 2022.
“The novel coronavirus is still causing an impact, and products claiming to support weight management due to the lack of exercise and stress relief from working from home are popular.
“The growth of products claiming to improve cognitive function in light of the ageing population is also attracting attention,” Hisaaki Kato, president at Smooth Link and author of the report said.
Examples of FFCs for cognitive health are those that claim to support attention, spatial cognition, and verbal memory.
Other popular FFCs were those related to blood pressure, blood glucose level, joint health, cholesterol, and immune function.
In terms of specific body parts, there were more FFCs designed to tackle the abdomen, followed by skin and eyes.
Formulations and ingredients
The majority of the 580 FFCs notified in the first half of FY22 used only one functional ingredient.
According to the report, which was compiled based on data available from the CAA’s database, 418 FFCs used only one functional ingredient, and the remaining 162 used multiple ingredients.
Kato pointed out that while γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), DHA/EPA, and indigestible dextrin remained the top three most popular ingredients, others such as propionic acid and Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2716 have also squeezed into the top 10 most used ingredients.
A breakdown shows that 55 single ingredient FFCs contained GABA, while 20 contained indigestible dextrin, 10 contained propionic acid, and nine contained Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2716.
For multiple ingredients FFCs, 26 contained DHA and EPA, 18 contained lutein and zeaxanthin, while eight contained astaxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Propionic acid has been reported to reduce abdominal fat in individuals with elevated body mass index (BMI).
On the other hand, Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2716 is the proprietary strain of Meiji. It is used in the company’s Meiji Probio Yogurt LG21 and claims to relieve temporary digestive problem.
Meiji has applied the FFC status for the product with the health claim “LG21 lactic acid bacteria relieves temporary digestion inhibition” and has launched the product in Japan on December 6 last year.
The total number of successful FFCs notifications was 580 in the first half of FY22, which was down approximately 17 per cent compared to the same period last year.
“It is said that the number of notifications submitted by businesses to the CAA this fiscal year was same as the previous fiscal year, suggesting an increase in the number of notifications that did not make the mark,” Kato said in the report.