Japan focus: Kirin-Blackmores deal, Asahi-owned supplement brand and more

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images
©Getty Images

Related tags Japan Kirin Blackmores Asahi

This round-up features exclusive analysis on the Kirin and Blackmores deal, Senju-funded research findings, Asahi-owned Dear-Natura’s product development, and more.
Combo of astaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin found to improve eye-hand coordination impaired by prolonged screen time – Senju-funded RCT

A clinical trial funded by Senju Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary supplementation of astaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin on eye-hand coordination and smooth-pursuit eye movements following long-term visual display terminal (VDT) activity.

Eye-hand coordination is the ability to process information received through the eyes to control, guide and direct movements of the hands.

“This study supports the hypothesis that VDT activity temporarily impairs eye-hand coordination and smooth-pursuit eye movements, and that astaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation is beneficial in mitigating VDT-induced decline of eye-hand coordination,”​ the authors said.

Kirin / Blackmores deal – Exclusive analysis: Japan giant eyes immunity growth and functional food innovation

Kirin and Blackmores announced their acquisition plan valued at AUD$1.88bn (US$1.24 billion)​ on April 27.

The two companies had been in talks since last year, Kirin revealed to NutraIngredients-Asia​, with Blackmores’ management expected to continue leading the firm.

Kirin is likely to leverage Blackmores’ established sales channels and double down on new product development in the wake of the deal, according to exclusive insights from the Japanese giant and industry experts.

Likewise, Blackmores can expect to gain from Kirin’s R&D capabilities, especially in terms of dosage formats and environmentally friendly packaging. The company may also co-develop products with another Japanese firm FANCL, in which Kirin holds a stake in.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF COMMENT: Blackmores sale - a best-case outcome for all concerned?

Rumours that the Blackmores’ board – and its largest individual shareholder Marcus Blackmore – were open to a takeover have bubbled away for at least 18 months.

To many outside of Japan, and those with only a passing interest in the dietary supplements industry, the fact that Kirin, best known for its booze, is splashing out US$1.2bn on the iconic Aussie nutra brand was probably something of a surprise. But it shouldn’t be.

Gary Scattergood, Editor-in-Chief of FoodNavigator-Asia​, NutraIngredients-Asia​ and CosmeticsDesign-Asia ​gives his take on the Kirin-Blackmores deal.

Self-care sales boost: Rising demand for ‘efficient nutrient consumption’ drives growth for Asahi-owned supplement brand

The concept of consuming nutrients “as efficiently as possible”​ is rising in Japan, with Asahi-owned Dear-Natura reporting a 106 per cent increase in sales volume last year.

In a survey by Asahi Group Foods last December, more than 50 per cent of the respondents expressed their wish to “finish breakfast quickly”.

Furthermore, one in three people said that they want to consume nutrients “as efficiently as possible”,​ and that it is difficult to get sufficient nutrients for the day from food intake alone. The survey included 2,150 men and women aged 20 years and above.

Beyond hydration: Kirin launches first FFC-labelled sports nutrition drink in Japan  

Kirin has launched its first Food with Function Claims (FFC) sports nutrition drink with immune health benefits. This was a product developed based on consumer survey which showed that consumers were looking for more than nutritional, hydrating benefits when purchasing sports drinks.

The age group of the respondents — 40s to 50s — account for about 40% of sports drink users in Japan.

The new product, known as Kirin Plasma Sports, contains Kirin’s proprietary functional ingredient Lactococcus lactis strain plasma​ (LC-Plasma).

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