The company is also gearing up for new launches in the upcoming winter when there is usually a higher uptake of immune health supplements.
The company announced the above during its Q3 financial results presentation on November 8.
Between January and September this year, revenue from the sale of the LC-Plasma ingredient, marketed as IMMUSE, was up 45 per cent year-on-year.
Revenue from the sale of Kirin’s functional beverages containing LC-Plasma, marketed as iMUSE, was also up 35 per cent during the same period.
During the summer months of July to September, revenue of Kirin’s LC-Plasma beverages shot up by approximately 70 per cent, which the company said was driven by continuous sales promotion and new product launches.
The strong performance of functional beverages was set against the backdrop of a challenging soft drinks market environment in Japan.
“The soft drinks market in Japan also continues to face a challenging business environment, but we are working to strengthen our brand power rather than restrict marketing investment in the second half of the year as we have done in the past.
“In the health science domain, which we are focusing our efforts, the number of purchasers of LC-Plasma containing beverages have surpassed that of competing brands, and we are steadily expanding our coverage,” said Hiroaki Takaoka, senior executive officer and general manager, Corporate Strategy Department, Kirin Group, during the presentation of the financial results.
As for dietary supplements, the company said it has seen “strong sales” in iMUSE Immune Care W Care Series.
“The iMUSE Immune Care W Care Series, which also offers additional individual health issues measures, has been selling well despite its high unit price,” he said.
The company also attributed the growth to its promotional activities to stimulate demand not only in the winter when awareness of immune care is traditionally higher.
“LC-plasma related revenue has grown by a significant 45 per cent, due to the strengthening of activities, such as raising awareness of the importance of immunity in the spring and summer, when awareness of the prevention of infectious diseases has tended to be lower,” he said.
On the other hand, its other functional beverages marketed under the brand Gogo-no-Kocha and Nama-cha, saw total revenue increased by approximately five per cent yoy in January to September this year.
In the first nine months of this year, Kirin, which also runs a brewery and pharmaceutical arm, recorded a yoy revenue growth of 6.2 per cent to 1.5 trillion yen (US$10.3bn).
Profit attributable to owners of the company was, however, down 35 per cent to 83.9 billion yen (US$556m).
The volume of its functional drinks containing LC-Plasma, had increased 39.9 per cent yoy to 6300,000 cases.
In the upcoming winter season, the company will beef up its immune care promotional activities and new launches.
In this case, it has launched Kirin Oishii Immune Care Sleep on October 3, which it said would be an opportunity to further expand the reach of the product series and make immune care a habit.
“Since winter is the peak season for immune care, we aim to further expand and establish Kirin Oishii Immune Care through new products with functions that also improve the quality of sleep.”
The company has sold "approximately 50 per cent of its annual target [for Kirin Oishii Immune Care Sleep] within three weeks of its launch", the firm told us.
The company added that some of the high profitable habit-forming items for immune health were supplements and ultra-small beverages.