Crocetin creation: Meiji launching functional milk beverage that supports vision and sleep

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Meiji is releasing a new functional beverage that claims to support eye accommodation and improve sleep quality. ©Meiji
Meiji is releasing a new functional beverage that claims to support eye accommodation and improve sleep quality. ©Meiji

Related tags Meiji FFC functional beverage Eye Sleep

Japanese dairy giant Meiji is set to release a new Foods with Function Claims (FFC) product that it says would support eye accommodation and improve sleep quality.

The milk beverage, called Meiji Eye and Sleep W Support, contains 7.5mg of functional ingredient crocetin, a carotenoid derived from gardenia fruit and saffron. Due to its small molecular weight, it can be easily absorbed into the body.

“This product is recommended for people who have problems with their vision and sleep.Crocetin has been reported to alleviate the decline in eye accommodation caused by computer work, improve depth of sleep, and relieve sleepiness and fatigue upon waking.

“It is also a fat-free drink (less than 0.5mg of fat per 100ml, based on food labelling standards) that contains 100mg of tryptophan, an essential amino acid. It comes in a refreshing orange-chamomile flavour and is recommended to be consumed before going to bed,” ​the firm said.

With this launch, Meiji seeks to address current concerns of Japanese consumers, particularly among the young- to middle-aged population.

The firm shared the latest findings from pharmaceutical company TSUMURA & CO’s “4th Survey on the Situation of Feeling Somewhat Unwell” published on January 16.

“Somewhat unwell” is defined as a general term for symptoms that people are aware of but tend to tolerate, or symptoms that cause unwellness but cannot be clinically diagnosed.

TSUMURA & CO has been conducting consumer surveys on this topic since 2021. Its most recent survey was held online from December 4 to 7, 2023, and included 3,000 Japanese men and women in their 20s to 60s.

The results showed that the number of respondents who felt somewhat unwell increased from 72.1% in 2022 to 80% in 2023, with women in their 30s having the highest percentage (90%).

Additionally, the most common symptom experienced was fatigue or sluggishness, followed by eye strain, stiff shoulders, and headache. This is similar to the findings from the third edition of this survey.

The top reasons contributing to these symptoms were “lack of sleep”, “lack of motivation”, “ageing”, and “severe temperature fluctuations”.

It was also found that the average number of days in a month that people feel somewhat unwell is 9.5 days.

“The number of people who feel somewhat unwell for as much as one-third of a month and yet do not seek medical treatment is on the rise,” ​the report stated.

According to the survey results, the number of people who visited a medical institution because they feel somewhat unwell has decreased from 35.7% in the previous year to 29.5% in 2023.

Notably, 79.4% of the respondents predicted that they would feel somewhat unwell in 2024, with eye strain being the main reason. Other symptoms that they expect to encounter include fatigue, stiff shoulders, sleep-related problems, and irritability.

Bundle of wellness

Meiji Eye and Sleep W Support will be available via the firm’s home delivery service from March.

As part of its marketing strategies, a “Meiji Home Delivery Trial Set” will be sold for JPY1,000 (USD6.70) with free shipping from March 1 to May 31.

The set could consist of either seven bottles of Meiji Eye and Sleep W Support, or five bottles of this product and two bottles of Meiji Probio Yogurt R-1 Drink The GOLD. The latter contains 6.6mg of the 1073R-1 lactic acid bacteria, a strain identified by Meiji through its research.

Specifically, the 1073R-1 lactic acid bacteria is a strain of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus ​that is used to make yoghurt. It was found to produce large amounts of polysaccharides called extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs), which are known to activate the body’s immune system.

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