Japan: Functional Foods Nation - Probiotics with a twist

Probiotics with a twist

The Japanese market for probiotics is a $6.5 billion. When probiotics are considered, GI health comes to our mind, but the Japanese have different ideas and approaches in mind.

Probiotics with Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber dextrin is the most widely used ingredient for FOSHU (Foods with health claims) and non-FOSHU products in Japan. Most fiber-fortified products are in the form of water, tea or drink mixes. Takanashi Milk (www.takanashi-milk.co.jp) has introduced a probiotic drink and a yogurt with an insoluble dietary fiber dextrin, called A Full of Dietary Fiber Yogurt. It uses Lactobacillus GG for probiotic culture, and is designed to regulate gastrointestinal conditions.

Plant Based LAB Drink

There are two types of lactic acid bacteria (LAB); one is animal based, commonly seen in yogurt, and the other is plant based. Plant based LAB ferments in the plant environment. Kagome’s (www.kagome.co.jp) Plant Based Lactic Acid Bacteria Drink, Lovre is a plant based LAB product. It survives the acid filled intestinal tract better than animal based probiotics, and other substances which contributeto intestinal microbial balance. The concept all started from traditional Japanese pickles which contain natural plant LAB, a secret ingredient of Japanese longevity.

For a Beautiful Tomorrow

Yogurt is one of the most favorable foods for women, young or old, because it helps digestion and GI conditions. So, why not fortified it with ingredients that most women hanker after? Meiji Milk’s (www.meinyu.co.jp) Utukushii Ashita or Beautiful Tomorrow (in loosely translated English) is a yogurt fortified with beautifying skin ingredients like collagen peptide and ceramide.

Comments: The yogurt is the most widely available functional food. Best of all, people like them. I continue to see more yogurts with multiple functions in the Japanese market - besides basic GI health; they target allergy, beauty, energy, high blood pressure, dental health, bone health and sleep-aid for example. Imagination and innovation are unlimited in the probiotics world.

Courtesy of Paul Yamaguchi & Associates, Inc.
Paul Yamaguchi & Associates, Inc. is a consulting firm in Tarrytown, NY
focusing on the Japanese nutrition market.

His office publishes a number of Japanese nutrition market reports,
including Functional Foods Japan 2006 and Nutritional Supplements Japan 2005.

His website: functionalfoodsjapan.com. His e-mail: [email protected]
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