From the Japanese Nutrition/Health Industry

According to an article entitled, “Convenience Stores Expanding Private Brand Products”, ( November 10th issue of Nikkei Shinbun), major convenience store chains such as Seven-Eleven are trying to launch private brand products for food items where they are under pressure by leading retailers to raise prices. The intention is to avoid losing customers due to the price increase and to add the appeal of the private brand. Stores predict that private brand sales will amount to 40%~60% of total sales. Convenience stores have been selling their own branded goods and products, but this project has the intention of adding even more items to the shelf. Not only convenience stores, but leading distributors are also expanding the lineup of their private brand products.

Private brand products typically take the lead in Western markets, especially Britain. (Supermarkets in Britain make 50% of its sales from private brand products.) In France, Carrefour’s private label dairy drinks are gradually approaching the market share of Danone. In 2005, Dutch superstore Albert Heijin launched the first health claim approved private label product (New Nutrition Business). And in the U.S., many stores sell privately branded dietary supplements. In Japan, however, retailers of dietary supplements (drugstores) have not reached the stage of developing private brands to generate adequate profitability.


Dr. CI Labo Launches “Royal Jerry 2000”and “Capsaicin & Carnitine”
Dr. CI Labo has introduced a dietary supplement containing fresh royal jelly “Royal Jelly 2000”(\2,940/50ml x10 bottles). The product was developed to meet the needs of women wanting to stay young and healthy, and contains 2000mg of royal jelly. The product aims to support the aging process of women.
The company has also introduced a dietary supplement “Capsaicin & Carnitine” (\3,360/120 capsules)which works on the fat burning mechanism. The product contains 350mg of L-carnitine to enhance fat burning, thus taking it before an exercise is suggested.
(11/1/2007  Dr. CI:Labo Co., Ltd. Press release)

Taisho Pharmaceutical Launches a Mail-order Exclusive Food Product for Weight Loss
Taisho Pharmaceutical has launched a mail-order exclusive weight loss soup product called “Karada Kankyo Diet Balance-shoku Irodori Yasai no Soup” (\13,240/14 servings) from its “Health Manage” brand. The product is a nutritious meal replacement containing vitamins, minerals, L-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, hyaluronic acid, Coenzyme Q10 and is only 170 calories per serving.
(11/5/2007  Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Press release)

Ito Biscuits Co., Ltd. Introduces Two Healthy Cookie Products
Ito Biscuits has launched two new cookie products made from JAS organic certified ingredients that are free from pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The new products, “Yuuki Tonyu Cookie”(Organic Soymilk Cookie) and “Yuuki Raisin & Oatmeal Cookie” will be sold at \350 (8 cookies) and marketed as a “premium organic brand” of ORGANIC GUILD, an organic foods promotion organization. ORGANIC GUILD manufactures and markets organic food products, and it is composed of 20 companies, including Ito Ham Foods Inc. and Calbee Foods Co., Ltd. “Yuuki Tonyu Cookie” was developed as an infant food (10 months old ~) and contains organic soy milk and organic ground soybean powder. These new items are sold at the newly opened shopping mall “Ario-Nishi-Arai” in Adachi-ku, Tokyo, where there will be a section selling ORGANIC GUILD products.
(11/9/2007  Ito Biscuits Co., Ltd. Press release)

FANCL Launches a New Dietary Supplement Targeted for Metabolic Syndrome
FANCL Corporation has started selling (through mail-order and at FANCL shops) a new dietary supplement called “Middle Navi” (\3,600/60 sachets) targeted at middle aged individuals concerned with metabolic syndrome. The product contains ingredients that are effective in reducing neutral fat and managing cholesterol, such as garcinia cambogia and turmeric. It also contains Neem Leaf, a type of herb said to be effective in increasing beneficial substances while inhibiting the production of negative substances.
(11/9/2007  FANCL Corporation Press release)

FANCL Introduces an Innovative Dietary Supplement for Cold
FANCL will launch a unique dietary supplement which can be consumed by melting the powder formula into hot water, “Tokashite Nomu Suppli Shooga & Echinacea ” (\600/50g) on November 20th through mail-order, FANCL shops and Ito-Yokado (an leading supermarket chain) in a limited quantity (15,000 bags). The product contains ingredients effective for preventing colds, including ginger, echinacea, vitamin C and vitamin B.
(11/12/2007  FANCL Corporation Press release)

NATURAL WAY Launches a Functional Food “VIVALA” Which Contains Bilberry and Probiotics
NATURAL WAY, a company focused on marketing bilberry containing health food products, has launched a new item “VIVALA” (\5,040/30sachets) which contains bilberry extract and lactobacillus(EC-12), available from mail-order. The company has been marketing bilberry products, such as “Hitomi no Kajitsu”, mainly at health foods sections of department stores, and the mail-order launch will be a new attempt. The company uses Italian ingredient company Indena’s bilberry extract. The Bilberry extract is filled in a stick-shape sachet and it can be consumed by mixing it in water or milk.
(November, 2007 NATURAL WAY Co., Ltd. HP) 

Shiseido Releases “Shiseido Detoxing Chalate Jerry”
Shiseido has introduced a new jelly drink which claims to support detoxification “Shiseido Detoxing Chalate Jelly” (\210/150g). The product contains brown rice-derived chalate substance, phytic acid 200mg, both water-soluble and insoluble dietary fibers 6,000mg, xylo-oligosaccharide 400mg, and 200 billion sterile lactic acid bacteria.
(November, 2007 Shiseido HP) 


AMS Life Science Collaborates with Hanamai Inc. to Enhance Sales
AMS Life Science, a company that markets health foods through mail-order and OEM manufacturing, has announced the start of a collaboration with Hanamai Inc., a health foods maker. AMS Life Science will market Hanamai’s flagship products by utilizing their group networks, and launch their products through Hanamai’s sales route. The two companies aim to increase sales by this mutual use of each other’s sales channels. In the future, they are planning to collaborate in product development. At this point, there are no capital ties between these companies; AMS Life Science is considering capital participation in the future.
(10/24/2007  AMS Life Science Co., Ltd. Press release)

CALPIS Expands Sales Territory of “ameal bp” in the US Market 
CALPIS’s blood pressure-lowering dietary supplement, “ameal bp” has been marketed at Walgreens and CVS/Pharmacy drugstores in the U.S. since September. The sales area will be expanded and marketed eventually at 12,800 stores across the nation. The company’s FOSHU approved blood pressure targeting product “ameal S” which contains lactotripeptide (LTP), had only been marketed in Japan until it was launched under the same name dietary supplement product in California in April 2003. In 2006, the company re-launched the product as “ameal bp” (bp stands for blood pressure) in order to emphasize its blood pressure lowering effect. The product has steadily increased its sales territory (up to 600 locations predominantly in California area) while it also retails through shopping websites, such as and is sold in other states on a smaller scale. The company actively conducted advertising and sales promotion activities as well as interpretive plans for doctors who have a great influence on consumers’ purchasing attitude for dietary supplements. The company has also implemented a marketing plan aimed at doctors and the American Society of Hypertension (ASH) to explain the safety and efficacy of “AmealPeptide” through an off-label promotion. Through expansion of sales efforts, the company hopes to gain another 100 million targeted consumers, which includes hypertensive patients and prehypertentions patients.
(11/6/2007  CALPIS Co., Ltd. Press release)

ASAHIMATSU FOODS Obtains FOSHU Approval for “Onaka Natto”
ASAHIMATSU FOODS has obtained FOSHU health claims on gut health for its fermented soybean product, “Onaka Natto” on October 23rd. The product is fermented by the company’s proprietary natto bacteria “Bacillussubtilis K-2 strain” and it received the first gut health related FOSHU health claim as a natto. The company claims that “Onaka Natto” regulates the functions of intestines when consuming one pack(50g)a day for 2 weeks. It is the first FOSHU product for ASAHIMATSU FOODS. Up to now, there has only been one natto product which had obtained FOSHU certification related to bone health - Mizkan Group’s “Hone Genki” series. The company is planning to launch “Onaka Natto” in early 2008. (11/2/2007  Nikkei BPnet)


Sunny Health Holdings Announces Fucoxanthin’s Anti-obesity Effect
Sunny Health Holdings has been proceeding with proprietary ingredient development using fucoxanthin derived from brown seaweed (Undaria pinnatifida), which was discovered through an industry-government-academia research collaboration of Sunny Health Holdings, Hokkaido University, National Food Research Institute (NFRI) and Co-op Marine Tech Kamaishi. As a result of this research, fucoxanthin’s effect on stimulating fat burning activities of white adipocytes was discovered. Part of this research was presented at The Japanese Society of Fisheries Science Symposium in September 2007, a symposium where researchers from industry, government, and academia involved in collaborative research on marine algae gathered. This particular project involved Hokkaido University conducting molecular configuration and functionality analysis, and the National Food Research Institute performing analysis on absorption and the effects of metabolic regulation. Meanwhile Co-op Marine Tech Kamaishi worked on establishing the technology to develop commercial ingredients whereas Sunny Health conducted the safety evaluation. Currently, Sunny Health Holding is brainstorming applications in food products with the intention to develop the material as a functional food ingredient.
(11/14/2007 Health Food Journal)

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