Japan Focus: New Calbee factory, rising Zespri kiwi demand, FFC updates and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo contact

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New Calbee factory, rising Zespri kiwi demand, FFC updates and more feature in this edition of Japan Focus. ©Getty Images
New Calbee factory, rising Zespri kiwi demand, FFC updates and more feature in this edition of Japan Focus. ©Getty Images

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New Calbee factory, rising Zespri kiwi demand, FFC updates and more feature in this edition of Japan Focus.

Japan’s Calbee targets automation advances at home and business boost in China

Japanese snack giant Calbee will build a new factory in Hiroshima Prefecture​, which will feature extensive automated processes to help combat labour shortages caused by the nation’s ageing society.

The 100,000 m2​ factory at Saeki-ku will be Calbee’s largest factory in Japan. Phase one of construction is expected to start in April 2023 and the factory is scheduled to be operational by April 2024.

Japan’s kiwi demand to grow again for Zespri, while firm rewards retailers for COVID-19 resilience

New Zealand kiwi firm Zespri says sales to Japan​ have soared by 52% in the last five years, with a further 4% rise to 104,000 tonnes forecast for this year.

The growth comes despite a backdrop of generally low fruit consumption and a declining population in Japan, and more recently the supply challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak.

Maiko Kurita, Zespri’s brand manager told FoodNavigator-Asia​: “Covid-19 has certainly been challenging and while it’s early in the season, we’re encouraged by the strong demand signals we’re seeing in Japan​.”

Beyond energy drink boost: Clean and added functionality key to meeting consumer demands in APAC

Energy drink brands are striving to develop products that are clean, healthier and with greater functionality​ beyond providing an energy boost to meet growing consumer demands in Asia-Pacific.

That’s according to experts from Taisho Pharmaceutical and Kerry.

In an interview with FoodNavigator-Asia​, Parth Patel, vice president of marketing and strategic planning at Kerry (Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa) said energy drinks were increasingly becoming a lifestyle product.

FFC five years on: Less than half of Japan’s Food With Function products commercially available

Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA) has approved 2,887 products under the food with function claim (FFC)​ since its introduction in 2015 – but only 1325 are currently available on the market.

Last year, we reported 1700 products carried the FFC certification. The FFC system had been growing steadily over the past four years and in 2018, it was valued at USD1.8bn.

Hiroyuki Kawai, CEO of food labelling consultancy Label Bank, told NutraIngredients-Asia​, the market size of FFC products is expected to exceed JPY300bn (USD2.8bn) in 2020.

Japan’s Yoshino Spirits to launch ocean-fused whisky in South East Asia starting with Singapore

Osaka-based exporter of premium Japanese alcohol Yoshino Spirits​ is launching its latest product, Umiki Whisky, in Singapore this June.

The premium blended whisky contains desalinated filtered ocean water, which the company claims is a world-first.

It will be released in Singapore first, with launches in other South East Asian markets from September onwards. It will be available in upscale supermarkets and liquor stores.

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