Japan Focus: Sustainable shrimp crackers, Nestle Japan's creamer push, Calbee's switch to renewable power and more feature in our round-up

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Sustainable shrimp crackers, Nestle Japan's creamer push, Calbee's switch to renewable power and more feature in this edition of Japan Focus. ©Getty Images
Sustainable shrimp crackers, Nestle Japan's creamer push, Calbee's switch to renewable power and more feature in this edition of Japan Focus. ©Getty Images

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Sustainable shrimp crackers, Nestle Japan's creamer push, Calbee's switch to renewable power and more feature in this edition of Japan Focus.

From scraps to snacks: 150-year-old Japan firm Keishindo turning waste into sustainable shrimp crackers

Japanese snack maker Keishindo is transforming discarded foods such as shrimp heads and udon noodle scraps into sustainable shrimp crackers.

Established in 1866, Nagoya-based Keishindo is known for its shrimp crackers made from shrimp surimi (paste), wheat and soy, as well as whole grilled shrimps.

Typically, only the flesh of shrimps are used when making the surimi, and the shrimp heads are usually discarded. But now Keishindo wants to transform these discarded prawn waste into value-added products.

Cream rising: Nestle Japan promotes wider use of beverage creamer for cooking purposes

Nestle Japan is promoting the wider use of its powdered creamer for coffee and tea by promoting its use for cooking applications.

Nestle Brite was first launched in 1969, as the first vegetable-based creaming powder in Japan. It was marketed to enhance creaminess when added to beverages such as coffee and tea, while not imparting any additional flavour

Since Brite is soluble in warm or hot beverages, the firm decided it would be suitable for foods such as soup, and has worked with Japanese video creator Haruan to promote its use it more applications.

Naoko Ogawa, assistant manager of media relations at Nestle Japan, told FoodNavigator-Asia​: “While Brite is traditionally known to be the best partner for coffee, we would like to broaden the usage to cooking, so consumers can discover a new taste of enhanced creaminess​.”

Going green: Snack giant Calbee switches to renewable electricity sources at Kagamihara factory

Japanese snack giant Calbee is revamping its energy policy at its Kagamihara factory, leading to the firm emitting zero greenhouse gases through its electricity consumption.

The manufacturer has opted to purchase electricity directly from Chubu Electric Power, which comes from renewable hydro and solar sources, instead of using the government’s the J-credit system to offset its greenhouse gas emissions.

The Kagamihara factory mainly produces potato chips, kataage potato, Jagarico and Jagabee.

According to Satoshi Yoshida, manager at Calbee’s public relations department, it means that the Kagamihara factory will now emit zero greenhouse gas through its electricity consumption.

Looking inwards: COVID-19 driving Japanese consumers and food firms to prioritise local products – Government data

Japanese consumers and food firms have gained an increased appreciation for local food products and raw materials as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with many more looking to ‘support local’ although there are still multiple challenges to be overcome, according to government data.

The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture , Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) recently published a feature report on ‘Impacts and Responses to COVID-19’ ​as part of its 2020 analysis on Food, Agriculture and Rural Areas, highlighting how the pandemic has incentivised both local consumers and food and beverage businesses to go local.

“One of the major new movements with regards to food and agricultural demand has been [increased support] of local food products and ingredients,”​ said MAFF via the report.

“[Our surveys found that] 10% of consumers said they will carry out ‘supporting consumption’ and purchase products from domestic companies who have lost their sales channels; and 30% of the food industry has said they intend to increase transactions with domestic food producers.

Sleep and sprout: Broccoli extract increases melatonin in Japanese adults experiencing poor sleep - Trial

Consumption of broccoli sprout extract increased melatonin production and may enhance sleep quality among Japanese adults, according to a study conducted by Kagome.

Sleep is regulated by hormones such as melatonin, prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), and glutathione, which are influenced by oxidative stress and inflammation, resulting in abnormal sleep regulation.

Broccoli sprouts contained several antioxidants including glucoraphanin, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and sulphur compounds. Of which, sulforaphane is a compound of interest, derived from glucoraphanin. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, although there are no other intervention studies to examine the effect of sulforaphane on sleep quality.

Researchers in Japan and Kagome’s innovation division conducted a small, randomised, double-blind, parallel-group trial.

For the first time it was shown that sulforaphane intake for four weeks may increase melatonin production. It was suggested that the increased melatonin production and anti-inflammatory effect of sulforaphane treatment may improve the quality of sleep​.”

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