FANCL Smile primarily produces cookies, which contain FANCL’s germinated brown rice in place of wheat and is gluten free.
Sprouted or germinated rice is rice that is unpolished and allowed to germinate to improve flavour, texture as well as increase its natural nutrients such as y-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Sprouting makes nutrients more bioavailable.
This ingredient is used in FANCL’s sprouted rice range including rice cake, rice porridge, and its food with function claim (FFC) recognised retort rice.
Sprouted brown rice contains ingestible dextrin, a form of dietary fibre claiming to suppress the rise in blood sugar and triglycerides post-meals. It also contains phytonutrients like ferulic acid and gamma oryzanol which have been studied for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
There are currently two types of cookies produced, one of original flavour (30g/181kcal) and another of a mixed nut flavour (40g/214kcal).
The products will be sold internally, and gradually made available to the general public.
FANCL Smile is a special subsidiary under the FANCL Group, which was established in 1999, employing people with intellectual disabilities, physical and mental disabilities.
The employees are involved in packaging of cosmetics and supplements, printing, waste collection and cleaning duties within the FANCL Group.
So this is the first time FANCL Smile is manufacturing confectionery, and is part of the Group’s goal of promoting diversity, with the aim of 5% employment rate for persons with disabilities by 2030.
Takayuki Misawa from FANCL’s public relations department, said the firm chose to manufacture confectionery, instead of its traditional supplements, health drinks or cosmetics, because the process is more suited to those with disabilities.
As of June 1, 2021, the FANCL Group's employment rate for people with disabilities was 3.8%, with 95 employees.
“We aim to increase the employment rate of people with disabilities from the current 3.8% to 5.0%.” 5.0% is a very high rate among Japanese companies,” Misawa said.
In Japan, business must meet a 2.3% legal employment quota for people with disabilities, of which a fine will be imposed if not met.
In the future, FANCL Smile is planning to sell new flavours of cookies, and expand sales to the general public.
Under FANCL’s health food business, it has also sold cookies and supplements that contain ingestible dextrin.