Japan Focus: Nissin’s debut of LAB-containing FFCs, Suntory’s personalised nutrition plans, new exclusive FFC data and more feature in our round-up

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Nissin’s debut of LAB-containing FFCs, Suntory’s personalised nutrition plans, new exclusive FFC data and more feature in this edition of Japan Focus. ©Getty Images
Nissin’s debut of LAB-containing FFCs, Suntory’s personalised nutrition plans, new exclusive FFC data and more feature in this edition of Japan Focus. ©Getty Images

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Nissin’s debut of LAB-containing FFCs, Suntory’s personalised nutrition plans, new exclusive FFC data and more feature in this edition of Japan Focus.

For gut and brain: Nissin launches FFCs containing lactic acid bacteria for the first time

Nissin Foods Group seeks to tap into interest in the gut-brain axis and meet demand for products targeted at irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). About one in every 10 Japanese suffer from the condition.

The new Foods with Function Claims (FFCs) launched were Bifidobacterium N708 Tablets and Bifidobacterium N61 Tablets. The former claims to relieve stomachache, while the latter was designed to improve memory and attention.

The company believes that using lactic acid bacteria to support cognitive function could help differentiate its product from those with similar functions. 

‘Transitional time’: Suntory discusses Japan personalised nutrition plan following investment in UK start-up

Suntory revealed its plans to launch localised personalised nutrition services and products in Japan, following a US$3.06m investment in UK start-up Remedy Health.

Remedy Health, through its brand Nourish3d, uses 3D printing to create a seven-layer personalised chewable unique to each individual. The nutrients required by each individual are decided based on their answers to a diet and lifestyle-related questionnaire.

The partnership was sparked by Suntory’s intent to expand its health foods portfolio to include gummies.

Flawed method? Rising calls to ditch placebo-controlled trials for Japan’s Foods with Function Claims

The study design of placebo-controlled trials is usually meant for pharmaceuticals, and using these trials to test food functionality might not yield appropriate results, a new report says.

Japan’s FFC system would enter its eighth year of implementation in April 2023. Another reported issue with it is the rise of products claiming multiple functionalities.

The Health Food Testing Method Study Group was established late last year by Dr. Hideaki Karaki, Professor Emeritus at The University of Tokyo, to find out the best alternatives, including no-treatment control studies, for proving the health benefits of FFCs.

Exclusive Japan FFC data: Weight management, stress relief, cognitive health products trending

FFCs that claim to support weight management, fatigue and stress relief, and cognitive function are trending in Japan, according to new data from the “In-depth Analysis of FFC Notified During the First Half of FY2022” report by consultancy firm Smooth Link Inc.

Between April and September 2022, a total of 580 FFCs were notified to the Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA), the authority overseeing the FFC system.

Examples of FFCs for cognitive health are those that claim to support attention, spatial cognition, and verbal memory. Other popular FFCs were related to blood pressure, blood glucose level, joint health, cholesterol, and immune function.

Probiotic intake improves bowel movement in elderly with chronic constipation – study

The supplementation of Bifidobacterium longum BB536​ has been shown to improve bowel movement, specifically stool frequency, in elderly with chronic constipation, according to a RCT in Japan.

This randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study was conducted on outpatients at the Juntendo Tokyo Koto Geriatric Medical Center.

In total, 80 seniors diagnosed with chronic constipation received either probiotics or placebo powder sachet daily for four weeks. Significant improvement in the CSS score was seen in the intervention group by the end of the trial and even four weeks after.

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