Japan Focus: Sapporo’s AI-developed alcoholic beverage, Kirin’s focus on functional drinks, international food trade collaborations and more

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images
©Getty Images

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Sapporo’s AI-developed alcoholic beverage, Kirin’s focus on functional drinks, Japan’s new international trade agreements to boost food security, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, and latest research findings feature in this edition of Japan Focus.

Strengthening supplies: Japan looks to international food trade collaborations in latest bid to beef up food security

Japan recently inked several new food trade agreements with the governments of Bangladesh and Canada, as it seeks to improve food security in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Japan has been battling the issue of weak food security and a low rate of self-sufficiency​, which emerged as a glaring ongoing risk for the country during the lockdowns and supply chain challenges faced during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whilst the Japanese government has launched various agri-food initiatives to boost local food production and self-sufficiency in the long run, it is looking to increase its international food trade agreements in the shorter term.

Collagen peptide reduces post-exercise muscle soreness, fatigue in middle-aged men – RCT

The supplementation of collagen peptide has shown to reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness and fatigue in middle-aged men, making it a potential sports nutrition candidate.

Researchers from Nippon Sport Science University and Tokyo-based Nippi Inc said that based on the findings, collagen peptide intake could ease and improve exercise performance.

Muscle soreness peaked immediately after the exercise load and was significantly higher than pre-exercise, according to the visual analog scale (VAS).

‘Revitalise the RTD market’: Sapporo to release first alcoholic beverage developed using AI

Sapporo Breweries and IBM Japan have jointly established an artificial intelligence (AI) system that significantly reduces the time and cost of new product development, and which is poised to play a key role in the alcohol firm’s future innovations.

Named N-Wing Star (New Wing Star), the AI system is the brainchild of Sapporo’s latest product, “Otoko Ume Sour Salty Plum”, which will be commercially sold in Japan from July 4.

The firm said that the AI system is able to predict the target product composition, and then produce a recipe consisting of the recommended combination of raw materials, ratio (mixing amount) of each material, formulation, and flavour. Subsequently, the necessary ingredients can be procured based on the recipe to develop a prototype.

Eat your greens: Post-COVID-19 fruit and vegetable purchases in Japan see major boost

New data has revealed significantly more purchasing of fruits and vegetables in Japan after the pandemic, driven by health awareness and convenience trends in the country.

The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) had highlighted a lack of fruit and vegetable consumption in the local population back in 2019.

A more detailed consumption survey that will detail the specific intake increases of fruit and vegetable consumption amongst the Japanese population is expected next year, but the ministry views the results of this latest survey as a positive start towards better dietary practices.

Functional future: Kirin to double down on immunity beverage range as sales surge in Q1

Kirin says that functional drinks from its health science domain are the “particular focus” for its beverage business this year, after sales of its LC-Plasma immunity range increased by 8.5% to 1.71 million cases in Q1.

The firm tapped on peak-season demand, specifically the summer months between July and September, to release new products including functional beverages.

One of the latest LC-Plasma-related launches is Kirin Plasma Sports​, introduced to the market in April as a Food with Function Claims (FFC) for its immune and hydration benefits.

The firm is also working with FANCL – in which it has a stake in – in launching CaloLimit Blended Tea as part of its health science business in the second half of this year.

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