Japan Focus: Asahi Super Dry’s performance, Morinaga’s new opportunities, Kyowa Hakko postbiotic’s continued success, food waste reduction and more

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

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©Getty Images

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Asahi Super Dry’s pivotal role in sustaining the firm’s profitability, Morinaga’s new opportunities for functional foods development, Kirin’s Kyowa Hakko’s continued success post-pandemic, food waste reduction efforts, and world-first liquid shio koji brand Hanamaruki feature in this edition of Japan Focus.

Beer boost: Asahi Super Dry drives international growth amid cost setbacks at new Japan brewery

Asahi’s star-performing beer product Asahi Super Dry has helped sustain the firm’s profitability and international growth even amid cost setbacks at its new domestic brewery in Tosu.

Asahi recently announced its FY2023 nine-month financial results ending September 2023, reporting 6.1% growth in revenue year-on-year to JPY2.02tn (US$13.3bn) and 8.6% growth in core operating profit year-on-year to JPY199.6bn (US$1.32bn).

A substantial part of this was attributed to pricing increases, according to Asahi President and CEO Atsushi Katsuki.

Postbiotic traction: Morinaga targets Thai market growth after FDA approval for use in foods and beverages

Morinaga says its postbiotic, marketed under the brand LAC-Shield, has been added into Thailand’s list of ingredients that could be used in general foods and beverages, opening new opportunities for functional foods development in the South East Asian (SEA) country.

LAC-Shield is a heat-killed Lacticaseibacillus paracasei ​MCC1849 strain. As it is heat and pH stable, it could be incorporated into general food products that typically undergo high heat processing such as bars and cereals, as well as powdered drinks.

In Japan alone, it has been used in over 1,000 dietary supplements and functional food products since it was launched in 2014.


Versatility and stability: How Kirin’s Kyowa Hakko has ridden immunity wave post pandemic – WATCH

Kirin’s health science-focused arm Kyowa Hakko says the versatility and stability of its postbiotic ingredient has enabled it to continue to enjoy commercial success beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

The firm won the NutraIngredients-Asia Award for Product Of The Year - Immune Support for its iMMUSE product, citing its strong versatility as a major factor for success.


Food waste reduction: Japan believes it is ‘close’ to achieving awareness and action goals – government data

New Japanese government data has revealed that the country could be close to achieving its goal of having 80% of the population simultaneously being aware of and taking concrete actions against food waste and food loss.

Japan introduced the Act on Promotion of Food Loss and Waste Reduction back in 2019 in an effort to prevent unspoilt food from going to waste, with public and private industry campaigns and policies placing a lot of attention on foods such as sushi rolls​ and expiry date labelling standards​.


Magic marination: World-first liquid shio koji brand hopes to ride ASEAN umami and health trends

Liquid shio koji brand Hanamaruki has big plans to ride on the growing umami and wellness trends in SEA, after seeing success in western and East Asian markets.

Shio koji is a traditional Japanese condiment made from rice, salt and alcohol that goes through a fermentation process to produce a strong umami flavour. It boasts added enzymatic and probiotic/prebiotic benefits as it is not heat-treated, which gives rise to its two major functions of marination and seasoning.

Hanamaruki claims to be the only company in the world currently that has developed the technology to process its shio koji into a clear liquid form with no leftover rice particles.

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