Morinaga introduces new multifunctional FFCs targeting bone and gut health, fatigue-relief amid growing demand

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Morinaga's new product claims to provide "double care for bones and intestines”. ©Morinaga Milk
Morinaga's new product claims to provide "double care for bones and intestines”. ©Morinaga Milk

Related tags Morinaga Milk Foods with Function Claims FFC Japan

Morinaga Milk is slated to roll out several new Foods with Function Claims (FFCs) that target the major health concerns of Japanese consumers and to meet the increasing demand for multifunctional products.

One of the new launches is an addition to the firm’s Bifidus Yogurt range. Named the “Bifidus Yogurt Bone Density Countermeasure Drink Type”, it contains Morinaga’s Bifidobacterium longum​ BB536 (B. longum ​BB536) and maltobionic acid.

The product claims to provide “double care for bones and intestines”, and is set to go on sale across Japan from March 19.

“In recent years, as awareness of extending healthy lifespans has increased, there has been a strong interest in bone health, with bone density becoming the number one health issue for women over 50 [according to our research in December 2022 involving 16,260 people].

“Additionally, our research in October 2022 found that the most commonly consumed food for bone health is yoghurt, suggesting that expectations for yogurt to support bone health are rising,” ​the firm said.

At the same time, studies have reported on B. longum ​BB536’s effects on regulating intestinal health and improving the intestinal environment, as well as maltobionic acid’s ability to promote absorption of dietary calcium and maintain bone density, which decreases with age.

“Because we want consumers to enjoy the product every day, we have created a plain yoghurt with mild sweetness and a refreshing taste that makes it easy to continue eating.”

Under the Food and Health section of its “Med- and Long-Term Sustainability Plan 2030”, the company has set a goal of “contributing to the health of 300m people by delivering products with high quality and value unique to the Morinaga Milk Group”.

The figure is calculated based on the total planned sales of products between FY2021 and FY2030 that “take health issues into account”, and the number of people expected to participate in health promotion and dietary education activities conducted by Morinaga.

Vinegar drinks on the rise

mori inside
PURESU Fermented Vinegar Drink ©Morinaga Milk

From April 2, the firm will be introducing another FFC called PURESU Fermented Vinegar Drink, which contains acetic acid and B. longum ​BB536 as functional ingredients.

It claims to be the first product in Japan to list the effects of acetic acid and bifidobacteria on the packaging.

“As lifestyles become more diverse, there has been a burgeoning interest in products that can provide multiple health functions in one product. In particular, the market for vinegar drinks, which are consumed for health and beauty benefits as well as the feeling of revitalisation and alleviation of fatigue, has grown significantly.

“Against this backdrop, we are launching PURESU Fermented Vinegar Drink, which allows consumers to easily incorporate three health functions in one bottle.”

According to data provided by Morinaga, the purchase amount of vinegar drinks per 100 people in Japan has approximately doubled from April 2017 to March 2022.

Leveraging decades of bifidobacteria research, the new health drink series is born from fermenting whey, a byproduct of the cheese manufacturing process, with B. longum ​BB536.

“It not only solves the problems of consumers, but also addresses NPD challenges unique to dairy manufacturers. Milk and dairy products contain two main types of high-quality proteins — casein and whey. Although whey also contains nutrients such as carbohydrates, its peculiar taste has made it difficult to be utilised effectively.

“As a pioneer in this field, we have been conducting bifidobacteria research for over 50 years. Furthermore, we have also focused on the functions of acetic acid [produced by bifidobacteria], and wondered if we could create new value by fermenting materials like whey with bifidobacteria.”

Acetic acid has been found to reduce the feeling of fatigue caused by exercise in daily life, and to have the ability to reduce belly fat (visceral fat, total abdominal fat) in obese people.

The beverage comes in two flavours, namely Pomegranate and Muscat, which offer sweet and mild sourness, and refreshing taste profiles, respectively.

“As vinegar is not used as an ingredient, there is no strong sour taste. Based on our survey held in May 2023, among 60 respondents, 95% said that the drink is ‘delicious’. Through this new range, we hope to contribute to the care of as many people as possible, both physically and mentally.”

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