Clothing manufacturers in Japan are adding supplements to their ranges to meet the thirst for innovation of the exacting Japanese consumer.
Amino acids, vitamins, xylitol and other food additives are incorporated into fabric to maintain PH balance in the skin or keep wearers cool, according to a Kyodo news report.
Amino acid manufacturer Ajinomoto teamed up with major sports goods firm Mizuno Corp last year to develop the 'Amino Veil', used in clothes on sale from March this year. The product contains mainly the amino acid arginine, said to help regenerate skin.
Mizuno plans to post Y3 billion in sales of goods related to the Amino Veil five years from now, or about six times the amount projected for the current fiscal year, according to the Kyodo report.
Since then jeans maker Teijin Wow Co is also adding amino acids to its fabric and not to be outdone, sports clothing firm Yonex has launched a range with added xylitol, the sweetener more commonly found in chewing gum. It absorbs heat when it comes into contact with water and is said to offer a cooling effect.
Both clothing manufacturers and food ingredient companies are hoping to boost profits with the inventions. Ajinomoto is reported to be active in research into using additives in areas other than foodstuffs.
"The volume of supply to non-food areas has been growing by more than 10 per cent a year over the past several years," a public relations spokesperson told the news agency, adding that supply to the clothing area will grow considerably in the future.