Novel products in Japan give flavour of future trends

Related tags Green tea

New products from Japanese food maker Nissin offer an insight into
the latest trends in what is considered the oldest and one of the
best established markets for functional foods.

The noodle and baked goods maker has launched a Green Tea Cereal, based on rice, that contains green tea powder, green tea extract, gyokuro tea and provides one-third of the requirement of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and niacin.

"Green tea is known for its antioxidant health benefits, and is widely drunk both hot and cold around the world. Although we do see green tea appearing in some other forms, it is not often that we see it in a breakfast cereal,"​ commented David Jago, director of Mintel's​ GNPD.

The company has also pushed the boundaries of cosmeceuticals, launching a 'collagen soup'. Beauty foods, or cosmeceuticals, have all had their start in Asia - usually Japan - and have almost always been beverages, snacks, or yogurts.

But Nissin Food Products' Biken Kenshoku soup breaks into a new category. The company claims this soup contains 1000mg of collagen per serving, and is aimed at beauty and health-conscious consumers in their 20s to 40s.

Realistically, it is unlikely that this particular product would extend out of Asia into Europe or the Americas, commented Jago.

"However, it is instructive to see how the cosmeceutical trend continues to grow and develop in Asia, as we are beginning to see beauty beverages in the West,"​ he noted.

Nissin is ranked the sixth biggest maker of functional foods in the Japanese market, with 11 per cent of its annual $2.8 billion in sales going on such products, according to analyst Paul Yamaguchi.

The Japanese spend an average $195 each year per person on functional foods, almost four times more than Europeans.

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