Green Tea with Glucosamine
Calpis (www.calpis.co.jp) is a major fermented milk drink company. Recently the company launched a new line of supplement drinks series called ‘Fine Support’. Among this line is a Glucosamine Green Tea, a green tea fortified with 500mg of acetyl glucosamine. Acetyl glucosamine is an amino acid sugar and it has value as a natural moisturizing factor. It is designed to maintain smooth and hydrated skin.
Green Tea with French Pine Bark Extract
Flavangenol®, an extract from French maritime pine bark , is a mixture of bioflavonoids with oligomeric proanthocyanidin (Toyo Shinyaku). A study conducted by Toyo Shinyaku showed that Flavangenol helps blood circulation in the body and it also known as an antioxidant agent. Suntory’s Flavangenol Tea (www.suntory.co.jp) is fortified with 40 mg of Flavangenol to help blood circulation and may also work as an antioxidant.
Tokuho (FOSHU) Approved Green Tea for Diabetics
Our blood sugar levels rise during the meal or right after - a more critical situation for diabetics. We typically drink tea mostly with a meal, so drinking sugar-suppressing tea with meals makes sense for diabetics in particular. Asahi’s Jyurokucha, (Sixteen tea) (www.asahiinryo.co.jp/16cha) is designed to control body sugar level when it is consumed with the meal. The product has been approved as Tokuho (FOSHU) as a product which can help people with diabetes. The main functional ingredient is indigestible dextrin fiber. It also contains a combination of 16 other herbs and natural ingredients as its name suggests.
Comments: Bottled green tea is by far the most popular soft drink in Japan. We consumed 1.5 billion gallons last year, compared with 700 million gallons of the next most popular drink, carbonated soft drinks. Beverage companies are capitalizing on this popularity to create value added products. Adding functionality is one way to do it. The most successful product launch in functional green tea was Kao’s Healthya Green Tea. It sold $100 million a year. In 2002 it was granted Tokuho (FOSHU) status; to reduce body fat. The success of Kao’s Healthya brought overpopulation of catechin fortified green tea to the market. (This year, Kao introduced a water version of the Healthya brand, Healthya Water), but after 3 years of a growth trend, the catechin green tea market seems to be maturing. Now, companies are bringing other types of functional green teas into the market. Glucosamine, French pine bark extract and dietary fiber are just a few examples. Green tea with soy isoflavones, caffeine and citrus are already in the market. Collagen, seramide, CoQ10, omega 3 might be the next line of green tea fortification. Because green tea is so much a staple to the Japanese diet, we are going to see a wide verity of nutritional fortified green tea products in coming years.