JAPAN – A dairy giant in Japan, Megmilk Snow Brand has launched a ‘memory care’ Foods in Japan that was jointly developed with Kirin.

The 100ml yogurt-flavored drink with Function Claims (FFC), contains β-lactolin, a proprietary ingredient from Kirin Brain Research.

β-lactolin is a whey protein-derived peptide that Kirin claims could support the maintenance of memory, specifically the ability to recall based on clues or prompts, which is an ability that declines with age.

 Kirin also found that six-week supplementation of β-lactolin could improve regional cerebral blood flow in the brain, as well as cognitive functions such as attention, executive function, and memory retrieval.

In January this year, an analysis of three randomized controlled trials studying β-lactolin, as published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Ageing, showed that cued recall during neuropsychological tests in individuals taking β-lactolin supplementation was significantly higher than in those taking the placebo.

The ingredient has been incorporated in Kirin’s products, including milk and supplements. Last year, Megmilk Snow Brand also launched a 90g yogurt containing the ingredient.

Over 35 percent of the Japanese population is expected to be 65 years old and above by 2040, data from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) showed.

On the other hand, its joint care FFC – also a beverage – contains N-acetylglucosamine and claims to “support the reduction of discomfort in knee joints when moving”.

Megmilk Snow Brand has been increasing its focus on functional health products, some of its other products are designed to address joint and bone health concerns.

Sales of its bone health FFC known as MBP Drink had grown by 148 percent in Q1 FY22 (April to June) as compared to the same period in FY21.

Sales of functional food products continued to grow, owing to continued strong sales in the subscription-based e-commerce business, proactive marketing investment, and increasing health-consciousness among consumers,” the firm said in its latest financial statement published on August 10.

Megmilk Snow Brand said that the new product would be sold across Japan from September 13 with an expected retail price of JPY$130 (US$0.90).

Meanwhile, Megmilk Snow has obtained approval from the Japanese government to implement its new sustainability-focused business plan, with completion targeted for 2025.

The approval is per Japan’s Industrial Competitiveness Enhancement Act was enacted in 2003 to revitalize the Japanese economy by reducing over-regulation, improving under-investment, and accelerating consolidations.

Megmilk Snow designed a new business adaptation plan based on the principles of the updated act last year and submitted this to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) for approval, which was recently granted in August 2022.

In particular, Megmilk Snow is planning to introduce equipment involved with methane fermentation in the Taiki factory to process the waste whey into energy, citing the use of methane gas as the most energy-effective means at this point to do this processing.

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