The products, including a RTD tea and a powdered black soybean tea and coffee, were launched in Japan this month under Kao’s health beverage brand Healthya.
It is the first time that the company has launched FFCs for “lowering high blood pressure” and “reducing visceral fat”.
This is in response to the increasing consumer concerns around visceral fats. Also, the company pointed out that hypertension was the biggest risk factor for lifestyle-related diseases amongst Japanese.
Said to be suitable for individuals with high blood pressure and high body mass index (BMI), these products contain chlorogenic acid – a phytochemical found in coffee beans.
“We have been researching the functional properties of coffee beans for about 20 years,” Megumi Kondo, product development manager, Consumer Products – Health and Wellness Business at Kao told NutraIngredienets-Asia.
Past studies by the company showed that chlorogenic acids have an anti-hypertensive effect in a dose-dependent manner in hydroxyhydroquinone (HHQ)-free coffee.
Removing HHQ – a by-product released during coffee bean roasting – is significant as it counteracts the anti-hypertensive effects of chlorogenic acids, the company found.
Another four-week study showed that the intake of chlorogenic acid-enriched and HHQ-reduced coffee had increased postprandial fat oxidation.
To date, the company has launched seven health products containing chlorogenic acid, including beverage shot and tablet for improving blood flow and skin moisture launched earlier this year under the brand Sofina iP.
Asked the R&D challenges, Kondo said that the R&D required a large number of tests, including human clinical trials to be carried out.
In addition, the stable extraction of chlorogenic acid is subjected to changes in the weather and other cultivation related conditions.
The teams also worked on the selection and processing of the raw coffee beans. In fact, all three newly launched products use different chlorogenic acid preparations.
“The challenges [also] revolved finding a way to make the unique taste of chlorogenic acid work well and make it suitable for daily consumption.
“Overcoming these challenges was achieved through a matrix management approach that dynamically combines knowledge from different areas of expertise, which is Kao's forte. The development was carried out in close communication between the processing, flavour design and efficacy experts,” she said.
On the other hand, the company has developed a tool for monitoring visceral fat, which is available on the messaging app LINE.
Using two photos taken with the smartphone, the tool could estimate and record visceral fat level.
Visceral fat is not visible to the eye and until now has been measured by CT scans, which have not been widely available.
This has made it difficult to monitor your condition on an ongoing basis and to see the effects of your healthy actions, making it difficult to continue to take actions. However, with this free measurement tool, it is now possible to monitor visceral fat easily.
Users can also record their daily walking steps using the app.
“The aim [of this tool] is that by regularly monitoring your condition, you will be able to monitor the effectiveness of your healthy actions and stay motivated,” Kondo said.