‘Memory care’: Megmilk Snow Brand, Kirin co-develop functional drink for Japan’s ageing market

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Megmilk Snow Brand has launched a ‘memory care’ Foods with Function Claims (FFC) in Japan. © Megmilk Snow Brand
Megmilk Snow Brand has launched a ‘memory care’ Foods with Function Claims (FFC) in Japan. © Megmilk Snow Brand

Related tags Megmilk snow Kirin Functional drinks

Japan dairy company Megmilk Snow Brand has launched a ‘memory care’ Foods with Function Claims (FFC) in Japan that was jointly developed with Kirin.

The 100ml yogurt-flavoured drink contains β-lactolin, a proprietary ingredient from Kirin Brain Research.

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

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).

In January this year, an analysis on three randomised controlled trials studying β-lactolin showed that cued recall during neuropsychological tests in individuals taking β-lactolin supplementation was significantly higher than those took placebo.

Findings were published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Ageing.

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

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 per cent 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.

“Extending healthy life expectancy is an important task in a super-ageing society, and the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare aims to extend healthy life expectancy for both men and women by at least three years when compared to year 2016, to 75 years or older by 2040,” ​Megmilk Snow Brand said in a statement.

Health focus

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.

In fact, sales of its bone health FFC known as MBP Drink, had grown by 148 per cent in Q1 FY22 (April to June) as compared to the same period in FY21.

Containing 40mg of Milk Basic Protein (MBP) per 100g bottle, the product claims to increase bone density.

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”.

“Sales of functional food products continued to grow, owning 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. 

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