Functional, wellness and nutraceutical foods in Japan
K. NAKAI1, S. D. Nugent2, and S. M. Mills2. (1) AMI, Inc., 4-10-16 Tsukiji Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan, (2) Sales & Marketing, Graceland Fruit, Inc., 1123 Main St., Frankfort, MI 49635
Diet and beneficial effect of foods have become important in this rather aging society. Acceptability and availability of different international tastes and the need for more convenient foods with health benefits have led to growth in consumption of wellness foods in Japan. This is evident from the growth in import of some non-traditional fruits such as blueberry and cranberry by Japan during last five years. For example, import of fresh blueberries and cranberries were valued only about US$11,000 in 1994 has risen to US$13.6 million in 1999. This growth in demand is attributable to increasing awareness about health benefits of these fruits by the Japanese. This paper examines the growth in functional, wellness and nutraceautical foods in Japan. The growth in blueberry sales is linked to its reported effects on eyesight. An investigation by Japanese scientists showed that consumption of 62.5mg/day anthocyanin contained in blueberries may reduce eye fatigue and also help improve eyesight. Similarly, increase in sale of cranberry products is linked to its effect on minimizing urinary tract infection in women. Studies have shown that cranberry’s quinic acid can inhibit E.coli, which is a major cause of urinary tract infection. At present US exports various forms of blueberries and cranberries to Japan’ including frozen, processed and dried. This presentation will highlight the nutritional benefits of blueberries and cranberries.
Session 44E, Nutraceuticals & Functional Foods