In the March issue, Nippon Ham published a set of three trials (anti-fatigue efficacy and two safety) on their imidazole dipeptides (CBEX-Dr) which are extracted from chicken breasts. Companies don't usually put out that much effort and money on human efficacy and safety trials unless they are serious.
The results were positive, but as there is not yet a FOSHU category for anti-fatigue, one wonders when they will be able to use the data and if so, will the protocols in this study be acceptable. It is not easy to measure fatigue.
The trials were all in the form of a drink, so maybe we can look forward to such a chicken breast extract drink from Nippon Ham.
Rakuten is a large on-line seller in Japan, similar to Yahoo, with many affiliated stores.
I see that dairy is not mentioned in the article, possibly because dairy is a bit more difficult and possibly because most of the major dairy companies already have home delivery networks.
Refrigerated express delivery (or "cool-bin", クール宅急便) has been a standard service for a long time in Japan and it is very convenient - no need for dry ice, for example. And as this article explains, it also makes new business concepts possible. The same service would not be possible in the US.
It is very possible that in the past both makers and consumers liked the situation because prescribed drugs or devices are usually covered by health insurance. In this case, the government and/or makers are betting that usage will increase if the patches are sold over the counter.
There are almost daily articles in the papers about different companies raising prices. If you look closely though, you will see how long it has been since prices were last raised. There was an article in the April 3rd issue of Nihon Shokugyo which said that milk prices were being raised for the first time in 30 years. In the April 19th issue of Nihon Keizai Shimbun, an article announces that Kentucky Fried Chicken was raising prices on chicken for the first time in 16 years.
Many companies will face a penalty from the government if their workers do not on average make improvements, but for food and pharmaceutical companies this is also an opportunity to boost sales for products which help fight metabolic syndrome. Such products have been on the market for years now, but this new government policy is definitely giving the whole category a boost.
Only a few years ago, one would never hear the term metabolic syndrome except in scientific conversations, but these days it is a very common topic of everyday conversation.
Actually, I have read some unpublished reports on the development of definitions and standards for metabolic syndrome which are very interesting, but that is a topic for another day.
I ordered with the expectation of receiving Japanese portions or newly reduced Japanese portions as I have seen recently, but was surprised to receive something closer to American portions - unusual in Japan. J's Garden is part of the Johnathon's Family Restaurant group. I checked on the website and it looks like the locations are mostly in residential areas, so there is a better chance of coming across one in a car than near a station.
I give it a thumbs up compared with other family restaurants.
As I remember, another company isolated the main ingredient responsible for old man smell, but I am not sure what product resulted from that discovery.
Very sad, but it is also going to have a ripple effect - first on the crops directly effected, corn and soy, then on other grains as well, since there is a certain amount of interchangeability. It might also have an effect on oil prices as corn is increasingly being used for biofuel. Corn prices have reached 7 dollars per bushel for the first time ever, and oil prices are now being predicted to reach 140 dollars per barrel (although I have not seen a flood-oil price link referred to yet).
The article credits brand loyalty and stronger oversees sales. I am not in marketing, but I would guess that brand loyalty is not nearly as strong in Japan, because a culture of always trying something new has been cultivated. Consumers see a price they consider too high or a box they think is not as big as it should be and they simply buy something else.
Japanese dairy farmers are also being squeezed by high food prices, or at least the Japanese government thinks so. According to this article, the 187.1 billion yen in supports for dairy farmers and stockbreeders, which was already up 63.2 billion yen from last year is going to be raised an additional 70 billion yen. These are mostly in the form of unit-subsidies.
I feel sure the butter shortage has also influenced this move, although any boosts in production will lag far behind a stimulus - especially in the dairy industry, where you cannot exactly plant more cows next year, you have to breed more herds of dairy cattle to make a difference.
In a very unscientific survey, sampling size n=1, my wife said typical trips to the grocery store which used to cost around 6 to 7 thousand yen, now lost around 9 thousand yen.
Personally, I thought that the Burger King taste was the main problem, even though I like it myself. Burger King sandwiches have a strong meaty taste and aroma which is not common in Japan. This is in contrast with McDonald's sandwiches which are much milder in this respect.
I will just mention a few points I find interesting.
1) preference: sugar free/black > latte-type > low sugar/milk added > sugar/milk added > low sugar/black > no sugar/milk > expresso > sugar/black,
2) the biggest deviation in the above is with latte-type drinks (including cafe au lait) which are much more popular among younger people than older people,
3) canned coffee is much more popular than chilled cup coffee, only among women does the preference come close to that of canned coffee,
4) reason for drinking canned coffee: change mood or feeling > relax > wake up > no reason > need for something in mouth > to concentrate,
5) people who smoke or frequent convenience stores have the strongest preference for canned coffee,
6) ability to mention a brand name: Boss > Georgia >>>> Wonda > Fire > others
The interest in low sugar products is clear, as is the excellent marketing job Suntory has done with the Boss brand.
There is a concern that with increasing food prices, poor mothers may try to stretch infant formula by watering it down. This is certainly not the right thing to do.
Breast milk is the best option for infants. If mother's cannot breastfeed their infants, infant formula is the next best option. Food companies put a great deal of research into making infant formula as close to breast milk as possible. The science in this area has progressed a great deal in recent years, but it is important to use infant formula as directed. After all for that important period, infant formula will be the only nutrition the child will consume.
Taking the discussion a little further, cow's milk is not appropriate for infants either. The composition of cow's milk and mother's milk is significantly different. This is something that was not fully realized a generation or so ago.
There is an interesting paper in Nutrition Research "Acidic Beverages Increase the Risk of in vitro Tooth Erosion". A group at U of Iowa College of Dentistry compared the effect of Gatorade, Red Bull, Coke, Diet Coke, and Apple Juice, as examples of sports drinks, energy drinks, carbonated soft drinks, diet drinks and juices, respectively, on extracted teeth.
In a pretty simple setup, they simply soaked the extracted teeth in each drink for 25 hours, refreshing the liquid every 5 hours. The acidities of the drinks were measured by straight forward titration. They only went high-tech, and thus beyond what you could do in a high school chemistry class, when they started to measuring the lesions.
Interestingly, the lesion depths corresponded roughly but not exactly with the acidity of the drinks. The most acidic drink was Red Bull, but Gatorade did the most harm. The lesions were measured in micrometers and the results were Gatorade (131), Red Bull (100), Coke (92), Diet Coke (61) and 100% Apple Juice (57).
Anyone who has seen the chemistry demonstration in which a highly acidic solution is used to dissolve a tooth, will not be surprised. This study appears to be a more scientific recreation of the same thing. It still does not tell you exactly what is going to happen under in vivo conditions, but basic chemistry suggests that anyone who spends a great deal of time each day swishing around acidic liquids is not doing his or her teeth much good.
If you want the opposite effect, try dairy. There appear to be a number of reasons why dairy actually acts to inhibit tooth decay (calcium, active proteins, beneficial bacteria, low acidity, etc.). Below are two representative papers on dairy and dental health.