There are Now more than 60 Blueberry Products with “Foods with Function Claims (FFC)”, and Demand for Blueberry Products Comes from All Generations

More than 40% of P\people above the age of 50 have eye troubles, and the top component in the supplements for eye-care is blueberry

A stable place has been established for blueberry supplements in a market for eye-care products that offers many alternatives. According to consumer surveys, released by Yano Research Institute Ltd last March, about health foods, Food for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU) and Foods with Function Claims (FFC), which targeted people aged from 30 to 70, more than 40% of women above the age of 50 and nearly 50% of men in the over 50s suffer from tired eyes and eyesight deterioration. Significantly, blueberry (bilberry) is among the top three ingredients taken by people in the over 50s (men: 17.3%, women: 21.7%), and it is gaining consumer support regardless of gender.

According to a consumer awareness survey released by Kenshokukon last year, when it comes to health concerns, eyesight deterioration is at the top one of the list (37.5%), and tired eyes is the fifth highest concern (30.9%). And, when it comes to health food choices among consumers, blueberry lutein is the second most used product in Japan, after multi-vitamin.

Recently presbyopia, caused by long-time smartphone use, has become a big issue. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, a survey in 2018 showed that  people in their 20s used a smartphone for more than 120 minutes per every weekday. Presbyopia caused by smartphone use is often featured in television programmes and magazines, and need for eye care is expanding among young people. Against this background,  product developments targeting young people have been activated, with FANCL’s product at the head of the list.

There are now more than 60 blueberry products with “Foods with Function Claims (FFC)”

Eleven Foods with Function Claims (FFC) related to bilberry-extracted anthocyanin have been accepted in the past year, and there are now 64 FFC products with bilberry (or blueberry) as an ingredient. All claims made on behalf of these products are related to eye-care: the most popular claims are a combination of “To help eye focus adjustment function” and “To help decrease eye fatigue”; and more recently “To help decrease the temporary burden on the neck and shoulders from eye use” has been added.

The second popular combination of claims is “VDT work”, “To help the focus adjustment function” and “To help decrease eye fatigue”. Then, there is a new claim - “To help keep eyes moist”, and also a new combination “1: To help replace eye moisture lost temporally through the use of computers and smartphones. 2: To help the focus adjustment function. 3: To help decrease the burden on the neck and shoulders from eye use.” Claims for the products are now being devised.

For general food use, distribution volume of Canadian blueberry is increasing

As a general food, blueberry is popularly perceived in Japan as being for “good for eyes”, and in oversea countries blueberry is recognized as a superfruit, thanks to the abundant nutrients in contains, such as polyphenol, and it is often used as an ingredient in yogurt, smoothies and confectionery bread.

In Japan, 1,800 tons of imported blueberry are distributed per year. The main source of imports has long been the US, but after the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP) took effect in 2018, the tariff for Canadian frozen blueberries was eliminated as a result, the distribution volume of Canadian blueberry has been increasing.

Abstract of The Health Industry News