Kirin to Try Health Brand Again

January 27/Tokyo/Asia Pulse -- Japan's Kirin Holdings Co. plans to re-enter the health food market in April by creating a new groupwide brand, following its withdrawal from this business last March.

The products are to be released in stages, with four Kirin group firms to focus on their areas of strength. For example, Kirin Brewery Co. will sell nonalcoholic beerlike beverages, Kirin Beverage Co. will make carbonated drinks and Koiwai Dairy Products Co. will produce yogurt.

All offerings under the new brand will contain ornithine, an amino acid believed to improve liver functions in addition to providing other benefits.

This will be Kirin's first groupwide brand. It will be aimed at consumers around 40 years old, with the product lineup to be expanded gradually. It is targeting 30 billion yen in sales in the fiscal year through December 2012.

Kirin owned a 55% stake in a health food joint venture with Yakult Honsha Co., but it pulled out due to sluggish sales. It hopes to make health food one of its main businesses along with beer and soft drinks, given that regulations covering beer and other alcoholic beverages are being tightened globally and because beer consumption is sluggish at home.

From the February 1, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition