On February 19, 2022, the Master Program in Business Administration, Vietnam Japan University, and YOSHINOYA Company successfully organized a seminar: “Health Functional Food in Japan.” The seminar is an opportunity for students to have a comprehensive view of Japan’s regulations and management methods on functional foods and the products that YOSHINOYA company provides to the functional product market.
Japan is famous globally for its great life expectancy, which proves that: Japanese people are very health conscious and concerned about the importance of lifestyle, including daily nutrition. However, the mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases is still high and is close to that of cancer in Japan because the Western eating style leads to diseases such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Therefore, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Labor issued the “Food for Specified Health Uses” (FOSHU) law to solve the issue in 1991. In this law, FOSHU was considered to provide beyond six common nutritional values, including Minerals, Carbohydrates, Fats, Vitamins, Water, Proteins. Most of the health claims are related to improving gastrointestinal health using probiotics. Triglycerides, high blood pressure, high LDL-cholesterol, and high blood glucose are mainly associated with the related health claims. Consequently, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Labor enacted a new regulatory system, which newly established “Foods with Nutrient Function Claims” to give further standards and specifications for nutritional functions. In 2015, a novel functional regulatory system called “Foods with Function Claims” was established, based on the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act system established in the USA. Major health claims in the new regulation system are associated with fatigue, eyes, memory, stress, sleep, joints, blood flow, body temperature, muscles, and Body Mass Index. After the introduction of the new system, the total sales for functional foods, including FOSHU products, reached 8 billion dollars in 2018. The new functional regulatory system is more flexible in terms of health claims, the protocol for clinical studies, and the required results. Therefore, the market for new regulatory products is still growing.
Contributing to the success of improving the general health of Japan, we can not fail to mention Yoshinoya Holdings in developing functional products. Understanding the benefits of functional foods and the related regulatory system, combined with the business motto based on the three core pillars “People, Health and Technology,” Yoshinoya company has continuously researched, developed, and introduced to the market functional food products such as サラ牛 (Sala gyu), GABA牛 (GABA gyu), ペプ牛 (Pepu gyu) , and Yoshinoya Dashi Supplement. These products are chosen and trusted by many consumers.
The Vietnamese functional food market has experienced strong growth in recent years. According to the Vietnam Food Administration (VFA) statistics, there are about 30,000 functional food products licensed for circulation. Up to now, more than 70% of functional food consumed in Vietnam is domestically produced. In the 2000s, most of the food supplement’s customers were concentrated in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, with about 500,000 people. However, by 2019, the number of people using functional food increased to more than 20 million, accounting for more than 21% of Vietnam’s population. According to Viet Nam Association of Functional Food statistics, Vietnam’s functional food market sales reached nearly 6 billion USD in 2019. Euromonitor also forecasts that the functional food market in Vietnam will continue to grow in the coming years with a growth rate of over 20% per year. The functional food segment is a potential business field, making sense for manufacturers and Vietnamese consumers.
Up to now, Yoshinoya has opened its first store in Vietnam, located in Ho Chi Minh city. Yoshinoya plans to open more restaurants in Vietnam when the Covid-19 situation is under control. We are looking forward to enjoying Yoshinoya’s nutrient-rich menus in Yoshinoya restaurant.