[Health Science domain]

Popular Black and Green Teas That Help Your Immune System Now Available – A First in Japan

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July 29, 2021

Kirin Holdings Company, Limited
Kirin Beverage Company, Limited

●Popular teas can now contain immune function ingredient from iMUSE
●Immune-support drinks now available to buyers that stick to traditional tea products
●Boom in immune function ingredient product sales –sales target revised up +20%

TOKYO, Thursday July 29, 2021 – Kirin Beverage Company, Limited (Kirin Beverage) has launched two new food with functional claims products, Kirin Gogo-no-Kocha Milk Tea Plus and Kirin Namacha Life Plus Immune Assist, which contain Kirin's proprietary Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma, to support the maintenance of immune function in healthy people. Kirin Gogo-no-Kocha Milk Tea Plus and Kirin Namacha Life Plus Immune Assist will be launched nationwide on October 12. These are the first *1“food with functional claims” in Japan that claim to have immune functions for black and green teas – widely consumed in the everyday Japanese diet.
*1: Japan's first black tea/green tea to be notified and announced as a food with functional claims for immune function

●Lactococcus lactis strain plasma product sales explode, leading to +20% sales target revision
In addition, the sales volume of beverages containing Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma during the period from January to June 2021 has been strong, increasing by approximately 50% year on year.
In response to the launch of the new product and the strong sales, the annual sales target for beverages containing Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma has been revised upward to 5 million cases, an increase of approximately 20% from the initial plan.

●Targeting the non-health focused people
In recent years interest in immunity as a purchasing factor has been increasing. Kirin Beverage has learned that approximately 70%*2 of people is aware of advancements in immunity added-value but remain stagnant – they have yet to take action to prioritize immune function in purchasing decisions.
*2: Survey conducted by Kirin Beverage in May 2021 (n=10,000)

In order to tap into the latest people’s demand and to spread the "immune system care*3" habit widely in Japan, Kirin Beverage will launch new products containing Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma from two priority brands, Gogo-no-Kocha and Namacha, both highly recognized by Japanese customers. This offers immune-function in already-familiar products, making it easier to be noticed and enjoyed.
*3: A regular lifestyle, a well-balanced diet, adequate sleep and moderate exercise are the basics.

Kirin Gogo-no-Kocha Milk Tea Plus

It contains 100 billion Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma heat-killed bacteria. You can enjoy the rich aroma of the tea leaves and the mild richness of the milk in this gently sweet milk tea that you can continue to drink every day.

The package is based on a turquoise blue color, expressing the refined taste and elegance of Gogo-no-Kocha, while also adding a sense of immune function to the design with the golden sphere mark on the label that tells the buyer “100 Billion Plasma Lactic Acid Bacteria Inside.”.

Kirin Namacha Lifeplus Immune Assist

Kirin Namacha Lifeplus Immune Assist contains 100 billion Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma heat-killed bacteria. It has the taste of mellow green tea with the fresh sweetness and umami (Japanese for “unique taste”) of fresh tea leaves which never gets old - making it easy to drink every day.

Recycled PET bottles (R100) made of 100% recycled PET plastic are used for this product. The design appeals to the high quality and natural taste that is typical of the Namacha brand, as well as the trustworthiness of a food with functional claims with its golden sphere mark on the label.

What is Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma?

The Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma is a type strain of Lactococcus lactis, which is a natural lactic acid bacterium mainly used for the fermentation of cheese and yogurt. The Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma is a product of joint research by Kirin Holdings, Koiwai Dairy Products, and Kyowa Hakko Bio, and a number of relevant papers have been published and many presentations have been given at medical societies in cooperation with medical schools and research institutions.

A World-first! Lactic Acid Bacteria that Activate the Immune System

Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma activates plasma cytoid dendritic cells (pDC), which are the "commander-in-chief” of the immune system.
The instructions and commands of the activated pDCs activate the entire immune cell and the defense system against external enemies. The discovery of the function of Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma on pDCs by the Kirin Group was a world-first*4.
*4: Lactobacillus acidophilus was the first lactobacillus reported to work on pDC in humans (based on information published in PubMed and the homepage of the Central Medical Journal).

Backed by Evidence

The affect of consuming Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma has been confirmed in published research*5. PDCs (plasmacytoid dendritic cells) are activated by the intake of Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma for more than two weeks. It is also reported that the activity of pDCs (plasmacytoid dendritic cells) is maintained at a high level while consuming Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma, and decreases slowly when the intake is interrupted. It is important to consume Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma continuously.
*5 Two representative papers from the research review are presented as examples. These are not clinical studies using the products mentioned in this news release.

As part of the Kirin Group’s Health Science domain, Kirin Beverage contributes to the maintenance of good health by developing products across the Group that use Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma, which was developed based on the Kirin Group's 35 years of immunological research. In November 2020, Kirin Beverage launched Japan's first*3 food with functional claims for immune function under the brand name iMUSE. In response to the growing awareness of customers on how to manage their physical health, Kirin Beverage has developed products such as supplements and beverages that are easily accessible and support the maintenance of immune function in healthy people.
*3: Japan's first brand to be registered with Japan’s Consumer Affairs Association as a food with functional claims for immune function.

In order to achieve the Kirin Group's Health Science Business strategy, Kirin Beverage will establish the Health Science domain in soft drinks as one of the pillars of our business. By launching these products and expanding the frontiers of the immunity market, Kirin Beverage aim to achieve further growth of the Gogo-no-Kocha and Namacha brands and contribute to maintaining people's health, which is one of the major social issues.


1. Product names (1) Kirin Gogo-no-Kocha Milk Tea Plus
(2) Kirin Namacha Lifeplus Immune Assist
2. Sales area Nationwide
3. Launch date October 12, 2021
4. Container/size (1) 430ml PET bottle
(2) 525ml PET bottle
5. Price (MSRP excluding sales tax) 143 JPY
6. Report number (1) F1054
(2) F920

●Container and Packaging Label Information
This product contains Lactococcus. lactis strain Plasma. It has been shown to support maintenance of the immune system in healthy individuals by stimulating pDC (plasmacytoid dendritic cells).

[Functional Ingredient]
Lactococcus lactis strain Plasma (100 billion/day)
1 Diet is based on staple foods, main dishes, and side dishes to balance the diet.
2 These products have not been approved by the government.
3 These products are not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent disease.

About Kirin Holdings

Kirin Holdings Company, Limited is an international company that operates in the Food & Beverages domain (Food & Beverages businesses), Pharmaceuticals domain (Pharmaceuticals businesses), and Health Science domain (Health Science business), both in Japan and across the globe.

Kirin Holdings can trace its roots to Japan Brewery which was established in 1885. Japan Brewery became Kirin Brewery in 1907. Since then, the company expanded its business with fermentation and biotechnology as its core technologies, and entered the pharmaceutical business in the 1980s, all of which continue to be global growth centers. In 2007, Kirin Holdings was established as a pure holding company and is currently focusing on boosting its Health Science domain.

Under the Kirin Group Vision 2027 (KV 2027), a long-term management plan launched in 2019, the Kirin Group aims to become “A global leader in CSV, creating value across our world of Food & Beverages to Pharmaceuticals.” Going forward, the Kirin Group will continue to leverage its strengths to create both social and economic value through its businesses, with the aim of achieving sustainable growth in corporate value.


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