Provision of Healthy Food
Relevance to our business
Since its early days, the Fuji Oil Group has sought to address social challenges with plant-based food ingredients. In R&D, we have focused especially on the nutritional and health functions and benefits of soy, oils and fats, and on technologies for improving the chemical stability of DHA and EPA.*1
The global incidences of dementia and lifestyle diseases such as diabetes are expected to rise significantly in the years ahead. We believe that daily prevention is key to addressing these health issues and that food plays a critical role in such prevention. Our Research Institute for Creating the Future*2 conducts research into the nutritional and health functions of plant-based food ingredients with the aim of solving existing and emerging health issues through food. We also aspire to contribute to greater enjoyment of healthy food by developing technologies that make food taste better.
- *1 Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are two types of essential fatty acids — meaning that they cannot be synthesized by the body but must be obtained from food. Studies have shown that DHA and EPA have several health benefits, including supporting memory and concentration and reducing neutral fats in the body.
- *2 This is the Fuji Oil Group’s R&D organization directly overseen by our chief technology officer (CTO). The institute conducts research with a social mission, focusing on the global environment, human health, and other sustainability challenges.
The Research Institute for Creating the Future uses a backcasting method to envision a better society in the year 2050 and carries out research and development to solve future social issues. For example, Japan, China, the EU, the US, and other parts of the world are expected to become super-aged societies*1 by 2050. Maintaining wellbeing among larger populations of older individuals will pose a significant societal challenge.
Wellbeing is a complex phenomenon with many elements, including physical and mental health, day-to-day mobility, and connection to society. The Fuji Oil Group focuses on the use of food to prevent health problems experienced in old age, including frailty,*2 dementia, mental health problems and lifestyle diseases. To that end, we are developing next-generation core technologies and studying the health functions of plant-based food ingredients such as soy, oils and fats.
- *1 A society in which more than 20% of the population is 65 or older.
- *2 A state between good health and the need for living assistance that is associated with declining motor and cognitive function with increasing age.
The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) oversees initiatives in this area. Since FY2021, the ESG Committee,*1 an advisory body to the board of directors, has been monitoring the progress and results of initiatives as a material ESG issue.*2 The ESG Committee reports insights to the board of directors for review.
*1 Follow the link below to learn more about the ESG Committee.
*2 Follow the link below to learn more about material ESG issues.
Identifying the core technologies, substances, and ingredients that help to prevent health problems in old age is a vital component of our responsibility to provide healthy food. To address this issue, we set the following goals for FY2021.
- Verify the functional effects of next-generation core technologies that help to solve health issues in aging societies
- Prepare an action plan for delivering wellbeing solutions to aging societies
Publishing research on the prevention of age-related cognitive decline
Fuji Oil Holdings Inc and Fuji Oil Co., Ltd. conducted a joint study with Shimane University Faculty of Medicine on age-related cognitive decline. The study confirmed that continual intake of a milk beverage enriched with stabilized DHA (developed by Fuji Oil Co., Ltd.) protected against age-related cognitive decline. The study results were published in the Journal of Functional Foods, an international scientific journal. This study demonstrated the cognition-protection benefits of DHA at lower levels than in past studies, suggesting the great potential of this technology as a health remedy for aging societies.
In May 2020, the Fuji Oil Group won the Industrial Technology Award from the Osaka Industrial Research Association. This award recognizes individuals who have made an outstanding contribution through industrial research, invention, or improvement of a commercially used technology. The initiative that received the award was titled “Peptide Athleator 4000, soy peptide*1 beverage with new functional benefits for a super-aged society.”
In addition to research and development on improving brain function with soy peptides, Fuji Oil Co., Ltd. has also organized a cross-sector team aimed at preventing frailty, locomotive syndrome,*2 and dementia. The project is in partnership with the Osaka Kawasaki Rehabilitation University and the city of Kaizuka in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. The award applauded not only our research findings but also our involvement in this industry-academia-government partnership, which promotes health and social connection among local residents through food and exercise. This partnership also received a silver medal in an award program organized by Bone and Joint Japan in April 2021.
* Follow the link below to learn more about our external recognition.
- *1 Peptides are substances created in the process of breaking down proteins. Peptides formed by enzymatic breakdown of soy proteins are called soy peptides.
- *2 A syndrome characterized by a decline, or risk of decline, in locomotive functions that results in a need for living assistance or a person’s becoming bedridden. Causes are age-related and include muscular atrophy, joint and vertebral diseases, and osteoporosis.