Kirin brewery to use beer ingredients for health foods

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TOKYO -- Japan's Kirin brewery is to enter the health food market, selling products made from the ingredients used in beer production. The company is setting up a joint venture with Tokyo-headquartered health food manufacturer Asupro. Kirin Asupro will start trading Oct. 1, 1997.

Kirin has been developing three health food products using beer yeast and nucleic acid that will now be produced by the new company. Asupro, which has been selling health foods through 6,000 drug stores in Japan, plans to expand its distribution to department stores and supermarkets from the fall with Kirin's cooperation. The company expects between 10% and 20% of its sales to be accounted for by products manufactured under the Kirin brand.

The $500,000 health food market has been expanding at a rate of 5% a year and is expected to boom in a country with an aging population and spiralling medical costs.

Kirin is investing 90% of the $10m capital for the new 150-staff company and Asupro the remainder.

Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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