Soup, Salad, and a Side of Collagen
Collagen-infused food products have been on the scene in Japan for the past decade, but lately the edible smoothing products have seen a jump in sales with a younger, more eager generation. The trend began in 2001 when Kanebo Cosmetics launched the first collagen-based supplement drink called Twany Collagen 5000, which offers 5000 mg of the plumping protein in every serving. According to Relax News, Sakae Nonomura, the director of Kanebo Beauty Research Institute, said, “Japanese women are very conscious of how they are seen in society and many are still averse to leaving home without make-up.” After 17 years of research, Kanebo seemingly met their demands for firmer, radiant skin with a holistic approach targeting cosmetics, skincare, and diet. Their instant success was quickly challenged by competitors like Funcl, Meiji, and Shiseido, who delivered their own “tasty” elixirs. In particular, Kowa’s Fracora 500-a fan favorite containing 10,000 mg of fish collagen-has sold an astounding 55 million units since 2004.
The collagen craze has not stopped there. Food industry professionals have capitalized on the growing trend by stocking grocery store shelves full of delectable collagen-enhanced marshmallows, yogurt, soda, soup, and cheesecake. In savvy cities like Ginza or Nakameguro, lunching at a collagen-friendly restaurant is all the rage. Even Harunohi, a chic food chain frequented by flocks of Japanese women, boasts a menu containing healthy, low-calorie “beauty” dishes laden with the fashionable ingredient. If only the FDA wouldn’t be so picky.
Stylish women around the world are catching on but the question still remains: Do any of these products really make a difference for your skin? So far the research is not astounding by any means but it’s still early in the game. In any case, one can only hope the cure for aging can be found in a savory Bento box.