Japan: Kirin launches fat-burning beer

Kirin has launched last week the first beer in the world that is not causing but reducing a beer belly. Kirin Karada Free is a beer that contains matured hop bitter acids (MHBA) of oxidized hops that helps reducing abdominal fat according to a study conducted in 2016 with 200 male and female overweight individuals aged 20 to below 65 years.

The researchers observed that the body weight of consumers with a body mass index of 25 or more and less than 30 kg/m decreased significantly by 0.5% after drinking 12 weeks 350 ml of the test-beverage and in total by 0.6% another 4 weeks later even after the test had already ended while there was no change in body weight in the placebo group. Hip and waist circumferences were also reduced and no clinically relevant abnormal changes in the circulatory, blood and urine parameters were observed.

Kirin Karada Free is classified as food with a functional claim (FFC) in Japan which is a fast growing market not only in the Asian country but also around the world. The beer or "beer-taste beverage", as Kirin puts it, has neither alcohol, nor fat and hardly any calories (5 calories per 100 ml).

One 350ml can contains 35 mg of MHBA which, in spite of its name, doesn't actually impart any noticeable bitterness or acidity to the beer. Ben K, a journalist with Japan Today who tested the beer was “pleasantly surprised.” The product “has the unmistakable aroma of beer and a refreshing taste which goes down smoothly,” the journalists stated. “Of course, it's not the same as an alcoholic brew, but it's one of the best-tasting non-alcoholic beers we've tried.”

The beer went on sale on Oct 15 in convenience stores, supermarkets, drugstores and on e-commerce in Japan. One 350ml can is selling at a retail price of JPY 157 (USD 1.44). For the time being, the company does not plan an international roll-out of the product.

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