R&D Story 02

Green Juice to Revitalize the World

One of the causes of modern lifestyle-related diseases is an imbalanced diet from a lack of fruit and vegetable intake. To encourage busy people to rebalance their diet, Sunstar has developed and marketed Green Juice for the past 21 years. After countless improvements, Green Juice is a contribution to people's vegetable intake around the world.

Unhealthy Life Brings Illness

An unhealthy diet, along with physical inactivity and smoking, amongst others, causes increasing levels of illness. Not eating enough fruits and vegetables may seem insignificant on a day-to-day basis, but if consistent, may lead to obesity, which can trigger a variety of other illnesses including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. According to the WHO, noncommunicable diseases kill approximately 38 million people annually around the world, and 1.7 million people lose their lives, in part, from lack of fruit and vegetable intake.

38

million/year

noncommunicable diseases kill
approximately 38 million people

1.7

million/year

1.7 million people lose their lives from
the lack of fruit and vegetable intake

Left: From WHO Fact Sheet “Noncommunicable diseases”
Right: From WHO’s “Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health”

Sunstar’s founder, Kunio Kaneda, suffered from diabetes. At the height of his career in 1962, he passed away from a subarachnoid hemorrhage at the age of 50. The words he left with his eldest son, Hiroo — “find a good doctor” — kickstarted a new line of healthcare products aimed at improving people's health and well-being.

Prioritizing Employee Health

While tirelessly searching for good doctors, Kunio came across natural therapy, a holistic approach to build a healthy body, preventing illness rather than healing after falling sick. Impressed by this approach, Hiroo Kaneda set up a facility in 1985 – the Shin-shin Kenko Dojo (Kenko Dojo Holistic Health Care Center) – where Sunstar employees could experience the benefits of natural therapy. Here, visitors could reset both their physical and mental states through a variety of holistic programs, including meals consisting of brown rice, vegetables, and green vegetable juice, as well as aerobic exercises, stretches, and hot-cold hydrotherapy.

Green Juice has been served as breakfast at the Holistic Health Care Center since its establishment, long preceding the current smoothies trend. Green pureed vegetable juice not only provides a quick supplement of important nutrients such as vitamins and fiber, but is also tasty. Apples and lemons are also blended in. Sunstar decided to turn Green Juice into a marketable product, in order to share this dietary supplement with more people around the world.

Let Green Juice Rebalance Your Diet

The package design of Oishii Aojiru released 1995 (left)
and today's design (right).

Making freshly pureed vegetable juice served at the Kenko Dojo Holistic Health Care Center into canned juice was not as simple as it seems. Numerous combinations and ratios of vegetables had to be tested repeatedly to bring out the tastiness, nutrients, and smooth texture, without using sweeteners or preservatives.

Green Juice released 2001 (left)
and Powder Green Juice released 2003 (right).

In 1995, after many trials, a Green Juice was finally introduced to the market as “KENKODOJO Oishii Aojiru”*. Its popularity has grown steadily over the past two decades, and it has established its reputation as a handy nutritional supplement that can be kept at home or taken on-the-go.

*Currently available in Japan

Green Juice released 2001 (left)
and Powder Green Juice released 2003 (right).

Research Reveals a Scientific Basis for Green Juice Health Benefits

Everyone at Sunstar thought that Green Juice was healthy, but nobody knew exactly why. To prove its health benefits with scientific evidence, a research program was started in 1997. The more the research team experimented with the Green Juice, the stronger the correlation was found between the Cruciferae family of vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage which the juice contains, and the lowering of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Subsequent studies demonstrated that S-methylcysteine sulfoxide (SMCS), a naturally occurring amino acid in the Cruciferae family, was the effective factor in bringing down LDL cholesterol levels(1)(2).

  • “Midori de Salana (Food for specified health uses)” without SMCS-rich vegetables
  • “Midori de Salana (Food for specified health uses)”

Test conditions: Groups of 24 – 25 men and women whose plasma LDL-cholesterol level were between 140mg/dl and 180mg/dl drank 2 cans per day for 12 weeks.

Subsequent experiments pointed at S-methylcysteine sulfoxide (SMCS) as the effective factor in bringing down the LDL cholesterol level

The research findings conducted over 10 years were published in a number of scientific journals. Simultaneously, Sunstar developed and marketed a new type of Green Juice. It was named “Midori de Salana”, and provided a sufficient daily dose of SMCS to lower LDL cholesterol. It also acquired the Food for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU) approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare in February 2009.

S-Methyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide

Ensuring Unchanging Quality

One of the difficulties in producing commercial Green Juice is to keep the flavor consistent – the juice is made with natural ingredients, and fruits and vegetables taste differently from time to time. The ingredients are supplied by a variety of producers from around the world, and checked as soon as they arrive at the factory to assure consistent taste. The flavor is checked again for taste stability before the juice is packaged by quality management who make the necessary adjustments to meet consumer expectations.

The fresh flavor of “KENKODOJO Oishii Aojiru” is partly due to the pureed cabbage using the special “Fresh Puree” technique. Fruit and vegetable juices are usually pasteurized to deactivate enzymes to make their shelf life longer. The “Fresh Puree” method however, uses lemon juice instead of heat to deactivate the enzymes in the pureed vegetables. Thanks to Sunstar's unique process, our Green Juice tastes fresh even if packed in a can.

Keeping Close Client Communication

Sunstar’s products are mainly sold online and by mail order. These sales channels give us an opportunity to build a close relationship with those people who have purchased our products, whether it is a regular client or a new customer. First-hand feedback helps to maintain the quality of our products, and consumer needs inspire improvements and ideas for new developments.

Supporting Global Vegetable Intake

Given that the lack of vegetable intake is a worldwide issue, Sunstar decided to expand the market for Green Juice overseas, so that more people could experience its benefits.

KENKODOJO Green Juice / Germany Thorough market research was conducted to expand Green Juice. Countries with a lower-than-average vegetable intake than recommended were studied, then narrowed down to those with the highest likelihood of drinking juiced vegetables. In the end, Germany was selected as the first target country, also based on increasing cases of obesity and diabetes. After adjusting the flavor of Green Juice to suit local preferences through tasting tests, “KENKODOJO Green Juice” was introduced into the German market in March 2013.

For more information on the health benefits please refer to the German KENKODOJO website

KENKODOJO Green Juice / Germany

Green Juice to Make
More People Healthy

In Japan, Sunstar markets all-vegetable Green Juice in can and powder form for consumers who desire classic Green Juice. After Germany, an online test sale began in Singapore in December 2014 as the next step to making Green Juice available to more people and helping them stay healthier.

Find out more

Oishii Aojiru*

This delicious juice contains 9 varieties of vegetables (broccoli, celery, cabbage, kale, spinach, lettuce, parsley, daikon leaf, and Japanese mustard spinach), apples, and lemons. The pureed green vegetables that make up 25% of the juice give it a thick, rich texture. Sunstar’s own “Fresh Puree” method is applied to some of its ingredients, keeping the authentic flavor of vegetables fresh in the juice.

Learn more

*Currently available in Japan

References

  • 2003

    (1) Takai M, Suido H, Tanaka T, Kotani M, Fujita A, Takeuchi A, Makino T, Sumikawa K, Origasa H, Tsuji K, Nakashima M. 2003 LDL-Cholesterol-Lowering Effect of a Mixed Green Vegetable and Fruit Beverage Containing Broccoli and Cabbage in Hypercholesterolemic Subjects Rinsho Byori. 51(11):1073-83.

  • 2002

    (2) Suido H, Tanaka T, Tabei T, Takeuchi A, Okita M, Kishimoto T, Kasayama S, Higashino K. 2002 A Mixed Green Vegetable and Fruit Beverage Decreased the Serum Level of Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Hypercholesterolemic Patients. J Agric Food Chem 2002; 50: 3346-50.

Further Reading

  • 2014

    Kondo K, Ishikado A, Morino K, Nishio Y, Ugi S, Kajiwara S, Kurihara M, Iwakawa H, Nakao K, Uesaki S, Shigeta Y, Imanaka H, Yoshizaki T, Sekine O, Makino T, Maegawa H, King GL, Kashiwagi A. 2014 A high-fiber, low-fat diet improves periodontal disease markers in high-risk subjects: a pilot study. Nutr Res. 34(6):491-8.

Holistic Health Care

Our 360° approach to total well-being. Holistic Health Care provides a connected approach across every aspect of daily life. As our company name reflects, Sunstar supports you throughout the day, from the morning sun to the night-time stars.