The Central Research Institute
The ability to continually create new value constitutes the driving force for a company to generate sustained growth, and R&D plays a crucial role in this regard. ITO EN is constantly exploring new possibilities for a variety of ingredients, centering on green tea, that have been an integral part of Japan’s traditional culture. Today, we pursue our research at a time of growing interest in various aspects besides flavor, such as safety and functionality.
The Central Research Institute conducts basic research into the flavors, stability, and health benefits of ITO EN’s products. We focus on improving flavor by identifying elements that contribute to the taste and fragrance of beverages. The Institute is also carrying out research with the aim of verifying the extent to which green tea and vegetable beverages control lifestyle diseases, such as metabolic syndrome.
Some of this research is conducted in collaboration with universities and other external research organizations. Work to date has established that catechins, a key component of green tea, especially gallate-type catechins, help reduce serum cholesterol and body fat. We have also confirmed that catechins have an inhibitory effect on the A (H1N1) influenza virus. ITO EN publishes these findings in research papers and announces them at academic conferences.
The Company’s regular product development activities, spearheaded by the Product Development Department, involve research into processing methods for raw materials, new product formulas, and manufacturing technologies. These are based on product concepts supported by market research and analyses of consumer preferences. We also conduct R&D related to effective utilization of used tea leaves and other waste.
The Agricultural Technology Department conducts research into green tea cultivation and manufacturing processes with the aim of ensuring stable supplies of premium-quality tea leaves. We also conduct research aimed at developing and nurturing tea and vegetable plantations, both in Japan and overseas. One highly successful project, centering on the Kyushu region, targets the development of tea-producing regions. We also conduct trial cultivation of vegetables.