Foods with GABA additives are the latest hot trend in Japan’s burgeoning functional foods market as Japanese consumers latch onto the stress busting claims of gamma-aminobutyric acid.

GABA claims a variety of physiological effects including the ability to relieve stress and promote relaxation.  Brown and wild rice contain GABA in abundance but consumers have been wary of time-consuming products that do not taste like Japan’s favourite polished white rice.

The Satake Corporation, a major manufacturer of rice polishing machines, has developed a system to extract the nutrition and GABA values from rice bran and germ and add it back to wash-free rice. Meanwhile cereal maker FANCL has brought out germinated rice flakes breakfast cereal rich in GABA.