OSAKA — The Japanese affinity with hot spring resorts has long provided a market for firms selling bathing salts containing various minerals and ingredients.
|A customer examines bags of bathing salts at a shop in Osaka.|
But amid a sweltering summer, new types of bathing salts — with ingredients such as ginger, coffee, hot pepper and green tea — have been rushed onto the market and are selling well.
To further promote their products, Loft Co.’s shop in Osaka’s Umeda district has even created a dedicated section offering nearly 150 kinds of bathing salts.
“Those products are very popular with women in their 20s,” said one shop employee. “As a present given to guests at a wedding reception, bathing salts are increasingly becoming popular. One bag only costs 100 yen or 200 yen. In addition to the pleasure of selecting different kinds of products, I think they are very reasonable.”
Osaka-based company Vanbell began marketing Ankake bathing salts about two years ago and have reported a 50 percent increase in sales of the product from a year earlier. In Japanese, “ankake” means food with a thick starchy sauce. Vanbell’s product, which contains a highly polymerized compound, thickens hot water after dissolving. It also contains rice bran and a plum extract to moisturize the skin, according to the firm.
“The unique feel of the hot water is its sales point,” one company official said. “We’d like to develop more kinds of bathing salts like this.”
At Tokyu Hands Inc.’s Shinsaibashi store here, Gokkanyu bathing salts, or an extremely cold bath in Japanese, are selling well. The product contains both cucumber extract and luffa, which are believed to have a cooling effect. Some products also contain mint, which reportedly has a similar effect.
This spring, Tsumura & Co. also introduced new products containing egg or honey that it touts as having beauty-enhancing properties.
Yuko Minami, 24, who manages a Web site offering more than 80 kinds of bathing salts, said more and more people are discovering the refreshing properties of such products. “Any ingredient we use for cooking can be used in bathing salts,” she reckoned. “I think more people are beginning to take a bath using different bath salts every day to refresh themselves.”
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