(TOKYO-Relaxnews) – With Japan’s notoriously hot and sticky summer just around the corner, drinks firms here are releasing new products designed to keep consumers cool.

Kirin Mets Cola ©All Rights Reserved

Perhaps the most eye-catching new beverage is Kirin Mets Cola, created by the company behind one of Japan’s most famous beers, that is billed as the world’s first health-food cola.

Kirin says the drink contains an indigestible form of dextrin that can be used as a fibre supplement and restricts the body’s ability to absorb fat when eating. The drink, which sells for Y150 (€1.45) for a 480 ml bottle, has no artificial sweetners but added carbonation, which makes it more refreshing, the company said.

Blood tests carried out on people after they drank the cola indicate that neutral fats remained lower after a person had eaten, with Kirin specifically targeting men in their 30s who enjoy eating out and drinking, but are worried about putting on weight.

Not to be outdone in this latest cola confrontation, Pepsi Black will be released in Japan in mid-June – just when the humidity settles across the nation.

The latest addition to the Pepsi range has 50 percent less sugar than the traditional recipe and a hint of lemon has been added to the mix to give it “a refreshing aftertaste,” the company said.

Asahi Soft Drinks Co. has launched the Bireley’s Strawberry Milk drink, each carton of which includes three whole strawberries and a small amount of apple juice to bring out the strawberries’ flavour. The drink also only uses milk from Hokkaido, Japan’s most northerly island and famous for its dairy products, and a carton costs Y140 (€1.35).

The latest addition to Starbucks’ Japan-only menu is the iced Chocolate Cookie Crumble Frappuccino with White Chocolate Pudding. Apparently designed to meet the cravings of sweet-toothed consumers, the drink is available across Japan but only while stocks last, the company said. The tall version costs Y590 (€5.70), while the Venti goes for Y670 (€6.47).

Green tea is a more traditional drink in Japan and can serve as a very effective thirst-quencher in the summer months. Sakura green tea contains an extract made from the petals of cherry blossoms and blends that with green tea and pure water from Fukui Prefecture. The result is a sugar-free drink with a refreshing taste that is slightly different from the other bottled green teas that are available. A 350 ml bottle retails for Y125 (€1.21).

And for anyone who wants a little added good fortune with their beverage, Engicha Honpo has just released a tea that comes in individual packets that also include a stalk from the tea plant. According to Japanese lore, a stalk of a tea plant that floats vertically in the drink when it is served is a sign of good luck. Engicha Honpo is taking no chances that its stalks will float horizontally in its Cha Bashira Engi Cha by creating artificial stalks with one end that is heavier.