Now ideas for wellness

About Meiji

At a Glance

At a Glance

Get to know Meiji at a glance – from our core business to our most important numbers.


Our Nutrition Initiatives

Our Nutrition Initiatives

Our goal is to improve the lives of people of all ages around the world through nutrition, from infants to older adults, and we are dedicated to achieving this goal.



Medical needs are always diversifying – here's how Meiji is responding.

Wellness Stories

Innovative Feeding Strategies for Cows—A Joint Initiative for Dairy Industry Sustainability

February, 2024
photo of Hiromitsu Amanuma
Hiromitsu Amanuma

Manager, Supply Chain Team, Sustainability Management Dept., Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd.
(at project initiation)

photo of Hidesuke Ikeshita
Hidesuke Ikeshita

Supply Chain Team, Sustainability Management Dept., Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd.

Dairy is an indispensable part of our diet. With a wide range of products available, consumers have their own criteria—such as nutritional value, and taste—for deciding which products they purchase. Recently, a new selection criterion, environmental friendliness, is beginning to enter the decision-making process.

Cow manure and burps contain greenhouse gases (GHGs), which are closely linked to global warming. The Meiji Group wanted to work on reducing GHG emissions from dairy farming, an issue that has been identified as a concern in Japan but has not yet been properly addressed. We've teamed up with Ajinomoto Co., Inc., the world's leading maker of amino acids, to make dairy farming in Japan more sustainable.

photo of video thumbnail

Business model applying J-Credit, the Japanese government's carbon credits program

"Feces, urine, and burps are part of a cow's life. We must carefully consider any changes we make to cow feed that could affect those natural functions. We thought it was important to proceed in small steps," says Hiromitsu Amanuma, manager of supply chain team in the sustainability management department.

Cow burping gets a lot of attention, but manure actually contains nitrous oxide, which is one of the greenhouse gases and is estimated to have about 300 times the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide.

The amount of nitrous oxide generated from cow manure increases in proportion to the amount of amino acids not absorbed into the body when ingested by cows as feed.

In 2023, the Meiji Group, in collaboration with Ajinomoto, began an initiative to reduce GHG emissions in dairy farming through the government's carbon credits program known as J-Credit*.

In this project, Ajinomoto sells AjiPro®-L, a lysine formulation for dairy cows developed independently by Ajinomoto, to Meiji Feed Co., Ltd. Meiji Feed provides AjiPro-L and meticulously developed recipes to its partner dairy farmers. Dairy farmers mix grass, corn, and other feed with AjiPro-L following the recipe and feed it to their cows, aiming to reduce GHG emissions. AjiPro-L provides lysine, an essential amino acid often lacking in dairy cow feed. Mixing AjiPro-L into feed improves amino acid balance and reduces the amount of nitrous oxide generated from cow manure.

*The J-Credit program allows the Japanese government to certify the amount of GHG emission reductions and the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed through alternative environmental measures, such as forest management, as "credits."

AjiPro®-L, a lysine preparation for dairy cattle
photo of AjiPro-L

Source: Ajinomoto Co., Inc. website

In launching the initiative, we created a business model utilizing the J-Credit program. The Meiji Group purchases the credits generated from the reduction of emissions, and gives the proceeds to dairy farmers. The purchased credits are used to offset the Meiji Group's GHG emissions* and help reduce the GHG emissions of Japan's dairy industry.

This project has to be a win for everyone involved, including the cows. With this in mind, Meiji Group and Ajinomoto created the carbon credits business model. (Amanuma)

*Carbon offsetting makes up for GHG emissions by investing in activities that reduce GHG emissions.

Business model utilizing the carbon credits program
figure of business model utilizing the carbon credits program

Reducing GHG emissions and providing management benefits to dairy farmers

photo of Kazuhiko Hashiguchi

Kazuhiko Hashiguchi
Manager, Development Team, Milk Procurement Dept., Purchasing Division, Meiji Co., Ltd.

We work closely with dairy farmers on all their challenges and help them achieve sustainable dairy farming operations. The business model values the reduction of GHG emissions as credits, which also creates business benefits for dairy farmers. We hope that our carbon credits project will encourage dairy farmers to participate in environmental initiatives, which will lead to more sustainable dairy farming.

The important thing is the balance of feed

The challenge of the project was developing the feed recipe. Ajinomoto and Meiji Feed were required to create a well-balanced ration with AjiPro®-L, because feeding large amounts of AjiPro®-L alone to cows would result in overnutrition. Amanuma, who serves as a bridge between the two companies, says

Without well-balanced feed, cows' health and milk production would be affected. Ajinomoto and Meiji Feed worked together to coordinate the project, with the belief that feed recipe development was the key to the project's success.

Soybean meal, commonly used for general feed, is high in protein and cost. The feed formulated with AjiPro-L for this project can effectively deliver amino acids that normally wouldn't be absorbed into the cow's small intestine as nutrients, thereby maintaining sufficient milk yield while reducing the amount of soybean meal. Reducing excess amino acids results in less nitrogen generated from cow manure and lowers nitrous oxide emissions.

Lysine preparation with unique dissolution characteristics that dissolves in the intestine without being broken down in the first stomach
figure of lysine preparation with unique dissolution characteristics

Optimizing the feed recipe only after thorough research and a series of discussions based on the evidence

photo of Shohei Takeuchi

Shohei Takeuchi
General Manager, Strategy Execution Group, Customized Feed Solution Dept., Amino Science Division, Ajinomoto Co., Inc.

Feed formulation is an important factor that affects cow health and influences milk production. We understood that changing the recipe could be concerning for dairy farmers. Meiji Feed also shared those same concerns and wanted to be sure the new formulation would not have negative effects on cows. We took time to address their concerns by sharing our research with them and explaining how the new formulation would be digested by the cows. By presenting our information to them, we gained their confidence and trust that the new, non-traditional feed wouldn't put their cows' health or milk production at risk. Ajinomoto intends to continue our efforts to communicate the benefits of AjiPro-L to the dairy industry.

Enthusiasm drove the project

photo of Mr. Iwama and Mr. Sato

The start of the project was not smooth sailing. In general, sustainability initiatives such as GHG emissions reductions can be difficult to achieve because of costs. Both the Meiji Group and Ajinomoto, however, vowed to see the project through despite the obstacles. Amanuma had numerous discussions with Meiji Feed, dairy farmers, and the marketing department of Meiji Corporation to help them understand how the project would ultimately raise the value of milk. We eventually gained their trust and cooperation. In January 2023, the initiative was finally launched at Hokusho Farm in Nemuro, Hokkaido.

We achieved consensus because we have a shared passion for making the wonderful industry of dairy farming sustainable. (Amanuma)

A challenging initiative kicked off with the trust of Hokusho Farms and the cooperation of Ajinomoto

photo of Keisuke Iwama

Keisuke Iwama
General Manager, Nemuro Sales Office, Doto Branch, MEIJI FEED CO., LTD.

We at Meiji Feed built trust with the dairy farmers by working closely with them to develop the best feed for cows. I was concerned that a bold change like this, which reduces soybean meal, might also reduce milk production. After discussions with Ajinomoto, Mr. Yukio Sato from Hokusho Farms agreed to give the new feed a try. The results were extremely positive. We saw no reduction in milk production and feed costs were actually lowered because of the reduced quantity of soybean meal.

The most important thing about feed is that the cows enjoy eating it

photo of Yukio Sato

Yukio Sato
Representative Director, Hokusho Farm

We treat our cows with love and give them quality care. I had to be sure the cows would happily eat the feed, in addition to maintaining their health.

Meiji Feed always provides the feeding program, taking into consideration the grass and corn harvested at our farm. We will continue to use this feed formulation containing AjiPro-L because it had no adverse effect on the cows' health and milk production, while reducing the negative impact on the environment.

Sustainable dairy farming adds value to final products in the coming era

Ikeshita says, "we would like to expand our cooperation beyond Hokusho Farms." We're gradually increasing the number of dairy farmers, companies, and organizations participating in this business model.

This is the first step toward achieving sustainable Japanese dairy farming. We will expand this business model to achieve more greenhouse gas reductions. (Ikeshita)

We are currently discussing the possibility of starting initiatives with new dairy farmers. We are also considering other ingredients that can reduce methane, which has an even greater impact on global warming than nitrous oxide. The initiative started by the Meiji Group, Ajinomoto, and Hokusho Farms is expanding its reach.

Amanuma also says, "we would like to increase the value of dairy farming as an industry by solving the challenges it faces, such as reducing GHG emissions, while increasing its sustainability and profitability." The products produced from initiatives to promote sustainability will have a new, added value: low carbon. Consumers will choose dairy products for this value. The Meiji Group will continue to work on sustainable dairy farming to create such a future.

We want to add sustainable value to the criteria of health and taste when choosing milk

photo of Naoaki Akahoshi

Naoaki Akahoshi
Manager, Milk Team, Milk Marketing Dept., Marketing Division, Meiji Co., Ltd.
(at project initiation)

Our marketing department is always working to improve the perceived value of milk. Milk and dairy products are primarily recognized for their health and taste, but in light of the recent increase in environmental awareness, we thought it would be important to add sustainability as a core value. We believe that informing consumers about the dairy industry's efforts to reduce GHG emissions will encourage them to purchase milk.