Ryudai program produces two new consumer products

A program at the University of the Ryukyus aimed at developing new commercial products to help local economy produced two new products during its inaugural year 2016 that will be produced under the university’s own brand by private businesses.

One is awamori, branded “Awamori of the University of the Ryukyus” that uses original yeast to ferment the mash that reportedly produces a fruity flavor, and second is a brightly colored keema curry with spring turmeric as an ingredient that was jointly developed with local farmers, and named “Romance of the University of the Ryukyus.”

The university and companies related the development project presented the new products Mar. 31st at an event held at the university in Nishihara Town.

The program was started last year in order to develop the university brand in collaboration with companies and using intellectual assets of the university. The program calls for the business community, students and teachers to jointly come up with ideas that the university would then continue to support comprehensively from the original idea to marketing. The university has a budget of three million yen to subsidize the ideas including trial production.

For the first two products, the university spent two million yen for the awamori and one million for the curry.

The awamori utilizes yeast called “R217t” for fermenting” that was originally developed in the Faculty of Agriculture, Microbiological Fermentation Laboratory, and Ishikawa Brewery in Nishihara Town, and Biojet Co. Ltd., a joint venture of the university and the awamori maker established to experiment with brewing conditions exploiting specific characteristics of yeast ferments.

The resulting awamori reportedly has gorgeous scent compared to normal awamori, and a good balanced taste. Students at the university designed the imposing label for the bottle.

Professor Hirohide Toyama of the Faculty of Agriculture, said, “We were able to create a truly original awamori combining the new technologies of our university and traditional skills of awamori brewers.”

The turmeric, “The University of The Ryukyus CL2,” used in the new curry, presents exclusive characteristics, and has pending application registrations for a variety of processes. It’s a variation of spring turmeric that contains plenty of curcumin.

Professor Keiji Motomura at the Faculty of Agriculture said, “The shape of the plant is easy to brush down as it has few branches and no replant failures, either. The turmeric is perfect to farmers.”

Yoshito Nagai, the director of an Okinawan curry restaurant “Ajitoya” involved in the development, agreed. “I was surprised how CL2 has strong aroma and deep color. We hope everybody enjoys eating this curry appreciating the ingenuity of the university team.

The awamori is marketing plan, including the retail price, is still in the process of planning. It’s expected to be on sale this summer.

The curry will go on sale mid May for ¥600 at Naha Airport through a joint venture by the university and Ajitoya.