The firm has the exclusive rights from the Taiwan government to use and breed No. 4 Hualien kakorot, which was cultivated by the Hualien District Agriculture Research and Extension Station.
Research from the country’s National Biological Technology Development Plan states that "No. 4 Hualien kakorot not only contains rich Vitamin C, folic acid, dietary fibre but also various active ingredients including triterpenoids, leptin, and CLN, and can be helpful in preventing metabolic syndrome.”
The company manufactures capsules and tea products, and earlier this year established the Axtract brand to offer kakorot extractions to the market.
Market planning and section manager Vivian Huang said: “We focused on the finished products first, but we have the cutting edge technology so we thought we should have a brand to promote the materials too.
“There are a broad range of applications that these materials are suitable for. You can use as a supplement, a beverage or a powder,” she said at the recent Vitafoods exhibition in Hong Kong.
The firm says it has the potential to improve diabetes treatment and metabolic syndrome, while also helping prevent obesity and cardiovascular disease.
For now, the finished products are sold in over 750 pharmacies in Taiwan and via e-commerce in China.
Later in the year the firm hopes to expand to Malaysia, while Huang sees international potential for the extracts.
“We think the Malaysia market offers great potential for us,” she said. “They have a similar culture to us and we think they are more willing to try functional foods.
“For the materials we will look even wider, maybe to Europe as well as the rest of Asia.”
Huang added Aquavan sought to distinguish itself from its competitors by only selling its finished products in pharmacies.
“Many other companies also choose to sell in supermarkets and so on, but the healthcare professional education of the customer is very important to us,” she said, adding the firm had several clinical trials to support its health claims.