Colombia’s gummy gains: Big opportunities in South East Asia says Bogotá business

By Millette Burgos

- Last updated on GMT

Gummies will get bigger in Asia. © iStock
Gummies will get bigger in Asia. © iStock

Related tags South east asia Southeast asia

Nutrient gummies drew the most visitors to Softigel’s booth at the recent HI SEA 2017 show in Jakarta – with the company identifying several markets for business growth.

According to Camilo Suarez, Softigel director for business intelligence, and commercial director for SEA-MENA, gummies account for 25% of its global sales.

“We saw at this trade show that a lot of people were looking for gummies​,” he ​said, adding the firm was showcasing multivitamin gummies, as well as fibre and probiotic versions.

“We think that gummies is a big trend, not only here in Indonesia, but in Singapore, Vietnam, in Philippines,”​ said Suarez.

Softigel is part of Procaps​, a multinational corporation that develops, manufactures, and markets pharmaceutical products globally. 

The corporation has facilities in Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, and the US. Its gummy factory in Bogotá can manufacture 200 tonnes of gummy products a month.

Three big Asian markets

And while the company has just started exploring the Indonesian market, it said it was already supplying various gel pharmaceuticals and gummy products to customers in Australia, Vietnam and the Philippines – the company’s three biggest markets in Asia so far.

“We have other pharmaceutical forms in our factory in Bogota, but the main pharmaceutical form that we sell in more than 50 countries are the soft gel,”​ said Suarez.

“We make all the products that is inside – the medicine or supplements and the gelatin covering.”

Most of the company’s soft gel products are not made from animal products, although the company offer bovine-based ones.

“Our gels are halal. We have worked on that in the past. The soft gel facility that we have in Colombia is not only approved by FDA, TGA, Health Canada, but it is also halal-approved from our local entity,”​ Suarez said.

There are no plans yet for Softigel to build a facility in Asia. Suarez said all the orders from the region can be manufactured by the the factory in Bogota.

“Some people think that it would be very difficult to send the product from Colombia to Indonesia, but we demonstrated that we are already delivering products to Vietnam, the Philippines and Australia,”​ he said.

“We assured them that we can deliver their products from Colombia.”

For now, the company said it will keep an eye on the Indonesian market.

“It is a very big country. It is very difficult to enter to be honest, the regulation is strict, and they usually prefer local manufacturers. But it is a good economy, more than 260 million people live here,” ​Suarez said.

“We decided that South East Asia is a good market. It is an emerging market for us. And I think in the future it will give us good benefits and good return of investment for everything that we will be doing in this space.”

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