The Great Wall of…gut health? Aussie brand targets China with novel probiotic supplement

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Biotik comes in 10ml single-serve bottles, each containing what is termed a 'micro shot' of probiotic-rich liquid.
Biotik comes in 10ml single-serve bottles, each containing what is termed a 'micro shot' of probiotic-rich liquid.

Related tags: Probiotics, Australia, daigou

Australian firm Clinical Advantage is targeting the China market with its new digestive health brand, Biotik, using a novel delivery system and maximum bioavailability to appeal to consumers.

Partnering with Italian probiotics specialist SOFAR, Biotik uses the company's proprietary probiotic strain, LP-DG (Lactobacillus paracasei ​CNCM I-1572), and its patented technology to provide a convenient method of ingesting its supplement.

Biotik comes in 10ml single-serve bottles, each containing what is termed a 'micro shot' of probiotic-rich liquid.

Fresh probiotics are encapsulated in the lid, and released into the flavoured syrup below through a simple 'press and shake' system — a press-down mechanism in the bottle top is used to break the foil seal containing the live probiotics.

The user must then shake the bottle to mix the probiotics with the syrup before consuming the bottle's contents.

The product is sold in cartons of 12, and is available in two variations: the mango-flavoured Biotik Digestion contains eight billion units of LP-DG and is suitable for children aged four and above, as well as adults, while the strawberry-flavoured Biotik Children's contains one billion units of LP-DG and is suitable for children between three and 12 years old.

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Distribution, daigou​, and digestion

Biotik will be distributed across Australia through stockists and online platforms, as well as exported to China via its e-store on Aussie daigou​ platform, DaigouSales.com.

Clinical Advantage GM Matthew Harris told NutraIngredients-Asia​: "We're very focused on daigou and making sure we support them, providing all the education and training necessary, because we see them as great allies for our product.

"As we expand our network, we'll move into stores and other retail outlets — potentially health food stores. That's why it's very important the brand is well supported and popular in Australia, because without that, China may not take us seriously."

DaigouSales.com founder Dr Mathew McDougall (whom we spoke to in July​) stated in a release that Biotik had "a clear China focus"​, adding that "leveraging Australia's growing community of Chinese shoppers — known as daigou — is a smart way to validate a lot of their cross-border assumptions"​.

He further said, "Biotik is perfectly placed for DaigouSales.com, which sits on WeChat, because the target market utilises WeChat as its only form of online engagement.

"DaigouSales.com, combined with a domestic marketing and sales strategy, will support increased confidence and trust in the brand across China, which is important when building an export strategy for China."

Apart from China, Clinical Advantage is also focusing on New Zealand, as daigou​ shoppers have a preference for products made and / or sold there. The firm hopes to launch in both China and New Zealand by the end of the year.

Other countries and regions of interest include Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, the Middle East, and the UAE.

Harris said, "Malaysia and Vietnam are two countries we've spoken about. We don't have any specific launch plans yet, but Vietnam is a promising market because of its interest in supplements from Australia. We also have experience working in Malaysia and Singapore, so we'll look at targeting those markets as well."

When it comes to the Middle East and UAE, the company's interest stems partially from the relatively similar product registration requirements across both regions. It plans to launch there sometime next year, after it has familiarised itself with the channels to market.

Technology and tolerance

Clinical Advantage has the exclusive rights to LP-DG, and is the first to have commercialised it outside of Italy. MD Wayne Coote had met with SOFAR last year to discuss using LP-DG to launch products in Australia and New Zealand, with the goal of targeting the rest of Asia as well.

Harris said, "It was a unique opportunity for us to develop a product using something that's been proven to work. SOFAR is a market leader with 25 years of experience, and we partnered with them to ensure a successful launch."

He also explained Biotik's choice of format, saying: "We wanted to focus on the concept of freshness. With a micro shot, the product wouldn't spend much time in the stomach.

"A capsule or tablet would get broken down and have many of its probiotics or live cultures killed by stomach acids, whereas a liquid product would pass through easily."

Furthermore, LP-DG is said to remain robust from ingestion to digestion, resulting in a greater impact on gut microbiota colonisation and allowing users to "get the best results from the product"​.

Harris further said: "If we didn't have this technology (from SOFAR), the probiotics would be less stable as they would already be within the liquid, and we are marketing the product from this angle."

Clinical Advantage is also looking into developing another variation of Biotik for children below three years old.

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