Turn the sage: Sibelius increasing APAC presence with flagship product

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

Sibelius' initial target market was older adults and seniors, but it is now focusing more on younger demographics.
Sibelius' initial target market was older adults and seniors, but it is now focusing more on younger demographics.

Related tags Cognitive function botanicals Brain health

UK firm Sibelius Natural Products is making significant headway in the APAC region with its signature Sibelius : Sage extract and supplements, having recently received approval for sale in Taiwan after entering Australia last year.

The company is also awaiting the green light from China authorities, and is in talks to stock Essential Nutrition's range of Sibelius Sage tablets in pharmacies in Singapore and Hong Kong.

While the extract was originally developed for use in supplements to support cognitive function in adults, Sibelius is currently conducting a clinical trial to explore its potential for younger consumers.

Sporting and studying

Tech and NPD manager, Dr Brad McEwen, told NutraIngredients-Asia​: "The standard dosage is one capsule twice a day, which we've been using as part of a wider application among people. There's a clinical trial underway at the moment and results will be released next year.

"The original focus of our research was on older people because that was our initial target market, but now we’re moving our focus to younger people, like with our study on people aged 18 to 24.

"We've tested it on university students, who are usually in that age group, but one of our oldest subjects in university was 63, for whom it worked really well."

He further said it had been tested on students, who noticed "far more clarity and focus"​, sometimes as quickly as one to two hours after taking the supplement. This effect would last five to eight hours, with the students saying they were able to perform better as a result of being more focused, and finding it easier to remember what they had studied.

He added: "I've also been using it on different kinds of athletes, such as football players. They're able to focus better on the field, which is especially important in team sports, where there are a lot of people running around. Players who took the supplement were better able to anticipate what would happen next."

Botanical versatility

Apart from younger consumers, Sibelius' sage supplements are also being used by generally healthy consumers as a way to protect against cognitive decline.

McEwen said, "Sage has a wide application of uses, and that's the information we've been getting through the clinical trials. The best thing about it is you don't have to have a health condition to use it.

"Many people use it because they want to be healthier and think more clearly, even though they don't have any health issues in that regard."

Healthy consumers who take these supplements sometimes do so because they have a family history of Alzheimer's disease, depression, and / or anxiety. According to McEwen, the sage extract’s concentration and memory support can lower the risk of such conditions developing.

"(Others who can benefit include) truck drivers — who often have to drive eight or more hours a day — and executives who have to attend many business meetings and spend a lot of time on the computer, so they need to be able to focus on their current tasks but also multitask at the same time."

Currently, Sibelius supplies the extract in its raw form for use in supplements and nutraceuticals produced by certain brands (such as Essential Nutrition), and has also developed its own supplements: Sibelius : Sage, and Sibelius : Sage for Seniors.

McEwen said, "A number of companies that use our extract in their finished products are starting to combine it with other formulations for a synergistic effect.

"That way, they get a '1 + 1 = 3' sort of impact, where the combination of our sage extract with their own ingredients and formulations have significantly greater health benefits for the user."

Local and regional growth

Sibelius : Sage launched in Australia last year​, and has since found an exclusive retail partner in the country’s largest health good co-op, Go Vita, which has over 150 stores nationwide.

McEwen said: "We have customers using our sage supplements with other nutrients and herbal medicines, and more Go Vita health food stores are stocking our products. The great thing about this is such stores often have naturopaths and nutritionists among their staff. They are professionally qualified and can prescribe Sage in a clinical sense."

The company was recently granted approval to import both its raw and finished products to Taiwan, which will begin as early as the first quarter of 2019.

At the same time, it is working towards successful CFDA registration, which will enable it to enter the Chinese market by the second quarter of next year.

Furthermore, Essential Nutrition's Sibelius Sage range will launch in Singapore and Hong Kong in 2019, and the firm is in the process of developing Sibelius : Chamomile, which it is planning to launch in Q3 2019.

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