APAC's most read supplement and nutrition trend stories of 2018 unveiled

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

APAC's most read supplement and nutrition trend stories of 2018 unveiled

Related tags Herbal dietary supplements daigou personalised nutrition HMO Dna testing

We look back at our 10 most read trend stories this year, including news on the daigou phenomenon, personalised nutrition in APAC, ASEAN's bright future in nutrition, the top supplement categories and ingredients in Indonesia and Australia, and what firms should know before entering China.

The top five ingredients driving Australia's supplement boom revealed at China expo

Australia's five fastest-growing supplement ingredients​ have been revealed, with the board president of industry trade body Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) telling a summit in Shanghai that "much of these are destined for Asia, and China in particular"​.

Dusko Pejnovic, who is also the CEO of Lipa Pharmaceuticals, underlined how important the China market was to Australian supplements industry in a keynote speech at the recent HI China show.

He explained how the organisation's latest industry audit showed the sector was now responsible for revenues of $4.9bn, a $2bn increase over the last five years.

The daigou phenomenon: 'Unofficial' exports of Aussie supplements to China estimated at $800m

Daigou​ shoppers are believed to have accounted for $800m of 'unofficial' supplement exports​ from Australia to China in the past year, dwarfing the $320m figure for official exports.

The numbers were crunched by Australian trade body Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) for its 2018 industry audit. Daigou​ shoppers are 'personal shoppers' who buy products overseas to ship back to China to sell, usually via e-commerce.

The Australian industry has been buoyed by such shoppers for several years, but until now, the scale of the financial benefits had been uncertain.

China now one of 'most important players' in global probiotics market as sales top $8bn: IPA

China has cemented its status as one of the world's most important global players​, according to industry body the International Probiotics Association (IPA), with data revealing that nearly half of all APAC sales come from the country.

Both manufacturers and suppliers have been reporting soaring sales in the country for the past couple of years, but pinpointing accurate figures has been a challenge.

However, George Paraskevakos, executive director at the IPA, said new data pointed to the growing importance of the China market.

WATCH: Is personalised nutrition now ready to go mainstream in APAC?

Personalised nutrition has the potential to go mainstream in APAC​, but the pace of progress will depend on how quickly and effectively MNCs, start-ups and governments can collaborate.

For the latest edition of our Nutrition Asia video series, we spoke with ingredient giant DSM's VP for human nutrition and health in APAC, Andre Rhoen, and Alina Uchida, the director of product development at the rapidly-growing personalised nutrition brand Imagene Labs.

In the video, we ask them to gauge how consumer understanding of the health benefits of personalised nutrition is progressing in the region, and to assess if has the potential to shift from being a premium product to something with mass appeal.

Here comes the 'sunrise': Why ASEAN will be global boom region for supplements and nutrition products

The vast potential for supplements, functional foods and high-value nutritional products in Southeast Asia has been underlined by a new report, which highlights them as "sunrise industries"​ — namely, ones that are tipped to achieve considerable success.

The report was written by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and focuses on the 10 member states of ASEAN — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

It points out that ASEAN had the world's third largest population in 2016, and is set to become the equivalent of the world's fourth largest economy by 2030, with economic growth rates outpacing the global average.

Five key market trends shaping the China supplement landscape for exporters

Chinese demand for supplements and natural products shows no sign of slowing, but would-be exporters need to be mindful of five key trends​ shaping the market today in order to secure business success.

According to the Australian Trade and Investment Commission — Austrade — the Chinese health food market, which includes vitamins, dietary supplements, animal and herbal extracts, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is currently valued at RMB200 billion (US$30 billion), and is projected to grow by 10% every year until 2025.

In a new report, Complimentary Medicines in China​, Austrade states: "The growing market for complementary medicines has been driven by a heightened awareness of health, wellness and safety issues among Chinese consumers."

HMOs a goldmine of human health applications beyond infant formula: DuPont expert

Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) have extensive potential to offer a range of health benefits in products beyond infant formula​, DuPont's global business director for HMOs, Steen Lyck, said at Vitafoods Asia on Tuesday.

Lyck was presenting findings from clinical trials on HMOs and their potential applications for not just infant health, but also adult and senior health.

At the moment, DuPont's HMO research has centred around 2'-Fucosyllactose (2'-FL), which is the most abundant of more than 130 oligosaccharides that have been identified in human breastmilk so far.

Herbal supplements in Indonesia: On-trend ingredients and pressing health concerns revealed

Indonesia's young population, buoyed by greater disposable income, are increasingly interested in herbal supplements​ for their preventative healthcare benefits, according to one industry expert.

Unlike Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand, the country has a relatively young population, with approximately 50% aged 30 and below. This makes preventative healthcare a prime area of concern for Indonesians.

At the recent HI Southeast Asia trade show in Jakarta, supplier Sabinsa's business development manager Nandini Singh told NutraIngredients-Asia​: "A lot of working adults keep long hours, don't eat as well as they should, and generally don't take good care of their bodies."

Blackmores CEO exclusive: 'New retail' a fascinating opportunity for international supplement brands in China

China's 'new retail' phenomenon​ — whereby companies like Alibaba seek to converge e-commerce insights with bricks-and-mortar retail operations — could provide as many opportunities for supplement brands as it has done for food firms, Blackmores CEO Richard Henfrey believes.

Speaking to us in an exclusive interview in Shanghai, Henfrey said 'new retail'​ — a termed coined by Alibaba's Jack Ma — was an exciting development for China's retail market.

"For Alibaba to be bringing their consumer knowledge into a brick-and-mortar retail environment is really interesting. It will have implications for our industry as much as any other,"​ he said.

Japan leading the charge for DNA testing trend in boost for personalised nutrition firms

Japan's consumer genetic testing industry is booming​, buoying hopes that personalised nutrition firms can tap into demands for tailored products, especially among the elderly.

According to the Fuji Chimera Research Institute, the consumer genetic testing industry — which is tipped to reach a value of ¥6.6bn by 2022, a 35% increase from ¥4.3bn in 2017 — has so far been dominated by two domestic firms: Genesis Healthcare and Genequest Inc.

Both companies offer DNA testing products and services to customers, who need only provide cheek swabs for testing so they can receive detailed reports on aspects of their health such as allergies and disease risk. Services cost anywhere from ¥5,000 to ¥30,000.

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