Trend Tracker: Hemp in Japan, dairy in SEA and plant protein's potential across APAC star in our trends round-up

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Hemp oil supplements are gaining higher acceptance in Japan.
Hemp oil supplements are gaining higher acceptance in Japan.
Japanese consumers are tapping into the trend for hemp products, while Chinese gainats are seeking to cash in on South East Asia’s dairy boom. Find out more in our Trend Tracker review.

Hemp’s cognitive help: Elixinol’s supplements finding favour amongst Japanese consumers

Hemp oil supplements are gaining higher acceptance in Japan, with manufacturer Elixinol ramping up its investment in the country on the back of more favourable advertising rules.

Hemp oil, which contains cannabidiol (CBD), is the main product that Elixinol​ sells in Japan, along with chocolate bars containing CBD and oil essence. 

The hemp oil products are recommended for improving concentration and relaxation, according to Elixinol’s website.

To find out the link between hemp and cognitive function, NutraIngredients-Asia ​spoke to Paul Benhaim, the founder and CEO of Australian headquartered firm Elixinol.

“It​ works on the CBD system which is throughout our bodies and in our brains. Since our brains have CBD receptors, this suggests that we used to consume hemp plant in the wild,” ​Benhaim said.


Trade, literacy and NPD: Blackmores outlines key ambitions as sole vitamin firm in China alliance

Blackmores wants to strengthen trade relations, improve public health literacy and drive NPD in China, banking on its position in the China International Import Expo Enterprise Alliance to help achieve this goal.

Last month, the Australian supplement giant became the first and only vitamin and dietary supplement (VDS) brand to be inaugurated as a member, making it one of four Aussie companies in the Alliance.

Executive director Marcus Blackmore and Asia MD Peter Osborne attended the signing ceremony at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, publicly cementing Blackmores' position in the CIIE Enterprise Alliance.

This membership gives the firm access to regular roundtable discussions with the Chinese government on matters of international trade, which it believes will further establish its reputation in its largest Asian market as a reliable provider of natural health products and services.

SE Asia’s perfect storm of factors lures Chinese dairy investment

Chinese dairy giants have signaled their intent to set up a major presence in South East Asia​ - a region ranked the world’s sixth biggest economy.

On November 30, Inner Mongolia Yili announced it had acquired Thailand’s biggest ice cream and frozen food distributor, Chomthana. It was part of its “internationalization process,​” the company said.

It spent US$80m to purchase a 96.5% stake in the Thai company, according to Nikkei Asian Review. In business for 47 years, Chomthana operates across 13 markets, and last year cleared US$3.2m in net profit on sales of US$34.4m.

Like Yili, bitter rival China Mengniu is another dairy major that manufactures baby formula, yogurt, liquid milk and ice cream. The week prior to the Yili deal, Mengniu opened a US$50m production line in West Java, Indonesia, to produce probiotic beverages and yogurt products.


Plant protein, sports nutrition and omega-3: Tom Oliver Nutrition tapping into surging categories to drive Asian growth

UK supplement firm Tom Oliver Nutrition is tapping into several fast-growing categories in Asia​ to further its expansion in the region, focusing on non-animal sources of protein, sports nutrition, and omega-3.

Best known for its signature Omega-3 Herring Caviar soft gels, the company also carries vegan-friendly sports nutrition products: namely, Vegan Protein powders and The Vegan High-Protein chocolate bars (in addition to its regular Diet Protein powders).

It recently added two new flavours to its existing range of high-protein bars, building on its success so far by appealing to growing consumer health consciousness, preference for convenience snacking, and interest in sports nutrition.

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