With this project, the nutraceutical contract manufacturer hopes to help companies improve safety, efficiency, quality and transparency in developing and selling their products.
It has said that the collaboration will allow it to keep up with regional trends, new ingredients, dosage forms and health claims, so it could offer customers novel product ideas for new product development.
Developing to meet demand
Chief strategy officer Yang Rui said in a statement: "The industry demands products that are more natural and additive-free, with consumer-friendly labelling and increased transparency. The challenge for brand owners is how to develop these products quickly without compromising on quality.
"Our global collaboration will be instrumental in helping our customers develop innovative products that conform with these trends. It’s a big challenge for companies to improve existing formulations — it requires a large and experienced in-house R&D team.
"With over 500 stock formulas, our R&D specialists will explore novel combinations of ingredients, ensuring products are effective, shelf-stable and great tasting."
She added that the quality of raw ingredients, as well as manufacturing processes, were two areas in which Sirio would spend time reassessing current practices and researching how best to improve.
Where customers sourced their raw materials would have to be narrowed down to ensure only the best quality ingredients, and manufacturing processes would have to be refined to maximise the potential of such ingredients in finished health and nutrition products.
Need for speed
Another key objective of Sirio's global collaboration is to provide its customers with added clean-label options for their products, including natural flavours, colours and sweeteners, as well as more eco-friendly packaging solutions.
Its ultimate goal, however, is to enable customers to advance product R&D more quickly, and roll out new products in a shorter time. Already, it is working on new products in this regard, which include curcumin gummies and supplements containing probiotics and collagen.
Yang told NutraIngredients-Asia: "China is our biggest market, and we also export to Australia, South Korea and Vietnam. We've also had interest from Indonesia and Malaysia.
"We've seen gummy vitamins become a star product for much of the APAC market, and it's continuing to get more and more popular, along with DHA soft-gels and other VMS products in novel formats."
She added that the key in the industry was "speed to market — being able to rapidly bring new products from concept to commercialisation".
While regulatory requirements and restrictions in much of the APAC region are often responsible for increasing the amount of time it takes for companies to bring new products to market, Yang said other factors such as importing ingredients, manufacturing practices and logistical issues also played a part in whether or not products experienced any delay in becoming commercially available.
"This collaboration is the natural evolution of our commitment to continuous improvement and forward thinking. We take an extremely proactive approach to our new product development pipeline, planning up to three years in advance as to where consumer preferences are heading.
She added: "Our global collaborative effort is still in its early stages, so I can't reveal too much right now, but we are committed to continuously improving our practices, which is why this collaboration is happening.
"We also take a proactive approach to our NPD pipeline — we plan up to three years in advance with regards to where we see consumer preferences heading.
"If you look at our portfolio, we are not new to proactive innovation; one of our recent successes in this area was our premium nutraceutical consumer brand, Treerly Health, which we launched in China and was later acquired by Pfizer in 2016."
Treerly, considered one of China's top healthcare brands, boasts an extensive portfolio of women's healthcare products. This was expected to complement Pfizer’s China portfolio and will reinforce its roleas a leading provider of over-the-counter (OTC) dietary supplements.
Last year, Sirio also opened a manufacturing plant in Anhui, China, for which it has a 10-year plan, and which is expected to produce 2.4 billion gummies a year.