Nestlé's US subsidiary Garden of Life expands offerings in Chinese market with ‘mykind’ supplement series

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Garden of Life's 'mykind' series of supplements. ©Nestlé China
Garden of Life's 'mykind' series of supplements. ©Nestlé China

Related tags China Supplements Organic

Nestlé Health Science's subsidiary, Garden of Life — a US-based organic health supplement firm — is expanding its offerings in China with the launch of its 'mykind' series of supplements.

The series spans across multivitamins, fish oil, probiotics, and protein powder.

Garden of Life, which officially joined Nestlé Health Science in 2017, occupies 10% of the US market share.

It has also witnessed double digit growth in the US in the past 10 years, according to Jeffrey B. Brams, the firm’s VP of product development and quality supervision.

“We are the number one in vitamins, probiotics, protein, especially plant-based protein, and sports nutrition. Even our botanical products, which was launched in the recent years, also took the number one spot,”​ Brams said at the product launch held in Beijing.

Having seen success in the US, Canada, and UK, the firm is now looking further afield and conducted a market trial in China last year.

At the launch, the firm unveiled “mykind” series of multi-vitamins, which are made from natural organic fruits and vegetables, which will be available via cross-border e-commerce in China.

The brand is also positioned as a clean-label, B-Corp and organically-certified supplement using all natural and traceable ingredients. For example, the places where the vegetables and fruits are planted and the kind of farming technology adopted could be traced.

Dietary gaps

Nestlé believes that bringing in “mykind” series of multivitamins will help to address dietary gaps present in Chinese consumers’ diets.

One gap, is the lack of vegetables and fruits intake as the Chinese move away from the traditional grain based diet, consuming more meat and dairy based products, according to Li Wenjun, Chief Medical Officer of Nestlé Health Science.

“In 1982, the daily consumption of grains was about 500g, which dropped by half to about 250g in 2012. The intake of vegetables and fruits is also declining, through this, we can see that our diet is changing, this is an important trend. Of course, our intake of dairy, meat, and egg are also increasing,”​ Li said, citing statistics from a national health report.

Space for growth

At the launch, industry experts also identified some of the factors fuelling growth in China’s health supplements market.

They include an ageing population, the lack of good-quality supplements in the market, and consumers’ growing purchasing power, according to Dr Zhong Kai, deputy director of China Food Information Center (CFIC).

Citing the example of the US, he pointed out that the country’s health supplement market grew rapidly as the population aged 65 and above increases, and China is set to mirror this trend.

 “You can see that as the population of people who are 65 years old and above increases, the entire health food market expands at the same time,”​ Dr Zhong said.

At present, 35% of the Chinese population were over the age of 65, which meant that the health supplement market would continuously expand, he said.

A higher purchasing power is also another reason for China’s supplement market to grow. 

“As the amount of money that you have increases, you will spend on different areas, and health supplement will be an area.”

He added that since food fortification rates in China was lower than that of the US, there would be room for the supplement market in China to grow.

“It is precisely this reason why Nestlé  is selling (Garden of Life) products after acquiring it in the US, because China has not had consumed enough (of the supplements).

“...We have recently seen many things, such as fire therapy, many negative things. Why are these present in our country? This is because the Chinese consumers have extremely great demand, and there is not enough quality products in the market, which therefore allowed these bad enterprise to develop.

“Thus, in the future, a challenge for China’s health food and supplement market is whether there will be more outstanding enterprises occupying China’s market.”

Strong foundation

In addition, young consumers will lay a strong foundation for the growth of China’s health food market, since they are likely to continue the habit of consuming supplements throughout their lifetime.

Those born in the 80s and 90s currently make up 50% of China’s health food market, according to Dr Zhong.

“Why are those born in the 90s drinking wolfberry from their thermos flask? This is because the demands from the younger generation are growing, and you can see that at around 30 years old, people are already consuming all sorts of health supplements.

“I foresee that they will consume the supplements throughout their lifetime. As such, there is a very good consumer foundation set for the long term and stable development of the market,”​ he said.

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