Just the tonic: Aussie firm Arborvitae eyes export opportunities with premium multi-purpose liquid product

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Arborvitae's current portfolio consists of five liquid tonic products for joint health, blood glucose and cholesterol, cognitive function, memory and eye health, children, and teenagers.
Arborvitae's current portfolio consists of five liquid tonic products for joint health, blood glucose and cholesterol, cognitive function, memory and eye health, children, and teenagers.

Related tags: Joint health, Cholesterol, Cognitive function, Immune health, Australia

Australian supplement firm Arborvitae Health and Wellbeing is seeing accelerated growth for its premium multi-purpose proprietary liquid tonic, which is now available in 500 domestic pharmacies, with demand now also rising in South East Asia, China and Canada.

Targeting inflammation, immunity, cognition, and cardiovascular, metabolic and ocular health, the five Arborvitae-branded products come in 1 litre bottles and have an identical formulation; the difference in their health benefits is linked to the recommended dosage for each product.

Though the company has been active since 2010, its sales and distribution began picking up only in the last two years.

Lean sales force, fat profits

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia​, GM Matthew Harris said: "We were originally available only online, but about two years ago, we expanded to around 100 pharmacies.

“Now, we're in over 500 pharmacies and health food stores, and we've achieved that without a sales force. We don't have anyone except me working on sales and marketing to increase distribution — it all comes down to people hearing about the product through radio advertising or word of mouth.

"The brand’s rapid growth over the last two years has happened mostly through demand from those who have used the products before and have told their friends and family about it."

He added that A$69.95 each, the products made for a highly profitable opportunity for the pharmacies that stocked them, and justified the price point using the high level of actives the products contain.

He further claimed that while an Australian pharmacy would typically sell 20 to 30 units of a single health supplement product every month, Arborvitae's products sell "at four to five times that rate"​.

He said this success has motivated Arborvitae to make its products available in countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, China and even Canada, where rising demand and a conducive environment for science-backed health supplements and functional foods make these markets ripe for entry.

"We're happy our customers have built the brand for us, and we'd now like to make the products available outside of Australia by replicating the model we've used here."

One formulation, multiple uses

Arborvitae's current portfolio consists of five liquid tonic products: Arborvitae Joint Health, Arborvitae Health & Wellbeing Supplement (for blood glucose and cholesterol), Arborvitae Cognitive Function, Memory and Eye Health, Arborvitae for Kids, and Arborvitae Teenagers Immune Boost and Concentration Supplement.

While the formulation was originally intended to alleviate inflammation-related ailments such as osteoarthritis and joint pain, it is also said to be effective for balancing blood sugar levels, supporting cognitive function and ocular health, and boosting immunity.

The combination of its main active ingredient, Pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark extract), along with papain enzymes, sodium chloride, aloe vera juice, procyanidins and honey, Harris said, has provided "fantastic results for a lot of our customers"​.

He further revealed that Arborvitae has applied for a patent for its proprietary formulation.

While the formulation is identical across the range, the key to getting specific benefits from the respective products, he said, was to use a "clinically recommended dose like we suggest with our products"​.

For instance, adults with joint pain are advised to take 100ml (50ml each in the morning and evening) of the Joint Health supplement to start, then 50ml daily as a 'maintenance dose'.

Those looking to boost overall health, on the other hand, are advised to take just 30ml of the Health and Wellbeing supplement daily.

Harris said, "People who have taken two bottles of the product have reported fantastic results, and I'm really excited to be able to offer a product with tangible benefits.

"It's also a natural product, so it has no long-term side effects, unlike a lot of prescription medication."

He added that while Pycnogenol is a rather commonly used ingredient in many dietary supplements, it tended to be used in only small amounts that were usually ineffective.

Arborvitae, on the other hand, wanted to optimise its inclusion of the ingredient in order to produce the best results — every 100ml of its product contains 260g of Pycnogenol.

In terms of sales and distribution, Harris said the company would continue focusing on pharmacies and health food stores as its key distribution channels for now,

"We believe these are excellent channels for us, because they have an excellent understanding of their customer base. For health food stores in particular, customers tend to look for natural alternatives to prescription medicine, and we are well-equipped to meet those needs."

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