First mover: AstaReal sees vast opportunities in Thailand’s functional beverage market
The Japan-headquartered firm’s astaxanthin health ingredient can already be found in many food formats, such as chocolate in Japan, and it wants to emulate that success in other markets, including Thailand.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia at FI-Asia held in Bangkok,, the firm’s Singapore president, Dr Vincent Wood, said that Thailand had potential because “it is very quick to take on innovative ideas, especially for products with health benefits.”
“We wanted to push forward this and be a first mover in this space by using our astaxanthin emulsion which no one can copy at this moment, and bring the benefits through the functional beverage,” Wood said.
He revealed that the firm had already been granted regulatory approval for delivering astaxanthin in functional beverages.
“For the regulatory part, it will grant us access into supplement beverage shots, and the next stage, we are applying to get access to be granted as a general food...So the first phase, it is supplement drinks and shots, and next stage, as foods.”
At the exhibition, the firm showcased a number of functional food prototypes containing astaxanthin, including a whey protein based beverage, chocolates, and muffins.
The company has also createrd a concentrated drop, where users can add drops of astaxanthin into beverages and foods.
It is now planning to undertake a clinical trial to validate the health benefits of astaxanthin in Thailand.
It is already conducting clinical studies in Singapore, which are expected to be completed by mid-2020.
“We are doing clinical trial in Singapore and we will like to extend that into Thailand and we are looking for partners, especially to deal with the ageing market.”
As for Singapore, upon the completion of the trial, the firm hopes to officially launch into the market.
“Hopefully, we can market the supplement, drink version, even the chocolate version. With the clinical results, we hope that it will get a lot of traction, acceptance amongst health care practitioners.”
At the exhibition, the firm also conducted a seminar on the benefits of astaxanthin for muscle health, in addition to other benefits, such as eye, skin, and cognitive health.
Seminar speaker Dr Amanda Woo, technical marketing and business development executive at the firm, pointed out that muscles loss could be prevented with astaxanthin supplementation.
“In recent years, it is found that muscle loss can be prevented or slowed down, so it is related to lifestyle changes, such as exercise and nutrition, such as consuming a high protein diet.
“AstaReal astaxanthin has also been shown to improve muscle mass, and the gain in muscle mass actually improves the functionality of the muscle as well. So it is not just muscle increase, but also a functional increase,” Woo said.