Vitafoods Asia 2019

Beyond 150% growth: PharmaLinea targets APAC success with immunity-boosting and anaemia-alleviating products

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Private label firm PharmaLinea's iron spray product. © PharmaLinea
Private label firm PharmaLinea's iron spray product. © PharmaLinea

Related tags Immunity anaemia APAC

Slovenian private label firm PharmaLinea is expecting to see a 150% growth coming from its operations in APAC, with products that boost immunity and alleviate anaemia expected to be a cornerstone of growth for the firm in the region.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia​ at Vitafoods Asia in Singapore, Blaž Gorjup, chairman and founder of PharmaLinea, revealed that the firm had already seen over 100% growth from APAC this year.

He is hopeful that the growth will raise to more than 150% with the launch of more products.

This year, we will be growing more than 100%, and for next year, our expectations are even higher, because our partners are also growing. There are new registrations, new product launches coming in. Next year, we expect this growth to improve, and our growth forecast is beyond 150%,” ​Gorjup said.

In APAC, the firm currently works in Vietnam and South Korea, where it sells its iron and immunity boosting formulations and products to brand owners.  

It is also in discussions on product registrations in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Within Vietnam and the greater South East Asia region, the firm sees the biggest market gap in iron supplements.

“There is a high anaemia level in South East Asia and we see that there is quite a lack of good tasting and stable products in liquid form in the region.”

These liquid supplements come in the form of spray, drops, and sachets.

“Liquid supplements for sure have a heavy growth in demand because of the ease of use.

“There is also the trend of pill fatigue, because everyone is producing so many capsules and people are hesitant to use capsules.”

In the first six months of next year, Vietnam will also be the first Asian market where it will launch a sleep aid liquid supplement for children.

“The product is zero-preservative, zero-additives for sleep. It is based on a special milk peptide which has clinically substantiated effectiveness for sleep. Because it is a peptide from milk, it does not have safety concerns.”

In the next one year, the firm intends to open an office in Singapore to oversee its APAC operation.

“We have been operating in Asia for three years. The growth has been tremendous and amazing, especially because we see that there is a huge need for products with very clear differentiation.”

Upcoming NPD

In the road ahead, it sees beauty-from-within products as the direction for new product development for APAC.

An example of the beauty supplement is a beverage shot which contains both curcumin and collagen.

“One of the latest development thinking about the APAC market, is our first product for the beauty segment, it is also the first combination of curcumin and collagen in soluble and sachet forms,”​ Gorjup said.

Challenges in NPD

According to the firm, the top challenge in new product development is not the lack of information, but the over-abundance of information.

The number one problem in NPD, is actually not the lack of new information, but too much information in the market, and there is big noise. 

“How do you differentiate between real ingredients, real products and something which has nice marketing? This is the job that is done by our science and research department, where they basically read all the scientific data and the background,” ​Gorjup said.

Working with universities and brand owners also helps the firm decide the direction for its product development and R&D priorities.

Ongoing clinical studies

The firm is currently conducting two clinical studies on its immunity and iron supplements. 

One examines the efficacy of its immunity product via a double-blind placebo control study on 200 children, the other study on its iron supplement involves 50 children.

Both studies are taking place in Europe and results are expected to come out in the first half of next year.

“We see that there is a lot of demand from the market for scientifically-proven products, and another area where we are investing in a lot of time is product stability. All our products have proven stability, we do multi-stability studies to ensure that when our consumers take it, it will still have the active ingredients at the end of the shelf life.”

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