Trends unveiled: APAC’s 10 most read supplement and nutrition trend stories in 2019

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

This year's 10 most read trend stories including functional food and beverage trends in Japan and Thailand, as well as the probiotics and sports nutrition trends in China.  © Getty Images
This year's 10 most read trend stories including functional food and beverage trends in Japan and Thailand, as well as the probiotics and sports nutrition trends in China. © Getty Images

Related tags China Japan Thailand

We look back at our 10 most read trend stories this year, including functional food and beverage trends in Japan and Thailand, probiotics and sports nutrition trends in China, and the direct selling industry in India.
Suntory reveals top five functional beverage trends shaping Japan's market

Suntory has identified the top five consumer trends​ shaping Japan's booming dietary supplement market.

The country is witnessing a sharp increase in new product development, largely stemming from regulatory changes.

While firms previously had to adhere to the stringent Foods for Special Health Uses (FOSHU) rules, the introduction of the less rigorous Foods with Functional Claims (FFC) in 2015 enabled more innovation.

Chinese boom: How probiotics and e-commerce are changing China's supplement industry

Probiotics and e-commerce are two of the most prominent priorities for Chinese consumers when it comes to dietary supplements, according to a Mintel report​ on 2018's top supplement trends in China.

Research analyst Vicky Zhou said: "Parents have the intention to purchase health supplements for their children, especially probiotic supplements.

"Brands have invested in probiotic supplements to target parents and young consumers, and consumers are responding well to this innovative segment."

New number one: Australia takes top spot from US for supplements and health foods imported into China

Australia now accounts for 22.3% of all supplements and health foods imported into China, taking the top spot from the US​, which had a 20.4% share of the market in 2018.

According to data from the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products (CCCMHPIE), Australian imports recorded growth of 60.8% year-on-year to US$660m.

Overall, The total import amount of supplements and health foods imported into China in 2018 was US$3.01bn billion – representing annual growth of 37.7%.

Growth in China's functional gummy market expected to accelerate as regulatory environment changes: Sirio Pharma

The industry can expect to see a boom in China's functional gummy market ​as the regulatory environment relaxes, according to Chinese supplement manufacturer Sirio Pharma.

The contract manufacturer predicted that with less stringent regulations, more functional gummies are able to penetrate the market this year.

At present, the Chinese authorities only allow basic nutrients such as vitamins and minerals to obtain a product license through the filling system, whereas gummy supplements will need to obtain license via the registration route.

Japan sports nutrition leader Meiji eyeing 10% sales growth amid expanding market

Meiji is aiming for 10.6% sales growth for its sports nutrition business amid a flourishing domestic market.

If the target is met, the firm will generate a sales figure of ¥$21.1bn (US$190m).

Not much is known about Meiji's sports nutrition portfolio outside of Japan. Besides dairy products, it is in fact a forerunner in the domestic sports nutrition space, led by the success of its flagship brand SAVAS, which was launched in the 1980s.

Swisse and BioIsland lead the pack for brands imported to China as Australia secures number one status

Swisse and Biolsland took the top spots for imported brands in China last year, with Australia named the number one exporter to China, according to statistics gathered by the China Chamber of Commerce of Medicines and Health Products Importers and Exporters (CCCMHPIE).

Director of CCCMPHIE, Zhang Zhong Peng, revealed the figures​ when presenting at the Nutrition and Health China Industry Summit held in Shanghai yesterday (Jun 17).

Since year 2014, the US had maintained the number one dietary supplements importer to China.

Daigou disruption: Cross-border changes hit Swisse owner H&H's Q1 adult nutrition sales in Australia and New Zealand

Swisse owner Health & Happiness (H&H) International saw a dip of 25.2% in its Australia and New Zealand adult nutrition sales in the first quarter of 2019, despite a slight overall revenue increase.

This came in the wake of new cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) rules​, which again highlights how sales performance in Australia in particular are at the mercy of daigou ​trends.

According to H&H, China's new e-commerce regulations​ — which were implemented at the start of the year — resulted in many daigou​ sellers de-stocking their inventory and reducing trading activity.

Herbalife reveals key market opportunities in APAC on the back of new record high for sales volume

Herbalife has identified three key opportunities ​in APAC's dietary supplement market, ranging from obesity to ageing after the firm saw a 23% year-on-year rise in sales in the region.

The firm revealed the numbers in its Q2 earning reports, adding this marked the sixth quarter in a row that the region has set a new all-time record for sales volume.

Within South East Asia (SEA), Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia were the top performers in terms of volume, with a growth of 40%, 32%, and 28% respectively. India also grew by 36%.

Indian innovations in probiotics and functional food shine as incubator drives production and commercialisation

Indian entrepreneur incubation hub Biovalley Incubation Council has announced the five start-up products ​it will fund in the nutrition and biotechnology sectors, among them a high-protein chilli and a novel probiotic technology that speeds up fermentation.

After a hackathon at a medical fair in Delhi on February 23, Biovalley shortlisted 10 candidates for further assessment. At a March 25 event organised by Biovalley's parent company, AMTZ, this list was narrowed down to five final candidates.

They will receive funding, laboratories, machinery, and assistance with commercialisation to launch their products both in India and overseas. AMTZ will handle the funding required from the production through to the commercialisation stages.

The new whey protein? Vitafoods Asia speaker reveals why fenugreek seed is a promising sports nutrition ingredient

Fenugreek seed’s androgenic effect, which increases testosterone levels in males, makes it a promising nutritional ingredient for fitness supplement, according to a speaker at the forthcoming Vitafoods Asia exhibition in Singapore.

Dr Dilip Ghosh, director at Nutriconnect, will be presenting about fenugreek’s potential during his talk 'Sports and fitness nutrition: tailoring diets for improved performance​' ​on September 26.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia​, Dr Ghosh said fenugreek seed could tap into the demand for plant-based alternatives.

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