COVID-19 and APAC's nutra industry: All our coronavirus one place

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

News round-up on COVID-19 and APAC's nutra industry

Related tags COVID-19 coronavirus Nutrition

Here's your constantly updated snapshot of NutraIngredients-Asia's comprehensive COVID-19 coverage.
Vitamin D deficiency linked with higher COVID-19 mortality and severity of symptoms – China study


Vitamin D status could predict COVID-19 mortality rate and the severity of symptoms in the acute infection stage, suggests a new observational study in China.

Still surging? Pandemic over but immune health category still top of mind for consumers – industry players


The spike in demand for immune-related products has not dwindled after COVID-19, and is in fact showing signs of long-lasting potential, say several industry players.

Post-COVID impact: South Korea's health functional food imports decline for first time in four years


South Korea’s imports of Health Functional Foods (HFF) saw a decline for the first time in four years, with volumes shrinking 9.5 per cent in the first six months of this year.

Efficacy booster: Korean red ginseng found to improve and maintain antibody-mediated responses after COVID-19 vaccination – new study


Korean red ginseng could raise post-vaccine antibody formation rate, particularly in people aged above 50, underlining its potential as an adjuvant for greater COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, says researchers.

Co-enzyme Q10 hot in demand in China amid sharp jump in COVID-19 cases


Co-enzyme Q10 dietary supplements are the latest hot-selling item in China following a sharp jump in COVID-19 cases across the country.

Returning to normality? China ramps up relaxation of COVID-19 food testing and tariffs


China is ramping up its efforts to move past the immense impacts COVID-19 has had on the country over the past three years, including removing all requirements for nucleic acid testing on frozen food imports and reducing tariffs.

Doctors ‘the best advocates’: Our Probiotic Product of the Year winner to replicate medical strategy in new markets


Hong Kong-based probiotic specialist G-NiiB Geniebiome, winner of this year’s NutraIngredients-Asia Award Probiotic Product of the Year, said that its commercial success in its home base was largely due to endorsement from medical doctors, and it hopes to replicate the strategy elsewhere.

Controlling inflammation: Gencor eyeing NPD opportunities for post COVID-19 infection


Gencor Pacific is eyeing new product development opportunities aimed at improving the quality of life in individuals who experience the lingering effects of COVID-19 infection, following new trial findings on one of its trademarked ingredients.

Under investigation: Vitamin D, zinc supplementation to be assessed among COVID patients in India


A new trial in India is set to assess if vitamin D and zinc supplementation could be a safe, inexpensive and effective regimen when caring for COVID-19-positive patients.

COVID-19 concern: Academic unease at almost one in 10 Japanese taking supplements as preventive measure


A Japanese government-backed study has questioned the use of dietary supplements as a preventive measure against COVID-19.

Environmental influence: How national COVID-19 responses could affect outcomes of nutra clinical research


Individual countries’ responses to COVID-19 could affect the progress and results of clinical research conducted during the global pandemic, claim a team of New Zealand researchers who undertook a probiotics RCT.

Potential COVID-19 adjuvant: Vitamin C, D supplementation could support COVID-19 treatment – Review


The consumption of vitamin C and D supplements, in addition to a healthy diet, could be promoted as a co-adjuvant therapy for COVID-19, according to a team of international researchers.

China COVID-19 updates: 'Low-risk’ food imports that test positive for virus allowed, but frozen items still in the cold


China has relaxed entry rules for ‘low risk’ food and beverage imports that ‘test positive’ for COVID-19, citing the virus’ short survival time on packaging surfaces.

COVID-19 and supplements: Blackmores made largest-ever single product donation for study on zinc combo


Blackmores made its largest-ever single product donation to support clinical research for a COVID-19 related trial involving migrant workers in Singapore.

Curcumin-piperine co-supplementation could significantly reduce weakness in COVID-19 patients – RCT


Curcumin-piperine co-supplementation could significantly reduce weakness in outpatients with COVID-19, but does not influence other factors such as biochemical and clinical indices.

PEA shown to inhibit COVID-19 by dual mechanisms, trial results to be out in Q3 – Gencor


Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) has shown to inhibit the COVID-19 virus in both in-silico and in-vitro settings, and positive findings from a clinical trial are expected to be published in Q3, says functional ingredient firm Gencor.

Higher Omega-3 intake a key nutritional factor for Japan’s fewer COVID-19 casualties than US - Review


Higher levels of Omega-3 intake, including DHA and EPA, coupled with less junk food consumption, could be two key nutritional factors in explaining Japan’s fewer COVID-19 casualties compared to the US.

Ready to roar: Malaysia’s tiger milk mushroom maker targets overseas growth amid domestic popularity


Malaysian Tiger milk mushroom supplier Nexus Wise is eyeing overseas growth amid local success for the ingredient traditionally used for cold, flu, and immunity.

Clinical trial validation: Probiotic adjuvant to COVID-19 treatment launches in Singapore


Hong Kong firm GenieBiome has launched its research-backed probiotics that have been shown to speed up recovery in COVID-19 patients in Singapore.

‘Just like the COVID-19 ART test’: Thai professor develops new kit for testing gut microbiome


A Thai researcher has developed a test kit for measuring the gut microbiome bacteria which works in the same way as the now widely used antigen rapid test (ART) for detecting COVID-19.

Finding the ‘perfect fit’: How beta-glucan could serve as immune modulating adjunctive for diseases – LISTEN


Beta-glucans have the potential to serve as an adjunctive for a range of chronic, inflammatory diseases, alongside its recently documented benefits for COVID-19 patients, a R&D chief has revealed.

‘Significant positive effects’: South Korea’s AceBiome launching immune probiotic tested on COVID-19 patients


South Korea probiotic firm AceBiome will be launching an immune formula in April that was the subject of a clinical trial involving COVID-19 patients.

‘A habit sticks’: P&G and Holista Colltech on why immune product demand will persist - WATCH


The COVID-19 has led to new habits that are here to stay, including taking supplements that benefit the immune system, according to P&G and Holista Colltech.

Combination of two beta-glucans reduced inflammatory biomarkers in COVID-19 patients – India clinical trial


The combination of two beta-glucans produced by Aureobasidium Pullulans (AFO-202 and N-163) strains along with standard treatment was shown to reduce inflammatory biomarkers in COVID-19 patients, compared to just the standard treatment alone.

Nagasaki University and Kirin to study lactic acid bacteria on relieving symptoms in COVID-19 patients


Nagasaki University and Kirin Holdings are embarking on a joint clinical research to assess the effect of lactic acid bacteria on relieving symptoms in COVID-19 human subjects.

Multivitamin supplementation reduced disease severity of COVID-19 in ICU patients – Iranian clinical trial


Supplementation with vitamins A, B, C, D, and E could improve the inflammatory response and decrease the severity of disease among intensive care patients with COVID-19, according to a new trial from Iran.

Daigou sales slump: Trade is down but they can still ‘make or break’ nutrition brands in China


Two-thirds of daigou traders in the nutrition and food space say that business is worse than before the COVID-19 outbreak, but brands are being cautioned not to underestimate the benefits of their endorsements as they rush to sell direct to Chinese consumers via online stores.

COVID-19 and beta glucans: Pilot study shows two strains can help control biomarkers of clinical severity


A pilot study in India has reported that intake of two strains of beta glucans can lower cytokine storm and coagulopathy biomarkers in COVID-19 patients.

Sabinsa’s curcumin and black pepper extract combo results in faster recovery of COVID-19 symptoms – clinical trial


A combination of Sabinsa’s curcumin and piperine (black pepper extract) showed faster symptomatic recovery among COVID-19 patients in India, according to findings from a recent clinical trial.

WATCH: Amado Group and COSMAX on beauty, weight management trends amid COVID-19


Companies are still seeing opportunities in developing supplements that address the evergreen needs of weight management and skin protection, even as consumers tighten their purse strings and spend more on hygiene and immune health supplements.

Saudi supplements study: Significant use of vitamin C, honey and black seed products during COVID-19 infection


There was a significant increase in the use of vitamin C, honey, black seed, citrus (lemon, orange), ginger, and costus supplements, and a drop in peppermint supplementation among patients with COVID-19 infection in Saudi Arabia.

COVID-19 nutrition in Indonesia: Survey shows nine in 10 dietitians recommended vitamin C, B complex to patients


Nine in 10 dietitians in Indonesia have recommended supplements to hospitalised COVID-19 patients, with vitamin C and B complex the most common recommended supplements, a new survey has found.

Pandemic defence: Vitamin K and D could boost immunity against COVID-19 - Review


Fat-soluble vitamins, specifically vitamin K and D could boost the body’s defence mechanism against COVID-19 infection and prevent complications from arising, according to a new review.

Philippines COVID-19 trial: Virgin coconut oil effective in reducing inflammation in suspected and probable infection cases


Virgin coconut oil has been found to be effective in reducing inflammation and showed rapid symptom relief in suspected and probable COVID-19 subjects, according to an RCT from the Philippines.

‘Important implications’ for COVID-19 vaccines: Review shows gut microbiota affects various vaccine efficacy


The gut microbiota, which is impacted by diet, the intake of antibiotics and probiotics, has shown to affect the efficacy of various types of vaccines, and this could have important implications for the ongoing COVID-19 global vaccination drive, said a new review.

COVID-19 and botanical spray: MGC Pharma on distributing clinically-backed formula in India and South East Asia


MGC Pharma is working on introducing its product that has shown to speed up recovery in COVID-19 patients, as a natural health or ayurvedic product in several Asian countries, including India, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand.

COVID-19 and micronutrient status: Individuals without deficiencies have less risk of disease incidence and severity – systematic review and meta-analysis


The absence of micronutrient deficiency, such as vitamin D, has shown to reduce the incidence of COVID-19, as well as lowering the odds of clinical deterioration in COVID-19 patients, said the findings of a systematic review and meta-analysis.

International boom: Yiling Pharmaceutical sees overseas revenue soar amid COVID-19 interest in Lianhua Qingwen botanical


Yiling Pharmaceutical, the company behind TCM/dietary supplement product Lianhua Qingwen, said revenue from its overseas market was up 918.37 per cent in FY2020, after the product was officially recognised by the China authorities as a COVID-19 standard therapy for mild symptoms such as fever and cough.

LISTEN: Prof Dr Anoop Misra on high blood glucose, its effects on COVID-19 risks, and useful functional foods


Pre-diabetes and diabetes are factors which could increase the risk of COVID-19 infections and mortality, and therefore the consumption of certain functional foods could be beneficial, says the guest who stars in the 17th episode of Nutra Champion podcast.

Vitamin D deficiency, obesity and diabetes linked to higher rates of COVID-19 infection and mortality in Asia - Review


Vitamin D deficiency is linked to higher COVID-19 infection and mortality in Asian countries, according to the first review of its kind in the region.

Coronavirus crackdown: Japan’s consumer chiefs warn against labelling foods and health products with false COVID-19 claims


Japan Consumer Affairs Agency (CCA) is warning general food and health food manufacturers against labelling their products as being effective in preventing or treating COVID-19, to avoid consumer misunderstanding and harming public health.

LISTEN: Treat vitamin D deficiency in COVID-19 patients before assessing benefits of mega-dose – Prof Rachel Neale


Giving huge doses of vitamin D to treat COVID-19 patients has been the protocol in certain parts of the world, but the more urgent need could be addressing underlining deficiency, says the guest who stars in the 16th episode of our NutraChampion podcast.

Daigou still slow: Infant nutrition brands driving sales at mother-and-baby stores, e-commerce in China


Strengthening distribution in mother-and-baby stores, complemented by effective local e-commerce and cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) operations will be the way for overseas infant formula brands to thrive in China, with the daigou channel still seeing weak signs of recovery amid travel restrictions, an industry analyst said.

Japanese beta glucan supplement clinically studied as an adjunct treatment for COVID-19 in India


A Japanese beta glucan food supplement is being studied as an adjunct treatment for COVID-19 patients in a clinical trial in India.

Vitamin trends in Turkey: Google searches for vitamin C and D surge and sales channels proliferate during pandemic


Data from Google has revealed that interest in vitamins soared during the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey, with particular interest in vitamin C and D.

Coconut and COVID-19: Philippines DOST-led study reveals virgin coconut oil reduce symptoms in suspected patients


A recent study led by the Philippines Department of Science and Technology (DOST) revealed that suspected COVID-19 patients administered with virgin coconut oil (VCO) had reduced symptoms and a faster recovery phase compared to the control group.

Business as usual: Japan supplement firms report smooth transition amid second COVID-19 state of emergency


Japanese health food and dietary supplement firms such as FANCL, Kirin, George & Oliver, Taisho Pharmaceutical, Eminet and Q’sai say its ‘business as usual’ despite certain prefectures coming under a second state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artemisinin for COVID-19: Indian and US firms launch clinically tested supplement after ayurvedic regulatory approval


Indian supplement manufacturer Windlas Biotech and California-based Mateon Therapeutics and have developed an artemisinin supplement that acts as an adjunctive for COVID-19 treatment.

Microbiome and COVID-19: Lower levels of key gut bacteria linked to severity of disease and immune response – China data


The composition of patients’ microbiome may influence the severity of COVID-19, as well as how the immune system responds to the infection, according to new research from China, which found lower numbers of F. prausnitzii and Bifidobacterium bifidum to be particularly detrimental.

Indian COVID-19 patients have lower levels of selenium, researchers call for supplementation of general population - Study


COVID-19 patients from southern India had lower selenium serum level compared to healthy individuals, prompting industry players to call for its supplementation considering selenium’s well-known defence mechanism against infectious diseases.

COVID-19 in Japan: Supplement giants on maintaining manufacturing during state of emergency


Japanese firms such as Nippn, Kirin, Morinaga Milk Industry, Kewpie, Yakult, Eminet, and FANCL have been sharing their experiences of operating in Japan despite the state of emergency in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LISTEN: Developing functional foods important in the fight against COVID-19 – Philippines’ ex-nutrition policymaker


Developing functional foods that deliver health benefits to support the population’s immune and nutrition status is important in the battle against COVID-19, says an ex-policy expert from the Philippines.

‘Fostering faith’: India’s Fitday on quest for country-wide offline retail expansion despite COVID-19


Indian supplement brand and retailer Fitday is expanding its offline retail presence across the country, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Growing health concerns in MENA will drive demand for food flavourings in functional foods


The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating interest in functional foods and could prove to be a boon for flavour firms which can help mask undesirable taste profiles.

Malaysia firm launches health tea modelled on COVID-19 TCM formula, but no health claims


Malaysia headquartered Ritamix Global has launched a tea modelled on a TCM formula used in China for COVID-19 treatment – but the new product is registered as food and beverage and makes no health claims.

Vitamin B6 and COVID-19: Experts call for clinical studies to validate evidence / demonstrate potential


Vitamin B6 may play a potential role in reducing the severity of COVID-19 and its complications, according to an opinion article written by researchers from Japan, China and Thailand.

COVID-19 rapid reviews: Task force to make recommendations on vitamins, botanicals to health authorities


A group of Australian naturopathic experts is gathering on-the-ground data from health practitioners on the effectiveness of nutraceuticals in helping to combat COVID-19, and will present the findings to health authorities.

COVID-19: China experts advise supplementation of omega-3, protein, polyphenols in patients


The intake of omega-3 could reduce fatality rates in severe COVID-19 patients, while protein could suppress catabolism and polyphenols could be used to fight inflammation, a group of nutrition experts from China advised.

WATCH: APAC start-ups on surviving amid COVID-19 and the booming beauty supplement market


The business environment has been hard hit by COVID-19 and small players are usually the most affected, but two APAC nutra start-ups are flourishing amid the crisis.

COVID-19 RCT: Honey and black cumin seed help speed up recovery in Covid-19 patients


A randomised-controlled trial that is awaiting peer review suggests that Covid-19 patients who received a combination of honey and Nigella sativa recovered more quickly than those given a placebo.

Revise-up RDA: India’s industry body urges vitamin rule changes amid COVID-19


Calls to revise the recommended daily allowance of vitamins, minerals, and proteins in India are growing after the country’s regulator asked for suggestions from the industry stakeholders.

Double-digit growth: Beauty-from-within, immunity and eye health strong performers amid COVID-19: Kinohimitsu


Singapore-based health supplement brand Kinohitmitsu says consumers’ spending on beauty supplement, especially collagen, remained high amid COVID-19 as it saw double digit growth across all catgeories.

COVID-19 changes preferences? China consumers less interested in overseas supplement brands, while trust in TCM rises


China consumers are placing more trust in traditional Chinese medicines (TCM), with a declining interest in overseas supplement brands and functional foods with health claims, said a consumer survey conducted by a New Zealand institute.

Vitamin C and COVID-19: Researchers call for status testing and intravenous / oral supplementation


The high frequency of vitamin C deficiency in people with respiratory infections has led researchers to call for levels to be tested on Covid-19 patients, followed by either intravenous or oral supplementation.

China’s dairy boom: Yili pegs post-COVID-19 health demands and tech as key to consumption boost – exclusive interview


Chinese dairy giant Yili believes that local dairy consumption is on an upward curve due to a rise in consumer understanding of its health benefits due to COVID-19, as well as the advantages technology is bring in advancing innovation within the sector.

COVID-19 protease inhibitor search: Chinese researchers to screen one million functional foods ligands


A group of Chinese researchers are screening one million functional foods ligands (or molecules) in their search for the ones that could potentially inhibit the main protease of COVID-19.

Flavettes, immunity, beauty and energy: Malaysia Duopharma’s Consumer Healthcare CEO unveils growth strategies


Duopharma, the Malaysia pharma company behind the vitamin brand Flavettes, has outlined its strategies in growing the consumer healthcare business - including expanding the flagship brand across South East Asia and developing new immunity and energy products.

"Tremendous opportunities": Bayer ASEAN head on driving supplements growth via airline and TikTok


Moving fast and quick is crucial to tap on the “tremendous opportunities” that the South East Asia (SEA) market presents, according to Bayer’s ASEAN head who also spoke about the firm’s recent partnership with an airline and its promotional Tiktok dance.

Pharma the goal: ASX-listed MGC to sell supplement trialled on COVID-19 patients in Slovenia


MGC Pharma is registering a botanical and vitamin supplement that is currently being trialled on COVID-19 patients for sale in Slovenia, while the long-term goal is to launch it as a pharmaceutical product.

How COVID-19 legitimised the importance of health supplements in four ASEAN countries: AAHSA


The outbreak of COVID-19 has led a number of ASEAN countries in “fully recognising the importance of health supplements” in optimising or maintaining the public health, according to a regional trade association.

Half-year report: ASEAN is China’s biggest dietary supplements export destination, with good growth in Middle East


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was China’s biggest export destination for dietary supplement ingredients and products in the first half of this year, while the Middle East is likely to offer further growth potential, says a report by China’s industry body.

Bird’s nest immunity boom? Malaysian industry cooperative sees rebound in Chinese demand


Malaysia’s edible bird’s nest cooperative EBN Kowalit has reported a rebound in sales with Chinese consumers identifying the beauty food with immune health benefits.

Korean botanical boost: Agencies join forces to promotes use of homegrown ingredients for functional foods


South Korea is promoting the cultivation and use of homegrown botanicals – including liquorice, radish and astragalus – to create new functional foods, with officials believing COVID-19 will increase demand for these products.

WATCH: Ayurveda ‘revival’ in India as consumer immunity concerns spike


There is a revival in consumers’ trust of ayurvedic herbs, as well as a spike in the sales of apple cider vinegar in India, as interest in products with purported immunity benefits gather pace amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Agility amid COVID-19: Firms in Philippines adopt e-commerce, consider shifting manufacturing facilities


Some dietary supplement brands have adopted e-commerce or are planning to shift their manufacturing facilities in response to COVID-19, said the Philippines’ dietary supplement association.

E-commerce struggle: Brands with strong pharmacy presence reluctant to make digital shift in Malaysia


Dietary supplement brands which sell through pharmacies are reluctant or finding it difficult to establish their own e-commerce operations, despite the importance of a digital presence in the COVID-19 era, according to the country’s health supplement association.

Piling on the pounds during pandemic: Weight loss driving sales of meal replacements amid India's lockdown


More Indian consumers are turning to meal replacement powder to shed unwanted pounds that piled on after gyms were closed and outdoor movement restricted in the midst of COVID-19, according to a local brand.

From daigou to e-commerce: COVID-19 quickens channel change as Nuchev boosts CBEC efforts


Infant nutrition brand Nuchev says that COVID-19 has increased China consumers’ reliance on online and social commerce for Australian goods and further slowed down daigou sales.

COVID-19 e-commerce effect: Revenue from online supplement sales up 46.83% for China giant BY-HEALTH


E-commerce business has been brisk for BY-HEALTH in the first half of 2020, with revenue from the channel up 46.83% compared to the same period last year.

India’s immune health surge: Nation leads APAC in number of new product launches – new data


India is leading the APAC market with the highest number of new food, drinks and supplements that bear immune system-boosting claims launched in the last five months. Australia and Indonesia ranked second and third.

GALLERY: Immunity Innovation


There has been several new immune health products and ingredients entering the market or are undergoing clinical trials since the COVID-19 pandemic occurred. The following gallery shows the new products that have been launched and the list will be updated accordingly.

Ginseng multivits: Personalised nutrition brand ‘Ori by Imagene Labs’ forays into immune space


Singapore-based personalised nutrition firm Imagene Labs has forayed into the immune health space with a number of new launches, including a ginseng vitamin blend plus a DNA test which looks at one's genetic tendencies for nutritional deficiencies.

Boysenberry boom: Anagenix’s lung health ingredient soars amid COVID-19 pandemic


Anagenix has seen a higher uptake of its lung health boysenberry ingredient BerriQi, which is now also available in powder form, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Probiotics and COVID-19: Hong Kong researchers trialling formula in COVID-19 patients, high-risk and general population


Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) are conducting three clinical studies to assess the effects of a probiotic formula on COVID-19 patients, people at higher-risk of contracting the virus, and the general population.

Going west: India’s ayurvedic ingredient suppliers report higher demand from US and Europe


India’s nutraceutical ingredient suppliers have reported a higher demand for native ayurvedic herbs, such as turmeric and andrographis, especially from the US and Europe, partly due to COVID-19.

Lockdown impact: Grocery stores bolstered NZ supplements sales as pharmacies slumped


Grocery store sales have helped support the strong growth of natural health products sales in New Zealand, as footfall to pharmacies declined during the nation’s COVID-19 lockdown.

Nearly four in 10 Chinese took supplements and TCM during COVID-19 lockdown period: Survey


Nearly four in 10 consumers in China consumed supplements and TCM when the country was under the COVID-19 lockdown in March.

Singapore COVID-19 study: Vitamin B12, D and magnesium supplementation reduces severity in older patients


A cohort study in Singapore has found that the combination of vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin B12 (DMB) could reduce the rate of progression in older patients with Covid-19.

Turmeric tumbles: India’s merchant association says raw material price has dropped 10%


India’s raw turmeric price this year is about 10% lower than last year partly because COVID-19 lockdowns and market closures have led to a surplus, said a major merchant association in India.

Fighting back: Amway India aims to hit 90% of pre-lockdown business by next month


Amway India’s CEO Anshu Budhraja says the firm is hopeful of achieving 80% to 90% of its pre-lockdown business by next month, as the country’s economy seeks to bounce back from COVID-19 pandemic.

WATCH: What’s the potential for nutra products as adjunctives to COVID-19 treatment?


Health authorities and researchers in India and Philippines are testing the efficacy of ayurvedic formulations and melatonin as adjunctives to COVID-19 treatment. 

Sunshine vitamin: FANCL data reveals Vitamin D is most popular supplement during Covid-19


Vitamin D was Japan brand FANCL’s best-selling supplement in April 2020, with sales growing 218% compared to the corresponding period last year.

More bioavailable zinc: India’s national research institute product to be trialled on COVID-19 patients


India’s national research institute, the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM), will conduct a clinical trial on a zinc supplement that it claims has a higher bioavailability to support recovery in COVID-19 patients.

Convenience and simplicity: Sales boost for Singapore supplement subscription service amid Covid-19


A Singapore-based online customised supplement firm says the COVID-19 pandemic has helped consumers overcome scepticism to subscription services in the nutra space, after recording 60% year-on-year boost in sales over the last 30 days.

FoodNavigator Unlocking Innovation Series: New webinar series to focus on post-Covid-19 insights and opportunities


FoodNavigator-Asia will be hosting five webinars as part of a groundbreaking new global series of online events brought to you by the FoodNavigator teams in the Americas, EMEA and Asia.

COVID-19 and nutrient density: DSM sees more fortification demands across dairy, cereals, noodles


More companies in APAC are seeking to increase the amount of micronutrient fortification in their food and beverages products on the back of COVID-19, says DSM.

COVID-19 caution: Chinese botanical suppliers hold back on capacity building despite demand spike


Plant extract companies in China are seeing more demand for immune-related raw materials, but most are adopting a cautious stance when it comes to capacity building due to trade uncertainties brought on by COVID-19.

COVID-19: TCM Lianhua Qingwen speeds up recovery but no effect in preventing conversion to severe cases – two-week RCT


A two-week clinical trial led by renowned Chinese virologist Zhong Nanshan has shown that consuming the botanical TCM product Lianhua Qingwen (LH) capsules and undergoing the standard therapy can speed up recovery in COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 and Ayurveda trial: FMCG giant Dabur India to trial flagship formula on 600 people


Ayurvedic supplement and FMCG giant Dabur India is conducting a three-month clinical trial to test if its chyawanprash formula could help prevent healthy individuals from contracting COVID-19.

New in immunity: Renovatio touts benefits of apple phenolics, quercetin, and sunflower extract combo


Australia’s Renovatio Bioscience has developed a new product that claims to strengthen the immune system using a combination of activated phenolics, quercetin, and sunflower extract.

COVID-19 NPD: India’s research institute develops high protein and fibre foods for patients


An Indian research institute has developed a range of high protein and fibre foods, including cookies, bread, and rusks specially for COVID-19 patients.

Sales triple: Indonesia's start-up YOU says consumer understanding of vitamins’ benefits surging


Indonesia’s gummy supplement start-up, YOU, said sales of its adults’ and kids’ multivitamins have nearly tripled amid the COVID-19 outbreak, as more recognise vitamins as a means of preventive healthcare.

Breaking barriers: Firms say more consumers outside China willing to try TCM amid COVID-19


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a greater willingness to try out traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in regions outside of China, some of the sector’s major players have told us.

300% growth: Toplife and Springleaf introduce new vitamin C products as COVID-19 immunity boost continues


Australian-based Homart Pharmaceuticals is launching three vitamin C products under the Toplife and Springleaf brands to tap on rising demand for immune-related products during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NutraIngredients Immunity Online Series: Check out the speakers at first APAC event focusing on clinical research


Last week we revealed that the NutraIngredients’ teams worldwide were to host the first ever co-ordinated series of webinars looking at immunity, and now we can reveal the stellar line-up for the first APAC event which will focus on clinical research.

COVID-19’s lactoferrin boost: Jatenergy hits record sales and plans to make anti-viral supplement


Australian-listed Jatenergy has revealed record-breaking sales as demand for its lactoferrin dairy products surged in China.

Alternative immune boosters: Aussie online retailer launches Wellgrove’s olive leaf supplements


Australia’s e-commerce platform BuyNatural is working with local olive leaf specialist Wellgrove Health on a range of immunity-boosting supplements for the domestic and China markets to meet increased demand.

Help and hinder: China’s nutra and TCM firms report mixed Q1 financials due to COVID-19 impact


The Q1 financial reports of China’s nutraceutical and TCM firms have shown mixed results due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with TCM firm Yiling Pharma reaping more than 50% growth in profits, while that of BY-HEALTH had shrunk due to disruptions in retail and logistics.

Raise RDA of vitamin C, D: Study urges health authorities to adjust guidance in light of COVID-19


Health authorities should reassess the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of key micronutrients such as vitamin C and D to support the immune system, said a group of researchers.

Trials tribulations due to COVID-19: Movement restrictions and focus on pandemic hit clinical studies


Companies and research institutes are having to put on hold or postpone their non-COVID-19 clinical trials due to movement control orders and public health resources prioritising the fight against COVID-19.

NutraIngredients global teams to host series of immunity-focused webinars


NutraIngredients’ teams worldwide are to host the first ever co-ordinated series of webinars looking at immunity, with a focus on the microbiome, active nutrition, clinical research and botanicals.

Sanofi’s vitamin brand Cenovis reveals best-sellers in China amid COVID-19 sales growth


Cenovis, a vitamin brand under Sanofi Consumer Healthcare, has revealed vitamins B, C, and E as its bestsellers in China.

Regulatory review: China adds CBEC zones, India's task force to stem fake claims


In this round-up, we shine the spotlight on China's new cross-border e-commerce pilot zones and its implications for the supplement industry, India's task force to stem unsupported product claims against COVID-19, and more.

Chocolate balls for immune health: Singapore firm’s new product for kids amid COVID-19


Singapore dietary supplement firm Avida Health will be launching a chocolate ball functional food targeted at improving kids’ immunity amid the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Rethinking risk: Expansion into new markets key to tackle COVID-19 challenges 


Supplement firms need to re-evaluate their attitude towards risk to tap into rising demand, and offset some of the challenges, provided by the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 and TCM: Thailand and Laos embrace China-approved Lianhua Qingwen Capsule product


Thailand and Laos are following China’s footstep in embracing a TCM formula in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blackcurrants for immunity: Vitality Wellness’s new launch amid COVID-19 health demands


New Zealand-based Vitality Wellness has expediated the launch of its immune health supplement made from blackcurrants to meet health demands arising from the COVID-19 outbreak.

COVID-19 vitamin surge: Panic-buying of popular brands in Philippines raises inventory fears


Philippines consumers and pharmacies have been hoarding vitamins, with sales of such items skyrocketing by 10 times since Luzon – the country’s most populous island and where the capital Manila sits went into a lockdown – a local industry body has said.

It’s official: China adds three TCM formula to COVID-19 standard therapy


The Chinese government has officially recognised three TCM formulas as part of itsstandard therapy for COVID-19.

Science shorts: COVID-19 clinical trials, Gencor's fenugreek findings and more


In this round-up, we look at the latest human clinical trials related to COVID-19, Gencor's findings on fenugreek and body strength and more.

Stabilising trade amid COVID-19: Supplements competition to intensify in China with 46 new CBEC zones


China’s addition of 46 cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) pilot zones will lead to the further influx of imported dietary supplements, with the healthy competition between local and imported goods helping to raise the bar for China’s domestic industry, according to a leading industry body.

COVID-19 natural product trial: New curcumin, artemisinin supplement to be tested on patients


A curcumin and artemisinin-based oral spray has been proposed as a treatment for COVID-19 patients and a clinical trial will be conducted, ASX-listed phytocannabinoid firm MGC Pharmaceuticals has revealed.

COVID-19 in Japan: Supplement giants on maintaining manufacturing during state of emergency


Japanese firms such as Nippn, Kirin, Morinaga Milk Industry, Kewpie, Yakult, Eminet, and FANCL have been sharing their experiences of operating in Japan despite the state of emergency in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can honey, omega-3, resistant potato starch help fight COVID-19? Researchers to examine via clinical trials


Researchers from Asia, the Middle East, and the West are now trialling omega-3, honey, and even potato resistant starch, on top of vitamins and zinc, as they race to find products that could contribute to the fight against COVID-19 and its symptoms.

Japan focus: COVID-19’s impact on Yakult, Morinaga’s expansion plans in the spotlight


In this round-up, we look at how Yakult’s sales in China have dipped due to the outbreak of COVID-19, as well as Morinaga milk’s plans to enter new infant formula markets, such as Pakistan.

In the Lupin: Aussie firm sees huge spike in demand for immunity-boosting prebiotic products


Australia-based The Lupin Co has seen a five to six times increase in demand for products such as its prebiotic-rich lupin flakes, flours, protein bars and cereals over the past 12 weeks.

COVID-19 in India: AYUSH Ministry seeks scientific validation of traditional medicines after initial backlash


India’s Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) is aiming to put a stop to false claims for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 by setting up a task force to evaluate products and practices.

Yakult’s China sales hit by COVID-19 impact and Lunar New Year hiatus


Yakult has reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused its business in China to experience a drop in sales in the first two months of the year.

COVID-19 not stopping Indonesian giant Sido Muncul's expansion plans and production rates


Indonesia’s traditional herbal and pharma giant Sido Muncul's market expansion plans will continue despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with the firm revealing that its factory production is running at full force.

Fighting back: Fonterra, Danone, Beingmate join COVID-19 product push for sanitisers, face masks


Nutrition businesses such as Fonterra and Danone are devoting resources into making hygiene products, such as ethanol and face masks, to help meet the exceptionally high demand in light of COVID-19 spread.

Honey probiotic: Meluka Australia unveils new launch and reassures investors over COVID-19 impact


Meluka Australia, the subsidiary of ASX listed Eve Investment, has launched a new product – a Meluka honey and probiotic tonic – said to be the first-of-its-kind in the domestic market.

Nutra firms and Bollywood legend Suniel Shetty unite for ‘WINIndia’ COVID-19 movement


Several Indian nutra firms and organisations – including trade body ENAC – have thrown their weight behind a new wellness initiative for students backed by Bollywood icon Suniel Shetty.

Depleting stocks, longer delivery time: Companies on meeting vitamin C supply amid COVID-19 disruption


The huge demand for vitamin C has sent stocks running low for retailers and the situation is further complicated by longer delivery times and more expensive freight costs.

TCM and COVID-19: China conducting trials to test efficacy and safety of traditional herbal interventions


China is conducting clinical trials to assess the effectiveness and safety of combining traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and conventional Western antiviral medicine in the treatment of patients with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Unproven COVID-19 health claims: China’s crackdown on ads for oral sprays, probiotics and anti-hangover tea


The Chinese authorities have named and shamed a string of fake advertisement, mostly surrounding unproven COVID-19 health claims.

WeChat and live broadcasts: How Herbalife China is maintaining business amid COVID-19


Herbalife China has been using WeChat and live broadcasting to engage its customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transform to survive: MLM firms LifeVantage, Herbalife, Amway reveal strategies for success amid COVID-19 disruptions


The COVID-19 outbreak is calling for MLM businesses, which traditionally rely heavily on face-to-face interaction, to transform its business by adopting new sales channels as social interaction needs to be kept to a minimum.

Slight growth a possibility: China’s health foods body optimistic despite COVID-19 disruptions


China’s import and exports of health foods for this year will remain the same as last year or even see a slight growth despite trade disruptions caused by COVID-19, the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products (CCCMPHIE) has forecasted.

COVID-19 daigou downturn: 70% staff reduction, stores closure, and salary cuts at AuMake


The company has seven AuMake stores and another eight Broadway stores along Australia’s East Coast.

Hot right now: COVID-19 stories most read on our social media


Industry and scientific developments related to COVID-19 were our top-most read stories on the social media over the past month. Some of them include Filippino scientists’ research on antiviral properties of virgin coconut oil and the surge in vitamin C sales.

COVID-19 and nutra research: Where does the industry need to focus its scientific endeavours?


The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a spike in demand for immunity-boosting products, but what scope is there for new and credible research to examine if nutra products have a role to play in helping tackle the crisis?

India’s COVID-19 lockdown: Dabur, Pure Nutrition, and Akay weigh in on economic impacts


India’s three-week lockdown has affected the nutrition and health businesses on multiple fronts, most directly on the production, supply chain, and e-commerce delivery, companies including FMCG giant and ayurvedic medicine specialist Dabur has told us.

Vitamin C and COVID-19: Philippines health authorities to supply supplements to school children


The Philippines health department in the Central Visayas region is buying vitamin C supplements for school children in a bid to boost their immunity in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

India’s COVID-19 lockdown: Coca-Cola, Nestle and more MNCs call for F&B manufacturing to be made ‘essential service’


In the wake of India’s nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19, Coca-Cola India, Nestle India and various other big MNCs in the country have called for F&B manufacturing to be made an ‘essential service’ in order to keep shelves stocked and avoid further panic.

Stop COVID-19 hoarding: Indonesian police and Philippines government order purchase limits


The Indonesian National Police and Philippines Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have both issued orders to limit the purchases of noodles, rice and other staple food items nationwide in hopes of curbing the hoarding and panic-buying induced by the COVID-19 outbreak.

H&H CEO interview: Baby nutrition boom, Swisse’s expansion surge and COVID-19 contingency planning revealed


The CEO of Health and Happiness (H&H) Group has revealed how its baby nutrition products are booming in China and further afield, underlined Swisse’s ambitious international expansion plans, but acknowledged there were some supply chain risks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 lockdown: NZ supplement firms allowed operation if supplying to 'essential' businesses


The New Zealand supplement firms will be allowed to continue operations so long as they supply to 'essential' businesses, such as pharmacies and supermarkets.

Regulatory round-up: S'pore COVID-19 health claims clampdown, South Korea's new rules for functional ingredients and more


In this round-up, we shine the spotlight on Singapore's clampdown on products that claim to have COVID-19 health claims, South Korea's new rules for functional ingredients use, and how the Indian state of Odisha is the first to exercise nutrition budgeting within the country.

Eating right: COVID-19 pumps up sales for India’s protein bread maker


An Indian start-up specialising in making protein bread and cookies saw online sales go up by 15% in mid March, with the firm believing consumers are increasingly making more healthy food choices as COVID-19 continues to spread.

Singapore clamps down on 1000+ e-commerce listings for false COVID-19 health claims


Singapore’s national regulator for health products, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), has removed a significant number of product listings claiming to prevent or treat COVID-19 from local e-commerce platforms.

Over 30 overseas GMP inspections postponed due to COVID-19 travel restrictions: TGA


Travel restriction put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19 has led to more than 30 overseas GMP inspections postponed, Australian regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has revealed.

COVID-19 and industry shutdown: ANZ supplement firms seek clarification on ‘essential services’ status


The dietary supplement industry bodies in both Australia and New Zealand are seeking clarification that the sector is classed as an ‘essential service’, with both countries imposing movement restriction to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Malaysia’s lockdown: Confusion over whether supplement manufacturing is ‘essential service’


There is widespread confusion among Malaysia’s dietary supplement industry as to whether it is considered an essential service and production can continue under the country’s coronavirus lockdown

Immunity innovation: Gencor to study PEA’s immune boosting effects via human trial


Gencor Pacific is embarking on a human trial in Australia to validate the immunity boosting ability of Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) against the backdrop of the rising demand for immunity supplements amid the worldwide spread of COVID-19.

China Focus: COVID-19 and vitamin C sales boost, Sirio Pharma's 'blue-hat' probiotics, and Danone's traceable infant formula


This round-up focuses on the vitamin C sales surge in China due to COVID-19, the addition of three 'blue-hat' probiotics formulation to Sirio Pharma and more.

COVID-19: Opportunities for health supplement firms to communicate immune-boosting role of micronutrients


A panel of science researchers has put up a list of key findings on the role of micronutrients in supporting the immune system, which firms can tap on to educate the consumers in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Export challenge: China’s botanical firms in supply chain battle as global orders rebound for immunity ingredients


The COVID-19 epidemic has led to a rebound in demand for plant extracts with immune-boosting effects, but a China industry expert has warned there are difficulties in exporting the goods due to logistic supply chain problems.

COVID-19 brings strong China online sales for ANZ’s Comvita and AuMake


Australia and New Zealand health foods companies are seeing strong online sales of immune boosting supplements from the China market

PODCAST: The power of Vitamin C - Dr Anitra Carr on intriguing findings and striking the work-family balance


The global outbreak of COVID-19 has led to a new wave of interest in vitamin C and other immunity-boosting ingredients. In our latest NutraChampion podcast we speak to leading specialist Assoc Prof Anitra Carr to separate the fact from fiction.

Coconut and COVID-19: Philippines studying antiviral properties of coconut oil as potential treatment


The Philippines is looking to study virgin coconut oil (VCO) as a potential treatment for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which has since infected more than 80,000 people and killed more than 2,800 worldwide.

COVID-19: China retailers and suppliers report surge in demand for Vitamin C supplements


Chinese e-commerce giant, JD has reported that sales of vitamin C dietary supplements on its platform were up five-fold, after the announcement of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

COVID-19: China, Vietnam, Australia and Singapore caution against fraudulent health claims


Authorities from a raft of countries have stepped out to caution against the advertising of health supplements that claim to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus.

Trend tracker: Infant formula traceability, COVID-19's vitamin frenzy, and functional foods in India


In this round up of industry trends, we look at how Danone has incorporated its infant formula products with a dual-QR code for traceability purpose, how COVID-19 spread has led to a spike in demand for vitamins in Singapore, as well as the trends and...

Strong growth in China but COVID-19 brings uncertainty to demand and supply chain: a2 Milk


The a2 Milk Company said revenue from China was “above expectations” in Jan and Feb, but the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak had brought uncertainty to consumer demand and supply chain.

Coronavirus in Singapore: Vitamin demand jumps five-fold in two weeks for supermarket chain


The coronavirus COVID-19 has sparked a sudden spike in demand for vitamin C and multivitamins in Singapore, according to a major retailer in the city state.

Double threat: Negative outlook for food retail scene as Hong Kong battles coronavirus and protests


Hong Kong’s sales of food retail outlets have dropped 3% to HK$42.8 billion (US$5.5bn) in 2019, compared to HK$44.3 billion (US%5.7bn) in 2018.

China’s direct marketing crackdown hits NuSkin hard; COVID-19 will add insult to injury


Provo, UT-based MLM NuSkin saw year-over-year revenues fall by 10% as a result of the continued regulatory pressure in China. The COVID-19 disease outbreak is expected to depress results even further in the coming year.

China focus: Direct-selling, H&H’s kids nutrition, coronavirus, and GNC in spotlight


This round up provides a glimpse on how direct-selling firms in China are adopting new retail models, how H&H plans to expand its kids nutrition portfolio, the impact of the Covid-19 on businesses, and GNC’s blue-hat products.

‘Completely unsatisfactory results’: Blackmores boss cites unexpected costs and coronavirus for poor performance


Rising costs, unexpected operational challenges and the coronavirus impact has led to Blackmores halving its profits forecast and scrapping its dividend.

Coronavirus problems: Nutrition businesses in China seek return to normality as extended holiday ends


Supplement manufacturers and suppliers in China sought return to normalcy as they resume operations as the extended Chinese New Year holiday – lengthened by the novel coronavirus outbreak – comes to an end.

‘Totally catastrophic’: China’s coronavirus crisis sees global F&B authorities react with varying degrees of caution


The recent coronavirus outbreak originating from animals in China has seen food and beverage authorities and industries worldwide taking steps to prevent spreading or ‘importing’ the virus into their countries – some more aggressively than others.

Coronavirus crisis: Demand for immunity supplements surge amid China outbreak


A number of Chinese health food firms have seen an increase in demand for products related to immunity boosting and respiratory health amid the Wuhan virus outbreak.

Ayurvedic protection? India’s AYUSH ministry draws flak for advocating alternative medicine against Coronavirus


India’s Ministry of AYUSH has attracted criticism from medical experts for suggesting alternative medicines, such as Ayurveda, homoeopathy, and unani practices, could act as immunity booster against the deadly novel coronavirus.

Coronavirus impact: Nutrition retailers hit by drastic cut in China tourist numbers


The ongoing China Coronavirus outbreak has affected a number of nutrition retailers which rely on Chinese tourists as a key revenue stream, with some putting on hold new plans and adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach.

China coronavirus: H&H, Yili, Nestlé donate to support fight against epidemic


Several health and nutrition firms are showing their support for China’s fight against the deadly novel coronavirus in the form of cash, protective outfits, and nutrition products.

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