Milk innovation in Vietnam: Vitamin K2 fortification gains steam, but calcium and vitamin D still most popular

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Most of the new vitamin k2 fortified dairy products launched in APAC over the last five years took place in Vietnam. ©Getty Images
Most of the new vitamin k2 fortified dairy products launched in APAC over the last five years took place in Vietnam. ©Getty Images

Related tags Vietnam Vitamin Milk

Milk companies in Vietnam are increasingly turning to functional milk product development as the market competition intensifies, with vitamin k2 fortification becoming more common than before, data from Mintel has shown.

While vitamin K2 is on the rise, calcium and vitamin D remain the most popular fortification nutrients for bone health products, said the market research firm.

Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin which has shown to benefit the heart​ and bones.

Vietnamese milk producers are now responding to latest trends around the world to address market competition and changing consumption trends, Michelle Teodoro, associate director of Food Science at Mintel Food and Drink said in response to queries from NutraIngredients-Asia.

“Looking ahead, the milk market in Vietnam is forecast to decline at 10.1% CAGR in value over 2017 to 2022, to reach VDN$43.92 bn in 2021.

“This decline will be due to changes in consumption trends and competitive pressure among local companies,” ​Teodoro said.

Thus, companies are turning to functional, alternative milk products, fortified, premium, organic, and A2 milk to woo consumers.

Of which, vitamin or mineral fortified milk product launches “would continue to be an indispensable in the milk market”,​ since insufficient micronutrient intake remained a major public health concern at every life stage in Vietnam, she said.

While calcium and vitamin D remain the most popular fortification nutrient for bone health products, she said that vitamin K2 was becoming increasingly popular.

Citing Mintel Global New Products Database, she said that there was only a handful of vitamin k2 fortified dairy launches across APAC, with most of these launched in Vietnam over the last five years. These products mostly claimed height development benefits.

Norwegian vitamin K2 specialist Kappa Biosciences previously also told us that about two-thirds of its vitamin K2 sales were for dairy applications​ in Vietnam, which was uncommon in other countries.  

Who’s doing what?

VPMilk Grow+ vitamin k2 milk
VPMilk's Grow + liquid milk

Last July, Abbott launched its new PediaSure with arginine and natural vitamin K2. The company said Vietnam was the first Asian country to launch the product.Some prominent vitamin K2 milk producers include Abbott with an enhanced formulation of Pediasure.

It said that vitamin K2 could “support longer and stronger bone growth”,​ in turn help to address stunting and promote catch-up growth in early childhood.

According to Abbott’s Nutrition R&D Center’s director of research and development Dr Yen Ling Low, natural vitamin K2 could help build stronger bones by delivering and binding calcium to the bones.

“Natural vitamin K2, a unique form of vitamin K, is more effective than vitamin K1 commonly used in other formulas. Therefore, new PediaSure is added with arginine and natural vitamin K2 and is scientifically designed to help bones grow longer and stronger to further support catch-up growth,”​ Low said.

Others include local producer VPMilk with its Grow+ liquid milk for toddlers age one and above. The product contains vitamin K2, K1, D3, phosphorus, as well as omega-6 for brain development.

Its other vitamin K2-MK7 fortified milk, the IQLac Pro Grow+

VPMilk IQLac vitamin k2
VPMilk's IQLac Pro Grow+

, on the other hand, is for toddlers three years and older.

Another local dairy company, IDP, has also launched a malt drink fortified with vitamin K2 under the brand Lif Kun.

For seniors  

Local Vietnamese producer NutiFood on the other hand, has found opportunities in the vitamin K2 elderly milk market.

Its products, the “NutiFood NuCalci Diamond Nutritious Milk Powder for Strong Bones” and “NuCalci and NuCalci Gold” claim to benefit bone and heart health.

The latter is also specially for women at the pre and menopause stage.


Nutifood NuCalci
NutiFood NuCalci Diamond Nutritious Milk Powder

Besides benefiting bone health in children and elderly, companies can also explore other opportunities for using vitamin K2.

This includes incorporating it for other health benefits, such as weight management and cardiovascular diseases, according to Teodoro.

“In addition to dairy product already having a strong associated with nutrition, milk companies could position their products with this additional functions to further premiumise or differentiate their products from competitors.”

She added that more could be done on increasing the understanding of vitamin k2.

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