The New Zealand-based ingredient supplier said it has worked with more than 10 new clients between February and May as a result of heightened interest.
Most of the new deals are coming from Asia such as Taiwan, China, and South Korea, with a handful from the US and Europe.
“BerriQi was originally marketed to prevent pollution damaging the lungs. But since COVID-19 came and the fact that it does affect the lungs, people are thinking of it as a possible solution to help them with the breathing difficulties and repairing the scarred lungs from the COVID-19 disease,” said CEO Chris Johnson.
Pre-clinical in vitro and in vivo research have shown that the ingredient could reduce scar tissue deposits – a result of the body fighting against inflammation – on the lungs.
In Asia, products containing the ingredient are mostly targeted at young children and families.
Johnson noted that there was also interest from young working women who have disposable income to purchase supplements for self-care.
One of the latest products containing BerriQi is a kids’ liquid supplement under the brand JoyLiving (TianleYuan).
The apple and boysenberry juice claims to reduce the damage in lungs caused by pollution and second-hand smoking, as well as maintain a healthy respiration system with its polyphenols, anthocyanins, and ellagic acid and tannin content.
Other product brands containing BerriQi include Health Balance from South Korea.
Aside from BerriQi, the firm also saw a greater uptake in Livaux, an ingredient made from non-GMO New Zealand Gold kiwifruit.
Marketing director Elizabeth Tay said this was because the gold kiwifruit has shown to reduce symptoms of cold and flu in children and elderly.
A human clinical trial by Ansell et al also showed that Livaux can reduce inflammation and improve gut microbiota composition.
Tay said that the ingredient which came in powder form, could be used in capsules, tablets, chewable, and sachet, with one client in the US even incorporating it into cookies.
Johnson, on the other hand, said that the sales growth of the two ingredients was between the range of 150% to 200% over the last two years.
The boysenberry-based ingredient previously existed only in ready-to-drink liquid and concentrates, but is now also available in powder form.
Johnson said that this was in response to customers’ demands for more convenience.
“It is more convenient for the brands. The BerriQi concentrate can be shelf-stable, if we are going to put it in a drink or a shot, it will require cold-chain distribution, and it is more difficult to distribute,” he said.
There is also potential to explore the ingredient use for asthma and chronic lung diseases, said Tay.
Moving forward, developing differentiated ingredients is key in meeting the brands’ demand for immune-health product innovation.
“The brands are looking for differentiated ingredients to formulate with. Today, a vitamin C product is just that, the consumers are looking for a holistic approach to immunity,” Johnson said.
In response to rising cases of diabetes in Asia, the company will also launch a new ingredient for blood glucose management.