Dual demand: Singapore’s Proteus Nutrition taps Asia’s vegan and clean trends with algae omega-3 supplements

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Proteus Nutrition’s vegan omega-3 supplements are derived from algae, which is sourced from India ©Proteus Nutrition
Proteus Nutrition’s vegan omega-3 supplements are derived from algae, which is sourced from India ©Proteus Nutrition

Related tags: Singapore, Algae, omega-3, vegan

Singapore-based Proteus Nutrition is hoping to meet the demands of the rising veganism trend and demand for clean products with its vegan omega-3 supplements.

The company’s omega-3 supplements are algae-based and pitched at vegan consumers as well as consumers as well as those who want an alternative to fish sources.

According to Simon Martin, manager at Proteus Nutrition, there was a dual demand for non-fish derived omega-3 oils in Singapore.

Firstly, from vegans who would otherwise be deficient in DHA and EPA since vegan diets contain very little of these two omega-3 oils, and the more common ALA is sparsely converted by the human body to DHA or EPA​.”

DHA and EPA are essential omega-3 fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body, hence vegans have an increased likelihood of deficiency.

Secondly, we are seeing a market from people who want a 'cleaner' source of omega-3 oils with less environmental effect from fish farming, and lower oxidation because of the shorter time from harvesting to processing compared to fish oil extraction, where the omega-3 oils are often a byproduct of fish processing​.”

Both DHA and EPA have a myriad of health benefits, from reducing inflammation, severity of type-2 diabetes, risk of cardiovascular disease as well as mental health benefits.

Two soft gel capsules of Proteus Nutrition’s vegan omega-3 supplement contain 377mg of EPA, and 283mg of DHA.

The company sources its algae from India. Martin explained the oils were extracted via solvent extraction and concentrated in order to balance DHA and EPA, which do not necessarily occur in the desired ratio naturally.

Other ingredients are imported from Europe and China. All ingredients are tested for purity and consistency by third party accredited food testing labs in Singapore.

Localisation

Currently, its supplements are available on its website, as well as gyms islandwide.

In September, the company is expanding into Hong Kong through ATP Personal Training gym outlets, followed by an online sales platform in Hong Kong as well as Malaysia.

It is also looking to export to China once its markets in Singapore and Hong Kong have been established.

The firm was founded in 2017, initially operating as a contract manufacturer producing third party supplements for the retail market.

Earlier this year, it was incorporated as a separate company to formulate and sell its own branded health and fitness supplement products.

The team of four outsources its production to GMP licensed contract manufacturers in Singapore.

According to Martin, the firm was one of the few local company producing health and fitness supplements in Singapore.

Singapore was lacking locally produced health and fitness supplements meaning that almost all supplements have to be transported to Singapore with no post-transportation quality control​. 

“Because of the year-round intense heat and humidity experienced in Singapore, there is a high likelihood that the quality of supplements is degraded faster than normal especially during transportation and storage​.”

Martin explained its current operations were advantageous: “We are a small, local, agile company able to produce small runs of supplements which means we can assure our customers of the freshness of our products​.”

We test all of our ingredients locally so that we know for certain what is in everything that we sell​.

With our supplements, we only design and formulate products based on scientific evidence, rather than for the sake of following trends or chasing margins. We only want to produce and sell products with a proven benefit for the consumer at the same time as educating people regarding what they should take and why​.”

The firm is set to launch its vegan protein powder this year, and is working on more product launches in the next three to 18 months.

These will be rolled out in Singapore and Hong Kong, followed by expansion throughout Asia pending licensing approvals.

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