The outfit, which is present across South East Asia, also operates in the Greater China region under the name Mannings. Both Guardian and Mannings are part of the Dairy Farm Group.
Over the years, the retail chain has built up its in-house supplement portfolio, consisting of multivitamin and minerals, omega-3 fish oil soft gels, and melatonin tablets.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, James Mccoy, commercial director at Guardian, said there were plans to continue expanding the in-house supplement range based on prevailing consumption trends.
In the first 10 months of this year, the retail chain saw its vitamin, minerals, and supplement (VMS) category across all brands grew at a low-double digit.
However, a nearly triple digit growth was seen in the immune supplement sub-category, Mccoy revealed.
Due to less panic-buying and consumers stockpiling, the purchase of immune supplements has recently started to dip, but he believes that the interest in immune supplements will continue.
“Immunity is a big consumer trend…It’s the biggest-selling category even before COVID-19, we just sold more since COVID-19 came. The top products are the vitamin C, D and the multivitamins.”
Consumers’ interest in probiotics is another trend that will continue, he said.
“That trend has been here for a while, but it has accelerated in the last six months more quickly,” Mccoy said.
In Singapore, the firm’s largest supplements market, consumers are also buying more joint and heart health related products.
“In Singapore, the trend around joint and heart health will continue as well, driven by the ageing population and that people are more physically active as a result of COVID-19,” he said, adding that females in their 30s to 50s made up the core consumer group.
These trends will provide a blueprint for the company in expanding its in-house supplement range, and Mccoy said that the process of developing new supplements centred around joint, heart health and probiotics were underway.
“The process is underway, but we can’t give a fixed timeline on product launch, other than we are developing accordingly.
“The trends we see in Singapore are fairly consistent across all markets in the rest of SEA and NEA. The intention is we leverage that and make sure we have developed a product that fits all of our markets,” he said.
Why in-house brand?
Mccoy believes that developing and selling its own line of supplements is beneficial for building Guardian’s brand credibility.
“There are many benefits. It enhances the brand and the brand credibility and the two go hand-in-hand. It also offers our customers better value,” he said.
As a retailer, the company can also leverage on reams of retail data to identify its own product development priorities.
“One of the amazing things about retail is this reams and reams of available data on what the consumers are buying, when they are buying it, which stores they are buying it from, how much they are buying it for to drive the product development and priorities for our own brand.”
For its own line of products, its internal team will decide on the product specifications and formulations which will then be handed over to a contract manufacturer for production.