Supplier focus: Top 10 most-read supplier stories of 2020

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

See the 10 most-read supplier stories of 2020.
See the 10 most-read supplier stories of 2020.

Related tags Gencor Dsm TurtleTree Labs

See our top 10 most read supplier stories of 2020, featuring Gencor, TurtleTree Labs, and DSM.
COVID-19: China retailers and suppliers reported surge in demand for Vitamin C supplements

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

Sales of health products including vitamin C effervescent tablets, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) brand Banlangen, and Xiao Chaihu (herbal formula) saw big increases.

These supplements are used to help prevent fever, cold, and other respiratory symptoms.

JD said the virus outbreak was the cause of the surge consumption, and its higher online sales was attributed to consumers preferring to order delivery online instead of going to supermarket to purchase products.

Coronavirus crisis: Demand for immunity supplements surged amid China outbreak

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

While the novel coronavirus had led to a sharp rise in the demand for face masks, hand sanitizers, some supplement firms said demand for some of their products had increased too.

At Chinese firm Angel Yeast, demand for glucan, lactoferrin, selenium-enriched yeast had gone up three-fold.

The firm’s overseas business director Jimmy Fu said in response to NutraIngredients-Asia’s​ queries that products that boost the immunity or prevent upper respiratory tract infection were in high demand.

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

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

A check on a number of APAC dietary supplement retailers’ websites on April 8 showed that several vitamin C brands were sold out.

For example, on Watsons Singapore’s website​, products such as Enervon vitamin C tab, DHC sustained released vitamin C tablets, and Redoxon are sold out.

On iHerb Malaysia’s website​, the same case applies to Mason Natural’s vitamin C 500mg tablets and Life Extension’s buffered vitamin C powder. 

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

Gencor Pacific has embarked 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.

The trial had taken place during the winter season in Australia.

“SARS, MERS, swine flu, and the current coronavirus…These kinds of virus infections which are closely related to flu are not going to go away,”​ the company’s CEO, R. V. Venkatesh told NutraIngredients-Asia.

“The current situation shows that there is a very huge need to conduct research in this the area of immune boosting ingredients, not only with PEA, but also the other ingredients,” ​he said, giving the examples of elderberry, vitaminc C, and beta-glucan.

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

Supplement manufacturers and suppliers in China had sought return to normalcy​, as they began resuming operations with the extended Chinese New Year holiday – lengthened by the novel coronavirus outbreak – came to an end.

Examples included Lonza which resumed production of its L-carnitine at Guangdong on Feb 10, while DSM said its large-scale sites had been fully operational. 

Lonza said the epidemic had required the company to await approval from the authorities to recommence operation.

Its other site for producing nutrition capsule at Suzhou had earlier resumed operation on Jan 30, head of global marketing communications, Lonza Nutritional Ingredients, Aparna Parikh, said in response to queries from NutraIngredients-Asia.

Lab-grown breast milk: Singapore’s TurtleTree Labs expects to launch products in 2021

A Singapore start-up is aiming to launch lab-grown breast milk by next year and is seeking to work with major formula brands​ to deliver the “closest thing to real mothers’ breast milk”.

TurtleTree Labs’ technology utilises stem cells from volunteers, which are then used to create mammary glands that can lactate. The firm also uses the same technology to produce cow’s milk, as reported by FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Currently the majority of our volunteers are from Singapore. We are lucky that the diverse population provides us with a wide variety of milk​,” said the firm’s chief strategy officer Max Rye.

Although the firm started with bovine milk, they moved into human breast milk for good reasons.

Spice for sleep: Akay’s patented black cumin ingredient launched in the US

Indian functional spice supplier Akay Natural Ingredients’ patented black cumin (nigella sativa) sleep aid ingredient has entered the US market.

The “spiceuticals” company focuses on developing kitchen spices with functional health benefits into health beneficial ingredients.

The company secured a US patent​ for its thymoquinone-enriched black cumin oil, sold via the tradename BlaQmax. The ingredient, available in the form of liquid and powder, was also approved for making the functional claim of treating “anxiety, stress, and sleep disorder without affecting memory” in the US.  

Chief marketing officer Emmanuel Nambusseril told NutraIngredients-Asia ​that three US retailers had already expressed interest in incorporating BlaQmax into finished nutraceutical products and one of the retailers had launched its product under its in-house brand.

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

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

The company said customers have been requesting for clinically proven ingredients such as vitamins and lipids for their new product lines.

The trend had happened across developed North Asian markets as well as in South East Asian countries such as Vietnam.

In its Q1 2020 results, DSM reported a 4% sales growth for its nutrition business and estimated a slight increase of about 1% in sales from COVID-19.

OptiBiotix said weight management product sales soared and Australia next on the expansion list

Optibiotix said sales of its flagship weight management product, Optibiome, had increased by more than 2500% year-on-year,​ with Australia the latest market in its ambitious expansion plans.

The UK-based firm entered into an agreement with Australia’s OptiPharm for the use of its OptiBiome ingredient.

OptiPharm owns the flagship weight management brand, Optislim, with products ranging from shakes, soups, and bars and are offered as total (very low calorie diet) or partial (low calorie diet) meal replacements.

Last year, Optibiotix won the highly coveted NutraIngredients-Asia awards​ for its SlimBiome Medical ingredient. OptiBiome is an alternative trademark to SlimBiome, used in countries where an implied health claim cannot be made.

Gencor’s PEA ingredient gained TGA approval, end product entered Australian market earlier this year

Gencor had gained the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approval for its palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) for use as an active ingredient in listed medicines in Australia.

With the approval, the PEA ingredient had been added to the Australian Register of Therapeutic Substances and can claim health benefits in the area of joint care and alleviating bodily pains.

The firm will enjoy a two-year exclusivity​ in Australia for selling of the ingredient, until Dec 2021.

The ingredient is commercially available under the tradename Levagen and Levagen+. The former is a standard PEA, while the latter is the cold water dispersible and bioavailable form of Levagen developed by Gencor’s sister company Pharmako Biotechnologies. 

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