Functional gummy growth: China’s BUFFX gears up for new product launches with ambitious US$15m sales goal

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

BUFFX's sleep supplement containing GABA is the top selling product in the ‘sleep’ category on Tmall  ©BUFFX
BUFFX's sleep supplement containing GABA is the top selling product in the ‘sleep’ category on Tmall ©BUFFX

Related tags: China, Supplements, Gummy

China’s functional food start-up BUFFX is gearing up to launch 16 new products as part of its target to achieve RMB100 million (US$15m) in sales this year.

BUFFX first entered the market in late 2020, with seven gummy supplements, targeting energy, sleep, eye, immunity, digestion and liver health.

Its sleep supplement containing GABA has been the top selling product in the ‘sleep’ category on e-commerce site Tmall since October 2020.

In the first two months of launch, BUFFX achieved RMB6million (US$922,000) in sales.

Some of the new products planned for this year include a calcium supplement for people who work out, collagen supplement for beauty purposes, and vitamins for general wellness.

Made for consumers

According to CEO Kang Le: “Expanding the number of categories is our most important strategy this year​.”

He conceptualised the idea of BUFFX back in April 2020, before officially launching in September 2020.

The company takes a consumer-centric approach in NPD. It develops products according to consumers’ feedback, as “products based on consumer demand will naturally sell better​.”

For example, BUFFX uses a method called AB test when designing its packaging. A widely used marketing tool, AB test is the process of comparing two versions of a product to consumers to identify which product performs better.

The taste, price and colour of the gummies are also suggested by consumers during the testing stage.

The products developed have to follow the principle of safety, functional, healthy and yummy​,” Kang told NutraIngredients-Asia.

While each of these are important, Kang said taste was still key to Chinese consumers.

In China, many functional foods are still not tasty enough to eat on a regular basis, so that may be the biggest difference between us and other functional food products in the market​.”

He believes its gummy supplements are more palatable compared to capsule or tablet formats, and help encourage regular consumption.

BUFFX is mainly targeting the younger consumers in China.

China has a rare pre-figurative culture where the elderly are learning from the young, which is different compared to elsewhere in the world where older persons passed on the knowledge to younger members of the society,

“In China, Generation Z has become the KOL of social behaviour, and consumer goods brands targeted at the young are welcomed by all generations in China​.”

Kang himself used to work at Douyin (Tik Tok), and the members of his team come from major e-commerce and FMCG firms such as Netease Yanxuan, P&G and Unilever, bringing with them extensive consumer knowledge.

Sales and future plans

In China, BUFFX products are sold on most major e-commerce sites including Tmall, JD.com, Pinduoduo, Douyin and Xiao Hong Shu.

Offline, the supplements are available in more than 3,000 stores such as convenience stores and supermarkets. The company aims to enter more offline channels this year.

BUFFX manufactures its products in China, and sources its ingredients globally, for instance, white kidney bean extract from US, and black ginger extract from Thailand.

The company is in the midst of setting up its R&D center in Hangzhou, China, and exploring the South East Asian market this year, with hopes to work with distributors.

BUFFX has completed three rounds of financing (angel, pre-A, A series) amounting to about RMB100 million and will soon enter series B.

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