Jesse Gu, head of sales and marketing at BYHEALTH International told NutraIngredients-Asia that it was mainly the night owls – aka the 熬夜党 in Chinese – buying these products.
“Statistics have shown that skin health products consist of 53 per cent of the shopping habits of this demographic, followed by liver protection products.
“This is one of the reasons why our milk thistle is the best-selling products from the international range,” she said, adding that the milk thistle products were especially popular among office workers in their 20s to 50s.
Gu said that the product was of high potency, containing three grams of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) from dry seed and 100mg of seed extract dry concentrate per tablet.
The product also contains 500mg of turmeric and 100mg of inositol per tablet.
Sleep Pro, which was only launched in the middle of this year, has now become the second bestseller, only behind milk thistle in the firm's international product range.
“Amongst Chinese consumers, sleep enhancement is one of the trending categories in the VDS industry in China at the moment.
"We found that consumers who like to purchase our milk thistle product are consumers who usually work really hard, they want to also protect their liver and tend to have sleeping problems as well,” she said.
As such, the company observed that consumers who have purchased Sleep Pro were also those who have purchased the milk thistle product.
Sleep Pro comes in a dissolvable strip.
Each dissolvable strip contains three mg of melatonin and is made using a patented fast melt technology known as Flashnutri, which is said to allow the product to melt in three seconds.
“Current melatonin products available in the market are mainly in capsule or spray formats. Our aim is to design a product with enhanced bioavailability and absorption.
“This product is really thin; you can carry it anywhere you want. Before you go to bed, you can just put one strip in your mouth which will melt in three seconds,” she said, adding that the product, which has a thickness of 60 microns, was thinner than cicada wing which has a thickness of 120 microns.
The company’s product evaluation involving 60 individuals over seven days found that 75 per cent of the participants could fall asleep in 20 minutes, 88 per cent reported a longer period of deep sleep, and 90 per cent said that they woke up not feeling groggy.
Sleep Pro is currently sold only in China.
During this year's Double 11, BYHEALTH retained its top spot on Alibaba and JD’s VDS charts in China. Sales of RMB$600m (US$93.9m) were achieved, which was 38.3 per cent more than last year.
“BYHEALTH International range has achieved amazing results as well, with about 200 per cent yoy growth in GMV as compared to last year’s Double 11,” she said.
There are currently 10 to 15 SKUs in the BYHEALTH international range, with the products manufactured in the United States or Australia.
These products are sold into China via cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) through Tmall, JD, and are also stocked in Chemist Warehouse outlets in China.
Gu revealed that about 70 per cent of the international products sales came from China – making China a key focus at the moment.
The remaining sales are from Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore – which the brand only entered in August this year.
In contrast to China, the more popular products in Hong Kong are its collagen gummies and iron sachet powder.
Gu said that BYHEALTH International would be exploring immune, cardiovascular, and men’s health as part of its new product development.
“Interestingly, categories such as immune enhancement and cardiovascular protection have also increased by around 16 per cent in the past year,” she said.
BYHEALTH recently entered into a partnership with UK company Provexis which has developed a proprietary heart health functional food ingredient known as Fruitflow.
Under the agreement, BYHEALTH would manufacture, market, and sell functional food and dietary supplements containing the ingredient in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Australia.
The agreement will take full effect from Jan 1, 2023.