The company introduced two products from its parent company Suntory into Singapore in December and August last year, namely 1) DHA & EPA + Sesamin EX and 2) Sesamin EX.
The two products, which have been sold in Japan for several years, were introduced to the Singapore market via the D2C channel.
Both products contain sesamin, an antioxidant found in sesame seeds but is present in low amounts – less than one per cent of each seed.
"Sesamin is a very rare ingredient that is found in sesame seeds. It is supported by more than 30 years of research by Suntory and we found that it is a very strong antioxidant," Dr. Jack Wong, senior manager, product planning and scientific communication, Brand’s Suntory told NutraIngredients-Asia.
Sesamin EX, introduced in last August, is designed to maintain liver function, improve sleep quality, reduce fatigue and oxidative stress, and support youthfulness.
Each capsule contains 10mg of sesamin, 2mg of tocotrienol, and 55mg of vitamin E.
On the other hand, DHA & EPA + Sesamin EX, launched in December, contains 300mg of DHA, 100mg of EPA, on top of 10mg of sesamin, and 55mg of vitamin E.
The two products had exceeded sales expectation since they were launched, Dr. Wong said.
“Sesamin EX is meant for improving sleep and overall general health. With the addition of DHA and EPA, the other product [DHA & EPA + Sesamin EX] is beneficial for cardiovascular and brain health,” said Dr. Wong who is also a neuroscientist by training.
Best known for its Essence of Chicken tonic, Brand’s Suntory has been expanding its cognitive health supplement range, with MEMO+ – a tablet product – launched in Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand within a few months’ time last year.
MEMO+ contains ProBeptigen, a hydrolysed chicken extract derived from the company’s proprietary technology. The ingredient is meant for improving brain performance. An eight-week trial has found that the supplement could improve verbal and spatial working memory in middle-aged individuals under perceived stress.
Dr. Wong said that it was mostly the working adults buying the product for their own use or for their elderly parents.
“MEMO+ is on helping brain performance and brain function. We have a couple of clinical studies to show that it helps brain performance, and this is solely due to the key ingredient ProBeptigen.
“We have received overwhelming responses and its sales performance has exceeded our expectations,” he said, with Taiwan the biggest market for this product.
Both Sesamin EX products and MEMO+ are sold via the D2C channel – which the company believes is a suitable channel for selling tablets and soft gel capsule products.
“Suntory started the D2C model in 2001. We started to have more focus on this model in the South East Asia about five years ago," Dr. Wong said.
The D2C model includes telemarketing and the company's same name online store.
Some of the products sold on the D2C channels are also sold in third-party e-commerce platforms such as Lazada and Shopee but not in offline retail – where its flagship product Essence of Chicken is widely sold.
“Our D2C channel focuses more on tablets and soft gel capsule products.
“We see that the growth potential in the D2C model is not just about providing products, but also about providing services and information. These kinds of products [tablets and soft gel capsules] are therefore more suitable for sale in the D2C channels. This is based on our observation and understanding of consumer trends,” he said.
A reason is because the D2C model will allow the company to better explain the uses and benefits of the products to the consumers.
Aside from brain health, the company also sells tablet and capsule supplements for supporting liver, cardiovascular, skin, and eye health on its D2C channel.
In last year’s Double 11 online shopping festival, Brand’s Suntory ranked third on Shopee’s list of bestselling health care brands in South East Asia.
Elsewhere on Lazada, it was listed as one of the most popular health and nutrition brands in the region, alongside Abbott’s Ensure and the brand Certainty.
The company is constantly on the lookout for new ingredients, especially those that are developed in-house for its new product formulation.
“We are constantly on the lookout for scientifically proven ingredients, especially those that are developed in-house by ourselves to address brain health concerns that our consumers are facing,” Dr. Wong said.