The five areas of immunity, digestion, healthy longevity, mobility support, and beauty benefits.
To do so, its R&D team is working on advanced pre-clinical models the help identify ingredients and ingredient combinations in formulating these new products.
The company, which is listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, outlined its R&D pipeline in its 2021 Sustainability Report which it released soon after announcing its FY2022 financial results.
In addition, it is also conducting human studies on formulations designed to support consumers who experience urinary tract infections, complaints related to osteoarthritis, high cholesterol, neurocognitive functions and mood.
Last year, the company launched 73 new supplement products, up from 65 in 2020. The largest growth in new product development came from its baby nutrition and care portfolio, where 29 new products were launched, as compared to three in 2020.
These new products ranged from new dosage formats, such as its adult gummy range, ingredient sustainability leading to the launch of Swisse Earth, halal-certification for four Swisse products, and the rise of veganism, and demands for liver care, stress and mood products.
Immunity is indeed a key area for new product innovation.
Plant-based here to stay?
The company will be introducing its vegan supplements into more markets this year, especially in the South East Asian markets.
An example of its vegan supplement is a beauty-from-within product known as Vegan Collagen Builder in Australia and Vegan Vita-Skin in Singapore.
Launched last year, the company will be introducing the product – which is both vegan and halal certified into more markets this year.
Claiming to support collagen formation, skin repair, and regeneration, antioxidant, the tablet product contains biotin, nicotinamide, vitamin C, E, calcium, manganese, zinc, glycine, proline, grape seed, and lysine hydrochloride.
“While a number of our existing products within our Swisse range were already plant-based and/ or vegan, in 2021, we decided to focus on creating a wider innovation pipeline of vegan supplements targeted at South-East Asian (SEA) markets.
“We anticipated that the burgeoning interest among consumers in sustainability across SEA would spur demand for such supplements.
“We’re also planning to launch a broader range of vegan supplements targeting other specific consumer health and beauty needs in 2022,” the company said in the sustainability report.
Last year, 31 per cent of H&H Group’s supplement products were plant-based and/or vegan.
‘Plant-based’ refers to products containing ingredients that are only sourced from plants, including algae. The term can also refer to products that are predominantly made of ingredients of plant origin.
‘Vegan’ are products that do not contain animal-based ingredients or animal-by products, such as eggs, milk, and honey.
Citing data from Euromonitor, the company pointed out that most consumers across the globe – 42 per cent of them said that they do not follow a strict vegan or vegetarian diet, although they do restrict themselves from certain animal-based products.
In contrast, only four per cent identified as vegans and 6.4 per cent identified as vegetarians.
Liver health growing in China
On the other hand, the company noted the rising awareness and demand for liver health supplements in China – which led to the launch of Swisse Plus Liver Detox Tonic & Cleanse last year.
This is a tablet product that claims to maintain natural liver cleansing and detoxification processes. It contains the extracts of turmeric, artichoke, licorice, and milk thistle fruit.
“In mainland China, consumers are particularly concerned about liver health. Peking University People’s Hospital has reported that liver cancer is estimated to be within the top four malignant tumour cases in China and is the type of cancer with the second highest fatality rate. Considering the high mortality rate, early prevention is crucial to local consumers.
“In the lead-up to this launch [of Swisse Plus Liver Detox Tonic & Cleanse], we conducted a pre-clinical study on anti-ageing and liver detoxification, to ensure we could deliver a high quality, efficacious product for our consumers,” the company said.
Citing data from JD.com’s health platform, it said that the overall liver care product category’s CAGR had shot up by 64 per cent between 2017 and 2020.
The trend was also reported by China’s health foods giant BYHEALTH.
The company told us that its milk thistle supplement – known for liver health benefits – was its bestseller from its international product range during last year’s Double 11 sales in China.
According to Jesse Gu, head of sales and marketing at BYHEALTH International, liver health supplements were highly sought by consumers who often stayed up late.