SEA focus: Blackmores and Singapore's COVID-19 study, Tipco on healthier beverages, Malaysia regulatory updates

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

A map of Southeast Asia. © Getty Images
A map of Southeast Asia. © Getty Images

Related tags Blackmores Tipco AMILI Thai Union South east asia

This round-up on developments in Southeast Asia include Blackmore's largest ever single product donation for supporting a COVID-19 clinical research in Singapore, Tipco's assessment of the healthier beverages market, and Malaysian authority's proposed alternative method for validating active ingredients claimed on traditional medicines and health supplements.
COVID-19 and supplements: Blackmores made largest-ever single product donation for study on zinc combo

Blackmores has made its largest-ever single product donation to support clinical research for a COVID-19 related trial involving migrant workers in Singapore.

The research will be using two different products, one containing a combination of zinc 40mg, vitamin C 250mg, vitamin E 200IU, and copper 1mg, and a second product containing solely vitamin C 250mg.

The Australian firm donated 92,000 individual doses of the two products to the randomised trial conducted by Singapore’ National University Hospital.  

Drink your nutrients: Tipco highlights vegetable juices and herb-infused drinks as trending beverage options

Thai juice giant Tipco believes that consumers are turning to beverages as a tasty yet convenient means of ‘drinking’ in additional nutrients, leading to a rise in popularity of items such as vegetable juices and herb-infused drinks.

Some of its popular products include its vegetable juices ABC – comprising of apples, beetroots, and carrots – as well as mixed veggie products using beetroot or pumpkin or tomato as the base.

This is especially the case seen in South Korea, where the firm’s green kale juice product under the Tipco Everyday range is its top seller in the market, said Tipco Export Manager Preecha Chaicharncheep.

Validating active ingredients: Malaysian regulator conducts public consultation on testing

Malaysia’s regulator is conducting a public consultation on how manufacturers of traditional medicines and health supplements could validate the amount of active ingredients claimed on the product label.

This includes potentially using an alternative method to the conventional quantitative assay tests and the circumstances in which it could be used.

According to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), the alternative method is Quantification By Input (QBI) and could be used when it is not feasible to conduct the quantitative assay test.

Stem sells: Kale by-products could be turned into prebiotics by Singapore partnership

Researchers from the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and precision gut microbiome firm AMILI hope to turn unwanted kale stems into prebiotics products.

The plan is to put the kale stems under a drying and milling process to transform into a powder, before testing and product development iterations are conducted in AMILI’s lab at the Singapore Science Park.

Powdered kale stems have been found to be powerful catalysts for the growth of Bifidobacterium​ and Lactobacillus​ bacteria species. AMILI plans to incorporate the prebiotic into its next generation of gut health supplements.

Diversifying sources: Global seafood firm Thai Union on rationale for microalgae omega-3 strategy

Seafood giant Thai Union is venturing into the microalgae omega-3 ingredient business, on top of its existing tuna oil-based omega-3 portfolio. 

This move is part of the company’s strategies in diversifying its ingredient business and meeting market demand for vegan- and vegetarian- friendly omega 3.

Recently, it also invested CAD$10m (USD$7.7m) in Canada’s sustainable, plant-based nutritional and nutraceutical ingredients firm Mara Renewables Corporation (Mara).

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