Vitafoods Asia 2022

Lack of competition? Japanese firm finds opportunities in overseas hair growth supplement market

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

A woman brushing her hair. © Getty Images
A woman brushing her hair. © Getty Images

Related tags Toei Shinyaku hair growth

A Japanese firm is introducing its hair growth supplement – a category which it deems as a less competitive category – in overseas markets including South East Asia.

Toei Shinyaku specialises in developing health supplements containing King Agaricus Brasiliensis KA21 as the active ingredient.

The Brazil-outdoor grown mushroom is said to contain a higher amount of beta-glucan, vitamin D, calcium, and copper.

Two years ago, the firm took home the NutraIngredients-Asia Award 2020 Product of the Year (Botanical)​ with King Agaricus 100 – a product which claims to boost immunity, mitigate side-effects of chemotherapy, aid liver and heart health, as well as reduce fatigue.

We recently caught up with Akitomo Motoi, president of the firm at Vitafoods Asia held in Bangkok between October 5 and 7.

At the tradeshow, the firm showcased its hair growth supplement marketed as BeRoot – a product which it has been selling in Japan since 2011.


“There is not much market competition in the hair growth supplement category,” ​Motoi said, on the reason for focusing on this product when it comes to overseas business expansion.

Within South East Asia, the firm has partnered Singapore firm BioEsque Medical in selling BeRoot’s formula under the brand Kenko this year.

BeRoot is also sold in Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, and England.

Aside from King Agaricus Brasiliensis KA21, the product also contains a patented formula consisting of capsaicin from chili and isoflavones from soybeans. 

Japanese brand in SEA

One of the reasons for targeting SEA is due to the strong reputation of Japanese brands, a growing population, as well as a higher GDP in the region, said Motoi.

Aside from Singapore, the firm has been exporting King Agaricus 100 to Vietnam for the past six to seven years.

At the tradeshow, Motoi said that the firm was keen to work with distributors in introducing its products to the Thai and Filipino markets, on top of South Korea and China.

Last year, 95 per cent of the company’s sales revenue came from the domestic market, with three to five per cent of the remaining revenue coming from the overseas markets. 

Scientific studies

Motoi said that BeRoot worked by improving hair growth while reducing hair loss at the same time.

“The product works by increasing the blood level of insulin-like growth factor IGF-1 during the hair growth cycle,” ​Motoi explained.

IGF-1 is a growth hormone that decreases with age.

“If IGF-1 level is low, then hair growth will be low as well. IGF-1 also decreases with age,” ​Motoi added. 

Findings of an open-label study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms​ showed improvements in hair loss, hair greying, and fatigue after 12 weeks of supplementation.

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