Expansion push: South Korean postbiotic supplier seeks overseas entry after domestic boom
Bereum is behind the postbiotic ingredient EF-2001 isolated from the gut of a healthy infant as well as other postbiotics, namely L. plantarum, L. casei, and L. acidophilus isolated from kimchi and grape wine.
It also develops its own finished products, including powder sachet TERA Biotics 1, omega-3 postbiotics that is sold online, microbiome mask sheet, and pet supplement powder sachet Pet-I 3000, in addition to providing OEM services.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia at Vitafoods Asia, Robin Jeong, manager of sales, said that the company would be expanding its overseas business.
“We have been supplying our postbiotic ingredients to food and beverage and pharmaceutical companies in South Korea and decided to expand to the overseas markets last year,” Jeong said, adding that there were more than 200 brands using its postbiotics.
Some of the consumer brands that they have worked with are from the food and beverage, as well as pharmaceutical industries, including Maeil, Pulmuone, and Dongwon.
One of its latest endeavours is to register its postbiotic product as a health supplement in Kuwait, while Asia and America would be the company's key target markets, Jeong said.
At the moment, the firm is running three clinical trials in India to find out the effects of postbiotics on gut health, immunity, and fat reduction.
Currently, the firm owns a factory in the Gangwon province where it could manufacture postbiotics into the form of softgel, powder, beverage, and film.
Saturated probiotics market drives diversification
Postbiotic or parabiotic related health claims are not yet allowed in South Korea.
However, many companies are using the word ‘postbiotic’ in their brand name, trade name, or product name as they sought new growth opportunities in an increasingly saturated probiotics market, according to a regulatory expert.
Internationally, postbiotics has been defined as ‘a preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confers a health benefit on the host.’
“Postbiotic is not a big market in South Korea so far, but a couple of companies, including Korean and some European companies are starting the promotion of postbiotics.
“The market is now growing and we expect it to grow further, because the classical probiotic market is already saturated.
“Many companies are trying to find a new source, a new expression, and a new ingredient which is the spin-off from probiotics, and that would be the postbiotics or parabiotics,” said regulatory expert Dr. Sun-Ho Frank Kim, founder of Seah Bio Solutions.
An example of a probiotic brand that has expanded into the postbiotic space is South Korean brand Esther, he said.
Aside from health supplements, postbiotics has also found its way into skincare products.
“Postbiotics is still a very new concept to consumers, they do not know what it is. But the important thing is everyone knows what probiotics are, so based on consumers’ awareness of probiotics, companies are promoting postbiotics as a new concept of probiotics.
“For example, they have been promoting very aggressively on TV shopping and SNS the word ‘postbiotics’, which is why consumers’ awareness is growing,” Dr. Kim said.