Nutrition Asia video series

Relax and rest: Sleep aid R&D opportunities abound in bars, smaller pack sizes - WATCH

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sleep relaxation Australia Malaysia

The usual energy, protein, and collagen functional bars could be reinvented as snacks for supporting sleep, with two firms from Australia and Malaysia seeing the category benefitting from the influence of Korean dramas.

The 18-month-old The Mood Food Company from Australia specialises in functional food bars. Its upcoming launch, The Restful Bar, which is designed as a functional snack bar containing ingredients useful in promoting relaxation and sleep, would be sold in Woolworths from next month.

Developed with Macquarie University, each bar has been tested to contain naturally occurring 3.4n of melatonin, 32.5mg of magnesium, and 54.3mg of tryptophan which comes from the use of sour cherries, roasted almond, and Australian pumpkin seeds respectively.

Stuart Symth, co-founder of The Mood Food Company, told us in this episode of Nutrition Asia that the firm decided to venture into sleep and relaxation due to the lack of such products in the functional food bar space.

“We saw that there was a real gap. In the market, there’s lots of bars out of the marketplace for energy or for protein, for muscle or for collagen for skin but nothing specifically for mental wellbeing and in this particular case of Restful, it’s to help promote a more restful sleep at night,”​ said Symth.

Similarly, Malaysia sleep aid supplement brand Rilax, has launched chewables and powder versions, on top of its capsule format.

Lim Siang Wee, vice-president of LiveLife Biosciences A.G., the company behind Rilax’s formulation, said that Korean dramas have popularised the habit of taking supplements in powder sachet or other convenient formats. 

“Consumers nowadays are not just looking for tablets or capsules. For some markets, it’s very much into powder, gels, gummies, drinks, so there are many formats. Of course we make sure that the active ingredients are still delivered even though we are using a different format.

“We watch Korean dramas, and we can see the actors pouring whatever [supplements] into their mouth directly. So that is a format that is very popular nowadays.

“Even the package size is no longer like 30 [units] because people are moving towards the Japanese lifestyle where they can just go to the convenience stores to buy something they need. It’s a lifestyle product rather than a health or medicinal cure,” ​Lim said.  

Formulated with alpha S1-casein tryptic hydrolysate sourced from milk and L-theanine from green tea leaves, Rilax is sold in Malaysia, Singapore and the plan is to re-enter China via e-commerce as well as countries with a large Muslim population since the product is Halal-certified. 

Watch the video to find out more.

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