Oral strips revolution: India’s Soul Strips eyes global opportunities with Middle East as first stop
The firm, founded in the thick of COVID-19 in 2020, only began to export to 22 markets in the Middle East last December, but says that about 90 per cent of its business now comes from this region.
Solely focusing on oral strips nutraceuticals, the firm has developed 45 SKUs in total, ranging across adults, kids, pets, and the upcoming women’s health range which will be first launched in the Middle East in May.
Out of the existing range, the top seller in the Middle East goes to Man Up formulated with Cordyceps Militaris and Testofen – a patented extract of Trigonella foenum-graecum seed to improve libido and testosterone levels.
Following the encouraging response in the Middle East, the firm told NutraIngredients-Asia during the Beauty Asia Fair 2023 held in Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands between April 17 and 19 that it was planning to export to the US as well as South East Asia.
Founded by Avinash Madhavan together with his brothers and cousins, Soul Strips was initially selling effervescent tablets nutraceuticals as the firm felt that effervescent tablets have higher efficacy than the conventional tablets in delivering biaoctives.
About a year later in 2021, the firm came across the oral dissolvable strip technology which was said to be even better in delivering nutrients to the body.
“For effervescent tablets, the efficacy is about 50 to 60 per cent, but for oral strips, it is higher at 80 per cent to 85 per cent. Nutrients are being directly absorbed in the tongue without having to go through the digestive tract where some of the nutrients will be destroyed by the stomach acid,” Madhavan said.
Since the oral dissolvable strips and effervescent tablets are sold at relatively similar prices, the firm eventually decided to discontinue its effervescent tablets range and even went to the extent of recalling existing stocks from retailers.
Having ventured into Dubai, Saudi Arabia and a total of 22 markets in the Middle East last December, the firm is planning to further its international presence, with the US and South East Asia the next destinations in mind.
The UAE is currently its biggest overseas market, where it also sells in 150 pharmacies and over 50 veterinary clinics for its pet range.
“The success that we had seen in the Middle East has encouraged us. In May, we are sending our first inventory into the US.
“We are also attending the fair in Singapore because we want to look for potential distributors in the South East Asia and Singapore is a business hub from where we can expand into the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and even China.
“We want to make ourselves a global brand,” Madhavan said, adding that the firm's products are halal-certified.
Aside from Man Up, the firm said that its other bestseller was Snooze, which contains melatonin from sour cherries, chamomile, and valerian for sleep.
Out of its 45 SKUs, 10 are products for pet’s health – its biggest portfolio so far.
“We identified that this format is good for pets. We have developed products for joint health, urinary tract infection etc,” Madhavan said.
He added that a new range targeting specific organ health, such as the liver, eye, and the cardiovascular system was in the pipeline.