‘Refreshing, convenient, effective’: Fonterra’s NPD targets SEA’s gut-conscious consumers

By Si Ying Thian

- Last updated on GMT

Fonterra's new probiotic powdered drink targets gut-conscious consumers in South East Asia © Nurture
Fonterra's new probiotic powdered drink targets gut-conscious consumers in South East Asia © Nurture

Related tags Probiotics Gut health microbiome Prebiotics

Fonterra has launched a probiotic powdered drink in Singapore, and is looking to scale up SEA distribution to cover the ‘growing middle class’ in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Digestion+ Immunity Probiotic Drink was launched under Nurture, a subsidiary of NZ dairy giant Fonterra, that first rolled out its cultured milk line in Singapore​ last year.

Its Asia-Pacific strategy manager, Swapnil Karnik, told NutraIngredients-Asia​ that the effervescent powder format came out of a consumer survey it conducted across South East Asia.

“The three most important things we learnt were: Firstly, South East Asian consumers have a core belief that true wellness is impossible without a healthy gut. Secondly, there is a gap to address in the gut health category in the region. Thirdly, an effervescent format is one that people find refreshing convenient and effective in addressing their wellness concerns,” ​he elaborated on the survey findings.

Interestingly, the findings also elicited that Singaporean consumers were wary of existing gut health products in the market due to the high sugar levels.

Why effervescent?

Karnik said that the product differentiates itself on: 1) a dual benefit proposition in digestion and immunity, 2) supported by the combination of prebiotics, probiotics and vitamins, and 3) its low sugar content (less than 0.2g of natural sugar per serve).

Notably, he added that probiotic strains have “a better chance of survival”​ in powder than in a compressed tablet format.

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Probiotic drink © Nurture

The product contains two of its probiotic strains, namely LactoB HN001 and BifidoB HN019, zinc, and vitamins C and D, available in sparkling orange flavour, in twelve 6 grams sachets per can.

Compared to its cultured milk, Karnik explained that the product seeks to pack more nutrients in a convenient format for consumers to access their probiotic fix:

The product is definitely a trade up compared to our cultured milk. We’re still about three times more expensive than our competitors on the price index. But we’re providing a lot more probiotics and vitamins in our powder, and it’s a very convenient and shelf-stable way to address the similar problems. It also helps people who do not want to get a milk or a dairy product to access probiotics.”

Targeting the mass affluent

Launched in early-April at a yoga event in Singapore, the product targets busy working professionals, active individuals who are in their late-20s, and generally those experiencing bloating, gas, constipation, and fatigue.

The product is currently available online in Singapore via e-commerce platforms such as RedMart and Lazada.

It is also eyeing at a wider launch happening later this year in Singapore, alongside two additional products to address focus and energy.

“Our next innovations are deeply rooted in our learnings from the interviews we had with the South East Asian consumers. You need a good gut for overall wellness, and there is a link between gut and immunity. Increasingly, consumers are also becoming aware of the relationships between the gut and the brain.

“In this fast-paced, evolving, and busy world we live in, it’s critical for us to have optimal cognitive function alongside overcoming fatigue to maximize our potential. It’s no longer about just surviving but thriving. That’s where our digestion, focus and energy series come in to help people thrive with probiotics.”

In the coming months, Nurture revealed that it will continue to test the market acceptance for the product in Singapore and within South East Asia.

One of the considerations is the pricing strategy across the different South East Asian markets, and Nurture is targeting the growing middle class in the region for its upcoming gut health offerings.

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