DrinkAid’s anti-hangover capsule is now available in all Unity outlets. Prior to that, the product is largely sold online via its website, Lazada, and Shopee, with F&B outlets such as bars and clubs comprising the remaining 20 per cent of its sales.
Its recent move into pharmacy retail will help bolster branding and credibility of the formulation, co-founder Solomon Poon told NutraIngredients-Asia.
“From the very first day, we already wanted to join a modern trade outlet, such as grocery stores, convenience stores, and pharmacy chains.
“The very first thing that we wanted to join is pharmacies, because they give us good branding. It gives the image of credibility, trustworthiness, and only proven products can be placed in pharmacies,” said Poon.
The exclusive agreement meant that the firm will only sell its anti-hangover product in Unity and the latter will also only sell DrinkAid’s product under the anti-hangover supplement category.
The deal will also help attract new groups of consumers for DrinkAid, said Poon.
“Who are the Unity customers? These are the older groups of people, from 35, 45 years old onwards. In some ways, we are also expanding our target audience by working with Unity.
“This is our first time expanding to this group of new audience and I think it has worked quite well,” said Poon, adding that DrinkAid’s core consumers have been those in their mid-20s to 30s since the firm first started.
So far, he has noticed two key factors that are driving growth across the pharmacy outlets, namely product promotion and the use of the "hangsell" model – display boards that hang products for sale and advertising.
“There’s a 20 to 30 per cent uptake in sales when we hold a product promotion of about 20 per cent and in the outlets where we are using the hang-sell model, sales have on average increased by 20 per cent.”
Poon hopes to further the product’s offline presence by introducing it in petrol stations and convenience stores.
“We hope to be present in petrol stations because we understand that the number one selling category in petrol stations is alcohol. If this is the case, it makes sense that alcohol remedies will do similarly well.”
New products in the works
The company is in the midst of developing new dosage formats for its anti-hangover supplement and Poon is hoping to launch one of it by the end of this year or early next year.
The new formats, namely a 3D-printed pill for slow release of the active ingredients and flavoured gummies, were decided upon based on consumer feedback.
The firm consulted consumers on six new product options. Aside from 3D-printed pill and flavoured gummies which were the top two most popular options, the company also asked consumers if they would want a supplement for improving productivity, for supporting deep sleep, liver health, and reducing water retention.
“The good thing about sustained release is that people will only need to take the product once before drinking and it slowly releases the active ingredients over the next three to four hours," Poon said, explaining why consumers preferred the 3D-printed pill most.
According to him, the 3D-printed pill is designed for uniform release of the bioactives within three to four hours while the existing product is fully dissolved in 15 minutes.
“For the current version, the product loses its effects after two hours. After the bioactives are released in the bloodstream, they will still stay in the bloodstream for a while until you metabolise or pass it out.
“The 3D-printed pill will release the actives over three to four hours, which means that the effects would last for about six hours in the bloodstream."
Oxygen rich water
On the other hand, the firm has launched its second product, an ‘oxygen rich’ water known as Rair Recovery in May.
The 450ml product is said to contain 16.4 ppm of oxygen – about twice as much as the usual mineral water – and is designed for improving recovery from alcohol drinking.
“We stumbled upon a research paper showing that oxygenated water breaks down alcohol and acetaldehyde quicker, so we thought that this is a new use of water that nobody has thought of before and no one has marketed it this way before, so why don't we be the first one to do it?
“The margins are good, and it enhances DrinkAid's branding as well, since all our products are for reducing the side effects of alcohol-drinking,” said Poon.
Sold at SGD$5.90 (US$4.40) per bottle, the product is made in Singapore using a proprietary manufacturing method, he added.