The two signed a MoU on day two (Sep 21) of Vitafoods Asia 2023 exhibition held in Bangkok last week.
Under the deal, dsm-firmenich will work with Boncha Bio in offering candy capsules containing multivitamins, algae oil omega-3, and lutein, with plans to include human milk oligosaccharides and probiotics as well.
For a start, the partnership will focus on Japan and South Korea, where dsm-firmenich will be the exclusive distributor of the candy nutraceuticals made by Boncha Bio.
The nutraceutical market in these two countries is highly competitive and challenging, and brands are constantly looking for new breakthroughs.
In the case of South Korea, companies have been trying to offer products that come in novel formats and unique consumer experience, Ling Rei-Ting, regional market-ready solutions (MRS) lead, APAC, at DSM Nutritional Products’ Human Nutrition Health division, told NutraIngredients-Asia.
“Korea's brand owners have been searching for solutions that allow consumers to differentiate a product based on its visual and the types of usage experience that it provides, and not from product formulation.”
He said that this was based on the recent success of German brand Orthomol sold exclusively by Dong-A Pharmaceutical in South Korea, which managed to shake up the market share.
One of its products, Orthomol Immun, comes in a ready-to-drink vial and a pack of tablets. Consumers will need to take the tablets and drink together.
As such, companies have been trying to regain market share with innovative ingredients or dosage formats.
“What we saw was that consumers are looking for a more natural way in consuming supplements.
“For instance, they wouldn't feel uncomfortable when taking the products and even have the desire to consume it, not just for gaining the health benefits, but for their own pleasure,” he said, which was why the company was eyeing for growth with the candy capsules format.
Similarly in Japan, the company sees opportunities in the ageing market, where snacks and confectionary are more appealing than capsules and tablets.
“In Japan, the population is ageing, and the older population does not really consume supplements. They consume snacks and confectionary though.
“The elderly also have difficulties swallowing. With candies, they have another option in consuming supplements,” he said.
dsm-firmenich will be supplying the functional ingredients while Boncha Bio will be manufacturing the candy capsules from Taiwan.
The service is also extended to dsm-firmenich's existing customers outside from South Korea and Japan. It is expected to be introduced into other countries subsequently as well.
Unlike existing gummies, Boncha Bio says it makes its candies below 30 degrees, in turn preserving bioactives and reducing wastage.
“The conventional functional gummies have yet to overcome the limitation of high temperature processing and so they will need to add in a large amount of functional ingredients to offset the amount that would have been destroyed during the high heat processing,” said Alfie Tsai, managing director at Boncha Boncha International Company Limited.
All its candy capsules contain a liquid core which burst out upon chewing – a concept which the firm calls ‘NutriBurst’.
“You can think of it as a chewable and a more delicious, upgraded soft gel,” he described.
This design also allows otherwise incompatible ingredients, such as oil plus powder or oil-soluble plus water-soluble ingredient, to be formulated together by putting them in either the outer layer or the interior liquid core.
For example, the outer layer could contain pre- and postbiotics, while the inner liquid core could contain live probiotics and/or vitamin C. The vitamin C is also coating with anti-gastric acid carrier to prevent degradation.
A good supplement product should fulfill three criteria, according to Tsai, namely a user-friendly and delicious dosage form, an effective delivery system that provides an efficacious dose, and the use of effective functional ingredients.
Based in Taipei, the company was established in 2014 and currently serves Taiwan, South Korea as its main markets.