Functional flex: TSI Group eyes untapped ‘tremendous potential’ in South Korea’s active ageing and sports nutrition sectors

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

The regulatory approval of myHMB in South Korea will allow TSI Group to seize emerging opportunities in active ageing and sports nutrition categories. ©TSI Group
The regulatory approval of myHMB in South Korea will allow TSI Group to seize emerging opportunities in active ageing and sports nutrition categories. ©TSI Group

Related tags muscle health South korea Functional ingredients Active ageing Sports nutrition

Shanghai-headquartered TSI Group says that the approval of its muscle-support ingredient in South Korea will allow it to satisfy the needs of the local ageing population, and seize emerging opportunities in the sports nutrition category.

Announced in October, the regulatory approval of TSI Group’s functional ingredient, myHMB, comes after a “lengthy and rigorous” six-year process.

It is said to be the only beta‐hydroxy‐beta‐methylbutyrate (HMB) that can be sold in the country currently.

With the approval, dietary supplements and functional foods made with myHMB are permitted to put claims about improving exercise performance on products labels.

“Jupiter International,exclusive distributor of myHMB in Korea, started the evaluation process at the end of 2017. It was challenging to meet the stringent requirements of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), which requiredextensive data and detailed information about TSI’s manufacturing processesto prove myHMB’s efficacy and safety.

Claims are very important when it comes to ingredients that are new to the Korean market. They allow brands to educate consumers on the benefits of these ingredients more efficiently,” ​Larry Kolb, Global President of Innovative Ingredients at TSI Group, told NutraIngredients-Asia​.

The firm aims to tap into opportunities led by the increasing ageing population in Asia-Pacific (APAC), as well as the rising demand for products targeting muscle, bone and joint health.

Its approach includes educating consumers on the connection between these musculoskeletal parts and importance of holistic musculoskeletal health, while offering innovative and convenient product formulations.

“myHMB specifically targets muscle health, a critical component of overall musculoskeletal well-being. TSI is putting a lot of energy into the APAC region because myHMB offers tremendous benefits in attenuating age-related muscle loss,” ​said Kolb.

According to David Kim, Team Leader of Jupiter International’s Strategy and Business Development, Korea has one of Asia’s biggest ageing populations, with seniors accounting for a “very high percentage” of health and functional food product sales.

“Nearly 20% of Koreans are 65 years or older. This population group is growing, and the money they are investing into healthy ageing is also increasing. The growth of protein products targeting senior citizens shows that older consumers in the market already recognise the importance of muscle, bone and joint health,” ​Kim added.

Capitalising on Korea’s emerging sport nutrition sector

Based on Kim’s insights, the sports nutrition category in Korea is still in its infancy.

“At the moment, only few ingredients have been approved in the country to make claims of improving sports performance and sports fatigue relief, and their sales volume is not big.

“However, products enriched with muscle- and energy-focused ingredients, such as protein, L-arginine and vitamin B complex, are rapidly expanding. At the same time, consumers’ interest in sports nutrition is growing and diversifying,” ​he explained.

To Kolb, this potential spells “the right time” for TSI to introduce Korean consumers to myHMB.
HMB is a consumer-centric solution relevant to multiple markets, supported by more than 100 human clinical trials. It is unique in its ability to increase muscle protein synthesis and reduce muscle protein breakdown simultaneously.

“myHMB is superior to generic forms of HMB, as it is manufactured in dedicated state-of-the-art cGMP-approved facilities. Supported by a number of issued and pending patents, it’s also able to work synergistically with ingredients like PEAK ATP and vitamin D to optimise the benefits of protein and amino acids,” ​said Kolb.

Available in calcium salt form (CaHMB) and myHMB Clear (HMB free acid) liquid form, myHMB claims to enhance exercise-related endurance, support recovery from intense training, and promote a healthy body composition.

For instance, it helps preserve and gain lean body mass while reducing body fat, especially when people are on a calorie-restricted diet.

“myHMB supplementation helps people use the protein they consume. This is beneficial for people at every age and stage of life. For those who exercise, it enables them to train harder, recover more quickly, and reduce post-workout soreness and muscle damage.

“It has been shown to boost strength, endurance and performance by raising maximal oxygen consumption, and delaying the onset of blood lactate accumulation,” ​Kolb reiterated.

Besides Korea, myHMB is distributed in Malaysia, Thailand, India, Australia, Philippines, Vietnam, Japan, and Indonesia.

“We are working on expanding the filings for regulatory approval in these markets and also new countries. As demand increases for clinically proven and science-backed ingredients among consumer demographics with an interest in sports nutrition, active lifestyle and healthy ageing, we look forward to working with our customers on novel product solutions and delivery systems that meet consumers’ needs.” 

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