Demand for value-added supplements increases in Vietnam – PharmaLinea

That’s according to private label company PharmaLinea, who spoke to us at the recent Vitafoods Asia event.

Vietnam is also the Slovenia-based company’s largest market in the Southeast Asian region at present.

He introduced supplement concepts for bone health, his most popular category among companies in Vietnam, prebiotics and iron categories.

“Vietnam has a huge market size; we are discussing several new products that will be launched in Vietnam. More importantly, the market is growing.

“Secondly, we are seeing more and more companies asking us for value-added products. In the past, products were more commodity-based. To be able to sell more, companies had to be more competitive with their prices.

“A lot of brands are now trying to overcome this by introducing value-added products with high product differentiation where the price sensitivity is also much lower,”​ Jernej Klopcic, Business Development Manager at PharmaLinea told us.

He gave the example of iron, where companies are now more willing to develop higher-priced products that are clinically supported and devoid of the metallic taste that typically accompanies iron supplements.

“Iron could be a cheap commodity. For example, some of the iron salts you see on the market are cheap but there is no proven effectiveness.

“When we offer a product quite different from what we usually find on the market, where we convince the brands that our products have proven efficacy, a clinical study showing that the product is very absorbent, very observant, has good taste, companies are listening and willing to move in this direction, even though the end product may be more expensive in the mainstream market.

“For them to have all of these unique selling points means they will be different from the rest of the market, and that will allow them to sell the product.”

Previously, PharmaLinea conducted a 12-week RCT showing how its >Your< Iron Syrup formulation could improve ferritin levels in children by 69%.

The company was also the winner of NutraIngredients-Asia Award 2021’s Editors Awards for Infant and Child Nutrition Initiativewith the formula above.

At Vitafoods Asia, the company also showcased new concepts for its iron formulations, including oral and liquid dispersible sachets.

Klopcic pointed out that compared to capsules and tablets, the sachet format is more convenient and easier to swallow.

“We mainly target adult women and we find that from time to time women have problems swallowing the capsules and so we have tried to develop new formats, such as liquid forms and oral dispersible forms to overcome this problem. .”

As for flavors, the company launched strawberry-flavored iron supplements in its product concept, but said it was able to adopt flavors requested by brands.

Discover the opportunities

The company is confident that the iron supplement market in Southeast Asia provides “huge opportunity” due to the high prevalence of iron deficiency. However, the challenge hindering the growth of the market is the difficulty in recognizing the symptoms, especially that of borderline anemia.

“We are 100% convinced that iron anemia is a huge opportunity.

“Maybe today the market is still small based on data from market research companies, but since the prevalence of anemia is high, which means people are suffering from deficiency in iron, what we think is necessary is a strong brand that would come to the market and know how to speak to doctors and consumers”, said Klopcic.

So far in Asia, the company has had the greatest success in South Korea for its iron supplements.

Nonetheless, the iron supplement category is generally smaller than other market size categories, in part due to the difficulty in recognizing symptoms of borderline anemia.

“I think one of the problems is that the symptoms of iron deficiency are not so easy to recognize. Quite often, especially when you’re not anemic, but you may be suffering from a lack of iron, it is very difficult to recognize the symptoms.

“So the easiest way to see if your blood has enough iron is to take a blood test, so you’ll have to go to the doctor. And so one of our missions is to raise awareness about this issue, because when there are clear symptoms, it may already be too late, you may already be anemic,” he said.

Meet the needs of physicians

Additionally, Klopcic pointed out that iron supplements could be an option for doctors who are hesitant or reluctant to prescribe iron-based medications to patients who are borderline anemic.

“We have seen in different countries that doctors are a bit reluctant or reserved when it comes to giving iron medicines to people who might become anemic but who are not yet.

“Through our product, we also respond to doctors who are looking for food supplements with good efficacy and which can serve people suffering from borderline anemia without having to give them medication.”he said.

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