South-East Asia: Renewed interest in sports nutrition products

19 Dec 2023

South-East Asia’s renewed focus on the elderly has also given rise to an emerging sports nutrition sector that serves to address similar health issues such as immune support and bone and joint health.

Whilst an increasingly ageing population could partially explain this interest, wider global trends such a shift to healthier diets, sustainability concerns and the fallout from Covid-19 cannot be discounted.

Sports nutrition ticks all these boxes, blending the influence of holistic remedies with scientific scrutiny that validates the ingredients and extracts purported to promote health benefits.

South-East Asia: Renewed interest in sports nutrition products
© iStock/MTStock Studio

These include herbal extracts such as ginseng and ashwagandha, which have been used to boost health in Asia for thousands of years, having been adopted by new audiences relatively recently.

Global market analysts at Mintel have highlighted Australia, China, and India’s product launches as key to the market’s expected 9.5% growth, tipped to reach 15bn by 2026.

The rise of South Korea’s sports nutrition industry

South Korea is one country in the region that has taken the concept of foods to reduce frailty, nutrition, and malnutrition rates and turned them into innovations that aid in sporting performance and post-exercise recovery.

Amway Korea is capitalising consumer interest in the gut microbiome, driven by both immune and gut health concerns, by launching Glyco Down, a supplement designed to assist in blood sugar management.

The Seoul-based firm already has a range of protein-based food products in a number of formats that include snacks, bars, and liquids.

Analysis of products for health and fitness

Latest figures from the country’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) noted that the volume of health supplements and ingredients imported was up from 22,536 tons in 2021 to 27,045 tons last year.

Crucially, consumer preferences have also shifted within the country, with a greater interest shown in healthy eating, with McKinsey highlighting that shoppers are willing to pay higher prices to get healthier products.

“Grocery retailers have responded by launching new products with less sugar, fewer artificial ingredients, and additional nutrients, a move that has boosted revenues,” said the management consultant partners’, Younghoon Kang and Jeongkeun Kim.

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