Re-use and refill: Watsons retails Singapore’s first omega-3 refillable supplement pack

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Ocean Health has introduced a refill pack for its fish oil supplements. ©Getty Images
Ocean Health has introduced a refill pack for its fish oil supplements. ©Getty Images

Related tags Sustainable packaging omega-3 Singapore

Watsons Singapore has introduced a refillable omega-3 supplement pack for the first time in the country – with local supplement brand Ocean Health.

Retailing at SGD$29.90 (US$21.95), each refillable pack contains 190 soft gels, with each containing 1000mg of omega 3.

Prior to the launch, the product was sold at SGD$21.60 (US$15.86) for a regular bottle of 60 soft gels and SGD$32.50 (US$23.86) for a large bottle of 180 soft gels.

The idea is that consumers refill their old plastic bottle with the new pack.

Ocean Health omega-3 refill
The refill pack is said to use 90 per cent less plastic than the large bottle.

Best known for its omega-3 fish oil, Ocean Health is a brand under Hyphens Pharma International Limited.

The new launch is part of the two companies’ plastics reduction and sustainability efforts.

“The idea for the refill Pack came into fruition from a lunch conversation last year that I had with Hyphens’ Executive Chairman and CEO, Lim See Wah, on how the company’s leading health supplement brand Ocean Health could positively contribute to a more sustainable environment.

“From the ideation to conceptualisation to product creation, Hyphens took approximately nine months,” ​Watsons Singapore’ managing director, Irene Lau, said in response to queries from NutraIngredients-Asia.

From now till April 30, Hyphens Pharma is donating SGD$1 (US$0.73) for every refill pack sold to Singapore Reefs.

Hurdles to overcome

Sustainable packaging is gaining interest in Singapore, but Lau said that the initial minimum volume commitment and the setup costs could deter manufacturers from making a change. 

As such, there must be a “deliberate commitment” ​within the leadership for any company that wanted to adopt sustainable packaging, she said.

The Ocean Health Fish Oil 1000mg Refill pack has been trending very well since launch – further proof that we are on the right track. This would not be possible without Hyphens Pharma CEO’s support to our call,” ​she said.

As for Watsons itself, Lau pointed out that product display visibility and pricing were the key concerns when retailing the product.

“We had to consider the types and ways to display such a pouch packaging, given that all the other supplements came in bottles.

“Secondly, we need to look at the pricing strategy, as it is a common perception among consumers that refillable packs should be considerably cheaper than the regular full-sized bottle product. Hence, we have to price it right to encourage uptake,” ​she said.

Other examples

Brands such as Meiji has also introduced refillable packs for its nutrition products in Singapore.

For example, its Amino Collagen is available in a 196g refillable pack. The product is also sold in Watsons and Guardian.

Other examples​ of sustainable packaging include Singapore’s personalised supplement firm Moom Health, which sells its vitamins in biodegradable plastic sachets. 

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