Next big opportunity? Market interest in Middle East’s nutraceutical sector on the rise – TCI

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

A woman adding a spoon of powdered collagen to her coffee. ©Getty Images
A woman adding a spoon of powdered collagen to her coffee. ©Getty Images

Related tags Collagen Beauty from within Middle east

There is growing interest in Middle East’s nutraceutical sector, says Taiwan biotech firm TCI Co. Ltd, which is hoping to gain market share first through its collagen offerings.

The company, which also runs a contract development and manufacturing business, notices that there have been more enquiries in Middle East’s nutraceutical sector from its finished product brands customers, especially those from the US and Europe since last year.

A growing gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the factors driving market interest in the region, Dr Rebecca Chan, R&D assistant manager at TCI Co. Ltd told NutraIngredients-Asia.

Last November, Reuters ​reported that UAE’s GDP was up 3.7 per cent in the first half of 2023, largely due to growth in the non-oil sectors, which also accounts for more than 70 per cent of the country’s GDP.

Against this backdrop, the company made its debut in the Dubai Organic & Natural Products Expo last November, with collagen as the main ingredient promoted to the market.

Beauty-from-within was selected as the point of entry into the Middle East as the company believes there is higher acceptance for such products.

“When we talk about wellness, people tend to start with improving their skin and the acceptance of beauty-from-within products is higher,” ​said Dr Chan.

For a start, the company will focus on working with its clients in developing collagen supplements for improving skin elasticity.

Since beverage products are more readily accepted and could offer higher absorption rates, the format would be preferred to other formats such as capsules.

Drinks and powder formats are also preferred for being able to deliver a higher amount of actives.

“Studies have shown that for collagen to be effective, the dosage should be at least five grams per day. It will be difficult to achieve this amount of dosage with capsules as one will need to take in several capsules to achieve this dosage level,” ​she said.

The company is also using a liposomal technology that is said to increase the absorption of collagen by two times.

Aside from fish collagen, Dr Chan said that the company was also offering vegan collagen which was said to contain the same amino acid composition as type I human collagen. The vegan collagen was developed by Belgium firm VeCollal.

She said that the vegan option was to cater to the vegetarian population in the region, adding that the collagen produced by the firm in Taiwan has attained halal certification from both the Indonesian and Malaysian authorities.

A report by Euromonitor in September last year said that UAE’s consumers’ understanding of the beauty-from-within concept was growing, with skincare brands such as Murad launching dietary supplements in the region.

An example is Murad’s Pure Skin Clarifying Dietary Supplement tablets that claim to “enhance internal defence against breakouts for clearer, healthier skin.”

The firm’s upcoming plan is to grow its weight management and vitamins and minerals supplements offerings in the region, especially B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium, as the region’s vitamin and mineral sector is still at a nascent stage.

Related topics Markets & trends Middle East

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