The "Strategic Analysis of the Neutraceuticals Markets in Southeast Asia" reports revenues generated from nutraceuticals in the region were over $2,300m (€1,922m) in 2005, with growth to $4,805m (€4,016m) expected for 2012.
The analysis is focused on six countries with vastly varying degrees of development of the nutraceuticals market: Thailand, the biggest market in terms of revenue, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam, with combined populations of over 510m people.
Despite the market being fragmented in the region and increasing market presence by local manufacturers, the main players continue to be multinationals such as DSM and BASF.
Recent health crises such as SARS and now bird flu are heightening awareness and, as is increasing demand for weight management products.
"Although Vietnam's market is small, it has the largest potential for growth due to its high economic growth and increased consumer's demand for weight management products," stated the analysis.
In Singapore, where consumers have higher purchasing power, the market is reported to be reaching saturation.
On the other hand, in Indonesia and the Philippines, many "consider nutraceutical products as luxury items and assign low priorities for them when purchasing consumables," states the report.
Although differences clearly exist between each country, there does seem to be a trend towards specific products, like functional drinks.
Kathy Brownlie, global programme manager at Frost and Sullivan told NutraIngredients.com: "It is difficult to generalise as every country is different. Functional beverages are showing above average signs of growth. Products targeted at the weight loss market sector are also doing well."
Indeed, the report states that even in Singapore's near-saturated market, the main potential for growth is in functional beverages.
While the potential for dietary supplement makers, or functional food and drink producers is clearly evident, the analysts propose that lower levels of education about the products, and the scientific claims behind them remains a big challenge.
"To achieve success in this market, companies have to be prepared to significantly invest in advertising as well as promotional activities to build the brand awareness and acceptance of their products."
"Being able to effectively communicate a specific health benefit associated with a product is key to its success in the nutraceuticals market in Southeast Asia," concluded the analysis.