Targeted for females, the product named Lit has been launched in Australia (pharmacies, e-commerce) and China (cross-border) early June.
Bird’s nest is a nourishing food prized in Chinese culture for promoting skin benefits. It is rich in epidermal growth factor which repairs skin and tissue and helps in obtaining smooth and elastic skin.
It is also rich in sialic acid which has been studied for its effect on improving brain functions.
Traditionally, it comes in dried forms which consumers have to cook, or ready-to-drink formats. Evan Rees, head of sales and marketing at Vmores told NutraIngredients-Asia the company hopes to offer a convenient pill format of bird’s nest for consumers.
“We know that bird nest is very popular in Asia-Pacific, however it takes consumers quite some time to cook it. During the cooking process, the nutrients from bird nest would have been lost due to the heat.”
Vmores uses a freeze-drying technology similar to NASA’s freeze-dried meals for astronauts, which utilises a low temperature vacuum (under 40°C) to remove water, while retaining almost 95% of the original nutrients. The end result is a supplement that melts in the mouth.
According to Rees, Lit is made from natural bird’s nest sourced from Malaysia with yoghurt as the medium. The firm tested the sialic acid content and found it contains 20.4% in the bird’s nest, higher than the average of 20% available in the market.
The product is targeted for females looking for beauty supplements as well as pregnant women.
“It is good for pregnant women and their babies because sialic acid helps baby's growth and brain development as well as providing nutrition to mothers and helping postpartum recovery. It is also suitable for beauty purposes by improving skin elasticity,” Rees said.
It took the firm six months of R&D including taste, quality and stability tests before Lit was introduced into the market.
Rees explained that the firm used fresh yoghurt as an excipient, instead of traditional starch and gelatin, because yoghurt contained more nutrients such as probiotics, protein and calcium.
However, one challenge was developing the taste of the product, since yoghurt contributed to the taste profile. “We took a longer time to adjust and balance the taste of yoghurt, functional ingredients and natural flavour.”
While freeze drying is also not the most economical nor fastest production method, it is advantageous compared to other dehydration methods for its ability to protect active and live ingredients from deteriorating, thereby extending the shelf life. The shelf-life of Vmores supplements are two years.
Vmores entered the China market earlier this year, with three of its freeze-dried supplements – Snap (hair, skin and nails), Max (women’s multi-vitamin) and Dash (probiotics).
Rees said the firm was pleasantly surprised that Chinese consumers took to its freeze-dried products. “At the beginning, we were a bit worried if freeze-dried products were accepted by the market. Surprisingly, Vmores products are welcomed by Chinese consumers.
The customers know that lower temperature process is the best way to keep all the original nutrients intact and nasty things out. (In addition), it is fun to eat and tastes great.”
The firm entered China via cross-border in March, however this was also the period when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“We did face some difficulties about the supply chain due to the global COVID-19 outbreak. It is a bit difficult to book flights for logistic. However, it is still under the control and we manage our safe stock quite properly,” Rees told us.
The firm is preparing for additional product launches, one of which is TGA certified, which meant it would carry therapeutic health claims, although it declined to elaborate further on which claims.
Vmores is part of the Sydney-based Health Sharing Group which also owns Dr. Nature, Nature’s King and Auhealth.