The company announced last week that it had appointed Martin Hettema, previously at plant extracts firm Jan Dekker, to build new sales in Asia, primarily the China, Japan and Australian markets.
The region currently generates about 10 per cent of the group's turnover but Johan Kamphuis, sales and marketing director in Europe, says sales should increase tenfold in five years time.
"In the supplements area, China is growing very fast. The one-child policy means that they are increasingly focused on nutrition. Supplements, although still expensive, are very popular as presents," Kamphuis told NutraIngredients.com.
Bioriginal, previously known in Europe as VSP, makes three quarters of its sales from evening primrose, borage and flax seed oils, and already has a joint venture in the Dalian region of China to source raw materials.
"It is very important to have local people in the area to generate business. We have two people working in our Chinese operations who have been very helpful in guiding us through the marketplace," added Kamphuis.
Hettema will move to a new location in Asia in coming months to start working on new contracts.
The European division has also recruited a new Quality, Environment, Safety and Health (QESH) manager, Hanneke Schleicher, previously corporate quality manager at Meneba, and a new operations manager, Joan de Jong, former purchasing manager at Banner Pharmacaps.
Europe is a key region for the Canadian group, with sales there increasing by more than 50-60 per cent each year, compared to a global growth rate of 35 per cent.
Health specific conditions are more developed in Europe than in North America, according to Kamphuis, and driving new product development in the supplements market.
There is also stronger consumer awareness of omega-3 fatty acids, not originally one of Bioriginal's key products but offered through the firm's distribution of Martek's DHA and also some new fish oil supply.
While the fish oils, and particularly the fish oil concentrates, business has been consolidating in recent years, plant oils remains a fragmented market with many small operators.
Bioriginal sees good opportunity in the size of the group, which can offer blends of different fatty acids from the whole package of required omega fats.