“China is an up and coming market with great potential for tocotrienol application in functional food and beverages, dietary supplement as well as cosmetic and personal care products,” said WH Leong, CEO of Malaysia-based ExcelVite.
Tocotrienol has been touted as a ‘super vitamin E’. Sold to consumers mostly as a dietary supplement to boost cardiovascular health, previous studies revealed tocotrienol’s neuroprotection benefits against stroke-induced injuries, and its ability to help reduce cholesterol levels. Leong also mentioned a study where tocotrienol was found effective against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease..
“While tocopherols are generally present in common vegetable oils (soy or canola), tocotrienols on the other hand, are concentrated in cereal grains (oat, barley, rye, rice bran), with the highest level found in crude palm oil,” Leong added.
Presently, the company, which was set up in 2013, supplies 80% of its branded tocotrienol ingredients in Europe and US and only 20% to dietary supplement companies in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Malaysia.
“APAC countries are our next target market for growth. It holds significant potential for ExcelVite,” Leong said.
“As such – we are intensifying our sales and marketing effort in terms of partnering with reliable and effective partners in these countries to promote as well as collaborate on regulatory registration of our branded tocotrienol ingredients.”
Excelvite plans to make its target markets more aware of tocotrienol’s healthy benefits, which Leong said may have suffered some setbacks. Aside from lack of consumer information, negative publicity continues to hound the palm oil industry, due to environmental issues pertaining to plantation management and practices.
But Leong reiterated that tocotrienol had 25 years' of solid research behind it.
“Palm oil’s saturated fat content does not raise blood cholesterol level and thus does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, in fact, its effect is comparable to that of olive oil,” he explained.
“Most importantly, palm oil has a unique bouquet of phytonutrients and antioxidants, protecting the oil from premature spoiling as well as conferring it unique health benefits.
“These phytonutrients include vitamin E tocotrienols, alpha-tocopherol, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene (alpha- and beta-carotenes are provitamin A), gamma-carotene, lycopene as well as certain levels of other naturally occurring phytonutrients such as phytosterols, plant squalene and co-enzyme Q10.”
Thus, the challenge for Excelvite is make more markets aware, particularly those in Asia, of tocotrienol’s ‘super’ attributes.
“With increased awareness and knowledge, consumers these days do not rely on hearsay but are diligently seeking for information online and substantiated research,” Leong said.
“ExcelVite understands that to have a sustainable business, we will need to provide scientific substantiation when we introduce our branded ingredients. As such, we will continue to work with reputable research institutes and universities globally to carry out R&D, product innovations and conduct human clinical trials on other new unique health benefits of tocotrienols.”