Middle East to get a Coast health kick
Written on the 12 May 2009
A YATALA-based nutraceutical company has cracked the Middle Eastern market to supply its range of probiotics and health products to the lucrative Arab pharmaceutical industry.
The export deal follows a trade mission to the UAE facilitated by the Gold Coast City Council’s economic development arm BusinessGC.
Rochway develops, manufactures and distributes a vast range of multi-ingredient products derived from food extracts which have immune building properties and are scientifically proven to provide vast physiological benefits.
Brian Siebert acquired the German-owned company in 2005 and was later joined by directors Ernst Strauss and Wayne Dougan. With established supply channels in Europe (then 80 per cent of sales), the company set out to increase domestic revenue and is now stocked in more than 800 pharmacies and supermarkets Australia-wide.
Strauss says that while the Middle East had always been on the company’s radar, the right strategy needed to be executed.
“Through the support of BusinessGC, we were able to participate in the Arab Health trade mission in Dubai, they put our company and our products directly in front of the people we needed to see,” says Strauss.
“The results were immediate – we’ve already processed three significant orders in Dubai, Jordan and Oman and we are certainly confident of more to come. Each market responds differently during a crisis. This export opportunity has enabled further diversification of our business, which is an effective strategy during the current economic climate.”
Rochway’s flagship product is Papaya 35, a fermented paw paw extract containing digestive enzymes to assist in digesting carbohydrates and fats. All products are Queensland owned and organically grown.
Last year the company spent $100,000 on research conducted by the Centre for Phytochemistry and Pharmacology at Southern Cross University.
It found that Rochway’s MultiplyPLUS product boosted the immune system by almost 50 per cent. Subsequent comparison testing on similar overseas-made products also found that the product out-performed its competitors.
“This was a great result, not only for Rochway, but also for the credibility of the Australian health manufacturing industry,” say Strauss.
“We pride ourselves on our organic, Queensland-grown products and we’re discovering that people are buying healthy products and are prepared to pay for them.”
Director Brian Siebert, says health scares such as the recent Swine Flu have got more people thinking about natural ways to build immune systems.
“Prevention is better than a cure. The research that we have done with Southern Cross University was paramount in its findings,” says Siebert.
Chair of Health and Medical Gold Coast Peter Emery, says the Gold Coast’s health and medical industry injects around $650 million into the local economy.
“We have over 1300 businesses and organisations employing more than 4000 people in the region, with this number set to increase with the completion of Australia’s largest hospital project, the $1.5 billion Gold Coast University Hospital,” says Emery.
Arab Health 2009 attracted 60,000 health and medical professionals from more than 65 countries. The healthcare sector in the Gulf Cooperative Council is worth an estimated $74 billion annually and is growing at 16 per cent annually.
Over the last decade, the value of Gold Coast exports has increased by 35 per cent from $1.5 billion in 1996-97, to $6.8 billion in 2006-07.