As a relatively young company with roots in China, SanHerb Biotech Inc., Brooklyn, NY, has expanded its reach in the U.S. and other international markets, growing rapidly as a nutritional ingredients manufacturer that specializes in providing high quality plant extracts for a variety of nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.
The company was founded as a supplier of herb powders about 10 years ago in China and recently established its U.S. branch in 2010 as a way to better serve North American customers. Today the company is a leading supplier of high quality 5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, derived from griffonia seed extracts sourced from Africa, as well as mangosteen extract (with a series of specifications) and resveratrol in the U.S., according to Albert Tang, director of U.S. sales and marketing.
SanHerb offers a variety of other herbal extracts, including yohimbe, soapnut, Rhodiola rosea, myricetin, dihydromyricetin and engelhardtia leaf (astilbin). Herbal powders also include eucommia bark, kudzu root, java leaf, gentian root and Massularia acuminate.
In recent years the company has been actively expanding its distribution network and global reach, Mr. Tang noted. “In 2009 the SanHerb branch of Africa was formed and registered in Ghana,” he said. “This branch helps us with stable supply every year and direct purchasing of raw materials from Africa. We have removed all middlemen in our quest to maintain the lowest costs possible when purchasing raw materials.”
With its establishment in the U.S. this year, SanHerb can serve its customers more efficiently in terms of inventory and delivery, he added. “We have cut down the lead-time of our main products by having a warehouse in the U.S., which allows us to ship out inventory immediately to our customers here.”
The popularity of 5-HTP, the company’s primary offering, continues to grow along with various applications, according to Mr. Tang. Stress is one of the main conditions 5-HTP targets. “This compound induces the human brain to release serotonin. That’s the main function. Over the past few years we’ve seen many applications for this one ingredient.” He said customers have applied 5-HTP to weight management products and sports nutrition supplements, and he predicted more sports drinks containing excellent water-soluble versions of 5-HTP will hit the market.
In 2009, price fluctuations resulted from an imbalance between supply and demand and economic uncertainty, leading many customers to buy only what they could use in the short-term, instead of stocking up on inventory. “In response to this change, we are offering our customers a wider range of packaging, allowing them to buy smaller quantities as they need,” said Mr. Tang. Supply and demand are beginning to level, he added, resulting in a more stable market.
One of SanHerb’s main commitments is to ensuring superior quality of its products. “We consider ourselves a premium manufacturer in terms of quality,” said Mr. Tang. “We have the technologies and the skills to extract all our products to 98-99% purity. We pride ourselves as being one of the few companies that can provide such high purity products.”
As the general population recognizes the importance of health and well-being, the nutraceuticals industry will continue to thrive, Mr. Tang predicted. “We are confident that when our economy recovers, our industry will benefit. As supply and demand come to a balance, as we expect in 2011, our industry will continue to grow.” Meanwhile, SanHerb also anticipates further growth as a company. “We’re always looking for new ways to manufacture and offer new products, including neohesperidin dihydrochalcone (NHDC), an artificial sweetener derived from citrus. We try to see what’s hot in the market and adapt.”—S.M.
SanHerb Biotech Inc.
18 Bridge Street, Suite 1G
Brooklyn, NY 11201