Asia’s ‘brain tonic’, chicken essence, targets youth

February 14, 2018
3 min read

Chicken essence is a liquid nutritional supplement made using selected extracts from high-quality chicken. Heat and pressure are applied to break down naturally occurring proteins in the chicken broth into smaller, more easily digested peptides.

This Asian staple is also famed for its cognitive benefits, and recent studies suggest that its significant protein content—including peptides anserine and carnosine—may give it the potential as an effective solution to mental and physical fatigue.

Opportunities exist for chicken essence brands to flourish in the functional food space, due to its naturalness, traditional attributes, and potential benefits for cognitive health. That said, robust studies are needed to validate cognitive health claims across demographics.

Traditional Asian tonic

Mintel Trend ‘In Tradition We Trust’ outlines how the use of ingredients connects consumers to their heritage, home and ancestry, triggering a feeling of nostalgia and warmth, and chicken essence is a prime example of this trend in action. Chicken essence is a popular traditional and nutritional tonic in Asia, particularly in the Southeast, where it is widely recognised. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, chicken essence is used to strengthen bones and muscles, hasten the metabolism, relieve fatigue, and improve overall health.

Students are chicken essence’s key market

Chicken essence could appeal to students of all ages as a brain supplement. According to Mintel research, 34% of Chinese parents with children aged 4-12 are eager to give them supplements which will help to bolster their mental development.

Academic stress is common in China, and many young adults have ambitious 10-year goals for themselves, including making a lot of money, being an expert in a certain field, and starting their own business. Supplements such as chicken essence may appeal both to students and parents of students who are looking to gain an academic advantage.

Brands in Southeast Asia catering to younger consumers

In Singapore, Eu Yan Sang currently targets the younger demographic with its Power Up! Essence of Chicken Series. The range is especially formulated for consumers aged two and above. Adopting a natural and transparent positioning, the brand is an exemplary of how transparency will help gain the trusts and loyalties of consumers, especially parents.

The taste of chicken essence is indeed subjective. To effectively appeal to younger consumers, manufacturers are experimenting with kid-friendly flavours. In Thailand, BRAND’S Essence of Chicken has launched its Junior Alpha Mynd Flavored Essence of Chicken Triple A Formula, which boasts fruity and chocolate flavours.

Michelle Teodoro
Michelle Teodoro

Michelle is Mintel’s Global Food Science Analyst based in Singapore. She specialises in food science and ingredients, with a focus on nutrition.

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