Filipino firm aims for a piece of Indonesia’s fitness market
Santé International, the homegrown maker, distributor and direct-seller of barley-based products, is strengthening its presence in Southeast Asia and, in particular, making a bid to establish a niche in the Indonesian market for its health and wellness merchandise.
The company announced recently at its headquarters in Silang, Cavite that it has named Indonesian multi-faceted online content creator Anindita Hidayat as its brand ambassador in the Philippines’ fellow member in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Santé (French for health) is hoping to replicate in Indonesia its success in building a loyal clientele among Filipino health and fitness enthusiasts for its barley-based products.
Joey Marcelo, Santé chief executive officer and one of its founders, says he and the other company “pioneers” who, like him, had extensive background and experience in direct selling, wanted a new product when they decided to launch their own direct-selling business venture.
They had read studies of the health benefits of barley and spotted an opportunity to bring a new product to the market, undaunted by the fact that many Filipinos had not even heard of the raw material for their merchandise. Santé International began producing barley-based products based on its research team’s key findings on the grain’s benefits and powerful properties.
The decision of the United States Food and Drug Administration to allow producers of barley-based products to claim their merchandise might help reduce the risk of heart disease strengthened their resolve.
Barley, a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate countries. The website healthline.com says the grain “is high in fiber, specially beta-glucan, which may reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It may also aid weight loss and improve digestion.”
Medical News Today says barley is a rich source of Vitamin B and certain minerals.
Santé sources its barley from New Zealand and has partnered with that country’s BioGro, a company that advocates organics and certification and promotes consumer benefits, to ensure the quality of the grain it uses. Paul Caluag, Sante’s managing director for Philippine operations, says Hidayat’s commitment to health and wellness dovetails with the company’s mission to help people lead better lives.
30 offshore markets targeted
Although the company got a big boost from the unsolicited endorsement of the late singer-comedian April Boy Regino who said Santé products had helped him cope with his health issues, Marcelo says the merchandise they offer is not just for the sick but also for health and well-being.
“We are a wellness company,” he says.
With Santé Barley as its flagship brand, the company offers organic natural health and wellness products and services, formulated and developed by its own research and development team and designed to improve people’s quality of life.
One of the fastest growing distribution and direct selling companies globally, the company’s marketing strategy involves a network of distributors and resellers. Outside the Philippines, both its clients and sellers are primarily overseas Filipinos. The strategy has allowed the company to establish a presence in at least 10 countries.
Marcelo says, “We are able to ship our products to almost any part of the United States,” a favorite destination for Filipinos permanently leaving the Philippines.
As the Filipino expatriate community in Indonesia is relatively small, Santé hopes Indonesian official endorser Hidayat will speed up building a higher profile for its products and encourage people to be part of the company’s sales force.
Even as Santé is trying to establish a firm foothold in the Indonesian market, the company, whose products are already available in all continents, is planning to establish a formal presence in Saudi Arabia and Italy.
“In the next 10 years, we are hoping to open in at least 30 countries,” Marcelo says, “without sacrificing Philippine sales.” He adds that the local Santé clientele has evolved. “When we started, (we appealed mainly) to an older generation. Now, a younger generation likes our products.”
Sante has also opened the Santé Fitness Lab and added other natural products that aim to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Marcelo says his ultimate goal is to make Santé a household brand.