Gold Coast’s Amazonia to supplement superfood success with R&D hub launch

Gold Coast’s Amazonia to supplement superfood success with R&D hub launch

Amazonia founder Dwayne Martens.

Health food and supplements company Amazonia will move into its new 1,450 sqm worldwide headquarters in Arundel on the Gold Coast next month, which will act as a launchpad for its expansion into the Asian market.  

Most known in Australia for its frozen acai energy superfood packs, the business hopes to bid farewell to a very “challenging” manufacturing environment by bringing more production in-house in a bid to boost margins.

Amazonia is already one of the largest suppliers of frozen acai in the United Arab Emirates, Europe, and Australia, and a leading supplier of plant-based supplements to South Korea. But founder Dwayne Martens believes the move into a new research and development innovation lab will allow the company to expand its international reach.

“There's a very strong appetite for health and quality and authenticated foods from a growing middle, and upper class looking for quality,” Amazonia founder Dwayne Martens tells Business News Australia.

“Australia really has that premium quality position still, and providing that need is just a matter of demand and supply. We are in Europe, New Zealand, the MENA region (UAE and Saudi Arabia) and South Korea, and we're now moving quite strongly into Southeast Asia.

“We already have quite an extensive international business, with plenty of growth to go, and now it's about ensuring that we securely and robustly grow those areas. The innovation hub allows us to do that more effectively as we are producing and in control a lot more, which is very exciting.”

With a range of more than 70 products in its stable, the leading plant-based protein, supplements and health food business will offer contract manufacturing services to partners at the hub, but its main focus will be brand innovation.

Martens hopes to drive a business-wide innovation mentality by setting up its new state-of-the-art office on-site, making it a creative centre for sustainable experimentation with plant-sourced superfoods.

“Our new innovation hub will become the global headquarters for our growing team, as well as the place where we innovate with plant-sourced nutrition to develop new ways to supplement with nutrient-dense products,” Martens says.

“With the launch of our new innovation hub next month, we will be able to experiment with new product varieties and turn them into future products while expanding on our global footprint through new distribution channels and product launches in other countries worldwide.”

Although the business has successfully launched several new products in Coles (ASX: COL), Woolworths (ASX: WOW) and Chemist Warehouse during the past year, it has not been smooth sailing.

As an established operation with solid and robust supply chains, access to sustainable foods has not been a problem, but transporting them has been a different story.

It has experienced increasing container ship prices and difficulty accessing roads and refrigerated containers, but Martens is proud of how the business managed each new setback.

He believes Amazonia’s reputation and longevity are at the forefront of what sets it apart from a growing number of competitors entering the space.

“We’ve always based ourselves on authenticity and quality goods, we may not have huge marketing budgets, but we do have quality produce,” Martens says.

“Our consumers relate and understand that, and it's quite visible as you can feel and know that these are good quality products. We want to position ourselves as a brand that provides value for every dollar spent.

“A lot of people are becoming more value orientated at this point, especially with rising living costs, and we want to be there for value.”

Martens cites the business’ acai pure as an example, which has seven times the amount of antioxidants than fresh blueberries. He believes people don’t want to be spending money on inefficient foods, especially when there’s an alternative available for better value.

He says communicating this standpoint through word-of-mouth makes up a component of the business marketing budget alongside the quality of its goods and value for money.

Amazonia was established in 2008 by the 2016 Gold Coast Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner Dwayne Martens and his business partner Chris Norden.

Martens started the Amazonia brand after spending years marketing little-known exotic fruits to local cafes in Western Australia from his base in Fremantle and running several portable juice bars.

Amazonia is a certified organic business which sources its ingredients locally and from around the world, depending on where the component is natively grown.

Its raw proteins are made from organic golden pea protein grown in Alberta, Canada and organic brown rice protein is produced in Northern China.

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