‘Ocean ginseng’: Aussie brand eyes big opportunities in China for sea cucumber collagen skin care

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Bescher is seeking success in China’s skin care market by tapping into its fondness for sea cucumber. [Bescher]
Bescher is seeking success in China’s skin care market by tapping into its fondness for sea cucumber. [Bescher]

Related tags: Australia, clean & ethical beauty, Collagen

Queensland-based luxury skin care brand Bescher is seeking success in China’s skin care market by tapping into its fondness for sea cucumber, a culinary delicacy among Chinese.

Despite their name, sea cucumbers are marine invertebrates belonging to the echinoderm group, which includes starfishes and sea urchins. They have a long history as a delicacy in Chinese cuisine and are believed to have medicinal value.

“Sea cucumbers have an interesting natural defence mechanism which causes them to spit out their guts when a predator is near. To regenerate its organs, it has unique connective tissues called Mutable Collagenous Tissues. So, if you cut a sea cucumber into four, it can regenerate its whole body back within weeks,” ​explained founder Renee Alyce.

Founded in August 2019, Bescher has developed three skin care products with sea cucumber type-I collagen, which it believes to be is superior to other conventional collagen, like bovine or fish collagen.

“The biomedical-grade sea cucumber collagen we source for Bescher constitutes an ideal standard for collagen purity, functionality, and one of the most native-like collagens available as of today. It is non-mammalian, BSE, and disease vector free, non-cytotoxic and bioresorbable and biocompatible,” ​said Alyce.

What makes sea cucumber sought after is their value-added compounds that have various therapeutic and healing properties, she added.

“These compounds are triterpene glycosides, carotenoids, bioactive peptides, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, collagens, gelatins, chondroitin sulfates, and amino acids.”

In recent years, the medicinal value of sea cucumbers has been validated through scientific research and have shown to have properties such as wound healing.

“Given their medical and nutritional properties, sea cucumber collagen could also become the next staple ingredient in one’s beauty routine,” ​believes Alyce.

As topical skin care, sea cucumber collagen can help to delay the visible signs of ageing as well as reduce skin redness and irritation.

While the company has not yet validated its claims scientifically, the company has amassed anecdotal evidence in the form of customer testimonials. Alyce told us one of the firm’s goals moving forward was to attain clinical proof of the efficacy of its products.

China: The ‘dream goal’

Currently, the brand is more focused on its impending entry into the Chinese skin care market, which Alyce said has been a “dream goal”.

“My goal was always to get into Asia, China in particular. If you speak to anyone from China they will be able to tell you the health benefits of sea cucumber – it’s their ocean ginseng.”

Bescher has already been approached by “one of the biggest” retailers in China and Hong Kong to take the brand into the market via online and offline channels. The brand is set to enter both markets by the end of this year.

This venture is also pushing the company to develop more products. This year, it is set to launch five products, including a cleanser, brightening serum and eye cream.

The firm has more products on its development pipeline, including a sea cucumber collagen skin care supplement.

Now in its second year, the company is aiming to surpass $1m in sales this year.

Sustainable sourcing

According to the firm, it sources its sea cucumber collagen from suppliers that “specialise in the research and development of marine biotechnology.”

“Through cutting-edge scientific innovations our suppliers harvest from unaltered marine ecosystems providing more advanced, safer and higher quality active ingredients while using marine resources sustainably and promoting a precautionary approach towards conservation,” said Alyce.

“They are all about preserving the marine environment and work with local communities every year to return young sea cucumbers to their habitat for further growth and maintaining a sustainable environment.”

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