Less than two months after launching, Kiwi weight management supplement Calocurb has expanded into the US and is eyeing other markets.

Within the first week of its New Zealand launch, the company reported sales in the thousands and is already looking at countries including Japan and China.

The product which contains just three natural ingredients was the result of a $20 million grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and six years of research.

Calocurb chief executive Sarah Kennedy said the US had always been its target market.


"The US is the largest market in the world for weightloss. About 35 per cent of the adult population is overweight or obese and it's also the largest for weight supplements," Kennedy said.

"It sits at about $5.2 billion so we always knew that was our aim."

According to Kennedy, the product is the first in the world, made of natural ingredients, that acts by triggering the release of satiety hormones in the gut that signal the brain to stop eating.

The key ingredient is a specific extract of hop called Amarasate, canola oil grown in New Zealand and rosemary extract.

The New Zealand weight management market for slimming products is worth about $20 million a year and it's worth about $300 billion worldwide, although sales were typically dominated by meal replacement shakes.

Kennedy said the expansion plans might seem bold but the rollout is based on an e-commerce model making distribution easier.

"We have amazing support and digital really breaks down this tyranny of distance we have," she said.

Kennedy, a 25-year veteran in the health and wellbeing industry, described most weight management supplements as one of three types - fillers, metabolic stimulants and laxatives.

A specific New Zealand hop brand is the main ingredient in supplement Calocurb. Photo / file
A specific New Zealand hop brand is the main ingredient in supplement Calocurb. Photo / file

She said Calocurb sat apart from these and represented a new category.

In the US, supplements aren't given FDA approval as medications but instead gain a GRAS (generally recognised as safe) approval.

Calocurb is gearing up for sale on Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba and Kennedy said she was excited to continue expansion plans.

Lessons learned from the New Zealand launch also shaped the company's US strategy she said.

"Working through in-market conditions like real-time customer feedback, tech stack bugs, supply chain bottlenecks and media reception have made us a more resilient company and we're ready to upscale, fast," Kennedy said.

"Our speed to global markets is critical to stay ahead of the competition and protect this Kiwi product from copycat ventures that are bound to eventuate."