If there is one good thing to have come out of Covid it is that people have become more aware of their health.
That awareness has resulted in international demand for New Zealand wellness products and is helping one Hawke's Bay company break into new export markets and increase sales.
Adashiko, based in Taradale, is now exporting its range of beauty and wellness collagen products to consumers and retailers in more than 30 countries globally including Iceland, Brazil, Germany and France.
Luci Firth, Adashiko CEO, says her unique company makes quality products.
"Ten years ago people didn't really know much about collagen and when I started with Adashiko it was the first company to bring collagen powder into the country," Luci said.
"I started using it and had such incredible results my friends and family wanted to try and it and it has just grown from there."
In 2006 Luci bought the company from founder Yuko Arquett.
Today the Australian, US and European markets are among the company's fastest-growing.
"What we are seeing is substantial growth in the wellness market but also a trend where consumers are becoming more discerning and actually asking questions about the source of the products they consume.
"New Zealand's international brand equity has been considerably fortified over this time through our visible efforts in controlling Covid-19 and this has had a halo effect on brands such as ours," she said.
"In the past five years people have learnt a lot more about collagen. As we age our body loses collagen which is a protein. Our holistic collagen drink helps replenish the loss and helps with healthy hair, nails, skin and can help your gut as well," Luci said.
While the majority of their business is done online, Adashiko products, which includes a full skincare range started by Luci, are available in pharmacies and beauty salons throughout Hawke's Bay including Gilmours Pharmacy in Havelock North, Ahuriri Pharmacy in Napier and Mahora Pharmacy in Hastings.
Firth says their break into the US retail market came recently after they were sought out by a Californian doctor.
"We have one US clinic run by a doctor that actually prescribes our products to her patients, she approached us having researched our collagen range and now sells more of our products per store than any other of our outlets," she said.
Firth says while the pandemic has been a significant boost for their direct to consumer sales, they have had to temporarily suspend their transtasman expansion as travel restrictions and retail closures prevent them from opening more doors in the Australia market.
She says the recent completion of a two-year planned move into sustainable packaging has coincided with an increased consumer focus.
"It took us some time to trial a range of environmentally friendly packaging that met both our sustainability standards and was shelf-stable.
"We have moved our Cleanse skincare line to a new product casing which is made from corn starch and bamboo, it is 100 per cent compostable but acts like a healthy plastic.
"I'm excited to see how much further we can go. We believe in quality products — that's our first priority."