A growing number of consumers are paying more attention to their physical health. They’e eating more sustainable diets and exercising regularly in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, as well as taking food supplements to prevent health problems.

Breaking Barriers

Sweden has long been known for its natural produce, healthy living and healthcare awareness, and the country is home to many high-quality food and nutrition brands. However, due to intense competition and culture differences, there are high barriers for Swedish brands wanting to expand into the Asian market on their own. Seeing these challenges, Business Sweden is committed to providing Swedish health and nutrition brands with one-stop market entry and growth support services.

AstaReal AB is a Swedish company that specialises in natural astaxanthin production. With around 30 years’ operating  in the Nordics, it has built up its Astaxin brand to lead market share in the region. The company noted Asian consumers’ shift towards healthier living and therefore decided to explore opportunities in the region. They picked China as the first entry point due to its huge market volume, but struggled to  devise an entry strategy and find the right local partners to help grow the brand.

Business Sweden teamed-up with AstaReal from the beginning. Starting with strategic planning, Business Sweden bridged the information gap between brand and local market, providing AstaReal with information including market size, consumer profiling, sales and marketing strategy analysis, in order to help the company build up its own knowledge in a short period of time. Concurrently, Business Sweden also helped AstaReal set up its own network in China by recruiting its first employees as well as selecting online sales and marketing partners to help grow the Astaxin brand.

TrySwedish: Empowering Swedish food and beverage Brands

In 2023, TrySwedish, Business Sweden’s food programme, launched the Sweden Food National Pavilion on Tmall, a leading e-commerce platform in China. A few Swedish health and nutrition brands were on board, of which Astaxin was one and it has been a star brand of the store ever since. As a government-subsidised programme, the Tmall store opened up an official sales channel for the brand and gave it government endorsement. Besides selling products via e-commerce platforms, TrySwedish also plans marketing opportunities for Swedish brands, such as regular exposure on social media accounts, cooperation with celebrities for brand promotion, and organising sports and exercises activities. TrySwedish reduces the time and cost for a Swedish brand to explore new markets compared to if they did it on their own and promotes Swedish health and nutrition brands as a team.

Today, Astaxin is represented in China by a core team of three employees and has flagship stores operating on several major e-commerce platforms, ranking second in sales in the astaxanthin segment. AstaReal is also working in parallel on developing new product categories for local markets, extending from the original astaxanthin capsules to skincare products and functional foods. Moving forward, they are also planning to explore more opportunities in offline channels and in other Asian markets as well.


With established brand awareness in the Nordics and a strong R&D background, AstaReal wanted to explore growth potential in Asian markets. Business Sweden was approached and asked to develop a blueprint strategy, as well as utilise local networks to help AstaReal achieve organic growth in the market.


Business Sweden provided a one-stop service package to support AstaReal’s expansion into the Chinese market, starting with a defined market strategy to navigate the overall market opportunities and develop its brand positioning. Moreover, Business Sweden conducted trade and marketing partner searchers to help build up sales and social media presence, as well as support local recruitment in Shanghai.


AstaReal AB has now built a core team in China and has entered long-term relationship with local partners to handle online sales and marketing activities. The company is also continuously expanding its product offerings, from supplements to skincare and functional foods, as well as adding vegan-friendly categories to reach out to a wider consumer base.

About AstaReal AB

AstaReal AB is a global pioneer and expert in natural astaxanthin production, R&D and clinical science. In the early 1990s, the company established its first production facility in Gustavsberg, Sweden becoming the first in the world to commercially produce natural astaxanthin. It’s star product Astaxin® is the first human nutritional supplement containing a natural source of astaxanthin and has been recognized by the Swedish Cross Country Ski Team since 1995.


Are you interested in learning about Asian markets and exploring how Business Sweden can take your brand into the region? Please contact Windy Liu