“Healthy snacking is not something Chinese consumers are familiar with so it’s a big challenge for us to educate the customer and create that awareness,” says Thurin, who serves as International Sales Director at Slim Secrets.
"Product values and benefits need to be explained in a culturally relevant way to Chinese consumers.” - Thurin
Creating that niche was a challenge. In Asia – and particularly China – Slim Secrets found traditional cultural ideas around weight-loss and meal replacement products were still common. Many convenience stores stocked confectionary and sugary drinks to fill the gap in between meals.
"[Our Chinese marketing is] not just a direct translation of our western advertising,” Thurin says. “The product values and benefits need to be explained in a culturally relevant way to Chinese consumers. In Australia, consumers recognise functional benefits such as high protein, low fat or low sugar. In China, consumers are more concerned with how it will make them feel."
“It’s the emotive side of it – feel good, look good – [which] really is a different kind of messaging.”
Thurin’s mother Sharon founded Slim Secrets in 2005 after working as a health-and-wellness coach. There she noticed a gap in the market for indulgent, tasty, nutritionally balanced snacks for suggesting to clients to eat between meals.
Originally meant only as a hobby, Slim Secrets has seen rapid growth which Thurin puts down to a mix of the niche opportunity presented at the time coupled with the constant evolution of its business and strategy.
“Our first experience with the China market was through a third-party trader selling our products online,” Thurin says. “There was really good traction and we realised there was an excellent opportunity to get involved in a much bigger way.”
Thurin joined Slim Secrets full time in 2015. The company has been exporting for over 12 years and is now present in 15 countries.
Since 2016 it has graduated from traditional retail channels to lucrative ecommerce platforms in Asia, including China’s Tmall and Taobao, as well as the Lazada platform in South East Asia.