By Elaine Watson, Nutra Ingredients USA
Aker BioMarine is aiming to launch a novel powdered product from Antarctic krill “without using expensive and dilutive microencapsulation technology” by the end of this year.
Executive vice president Matts Johansen said: "Development is underway of a proprietary powdered product made from Antarctic krill.
“This is a unique product, produced on-board our vessel in the Antarctic ocean. Its properties will allow use of beneficial krill phospholipid omega-3s in tablets and other dry forms without using expensive and dilutive microencapsulation technology.”
Johansen, who was speaking to NutraIngredients-USA after Aker BioMarine published its second quarter results earlier this week, added: “It can also be used in food applications. We will get back with more details once the product is ready for launch.”
Slow boat to China
Aker BioMarine, which is based in Norway but sells almost three quarters of its Superba Krill oil in the US, recently struck a deal to supply a Chinese customer with a minimum of 230 metric tons of krill oil over the next five years.
In a statement accompanying its second quarter results, it said: “Permit and licensing approvals are expected in the second half of 2011, which would allow the first deliveries to be made by the year-end or in early 2012.”
Aker, which sold a record 61 metric tons of Superba Krill Oil in the second quarter of 2011 compared with 46t in the second quarter of 2010, posted an 11.5 percent rise in revenues to 87m Norwegian Kroner ($15.98m).
Operating income before depreciation and amortization was up 71.4 percent rise in to 24m Norwegian Kroner ($4.41m), while net losses from continuing operations were 9m Norwegian Kroner ($1.65m).
First joint health application
The firm, which is also developing a range of “more refined Superba Krill oil products for end products featuring higher specification and quality parameters”, has recently entered into its first agreement for Superba to be used in a joint health product.
More detail about Superba’s prospects in the functional food and beverage market would be provided shortly, added the firm, which said “specific partnered projects” in this market were well underway.
While its application to Norwegian authorities for a krill harvesting license for the Antarctic Navigator factory trawler had been unsuccessful, bosses were exploring “alternative solutions to enable deployment of two vessels”, said Johansen.
“There are several options available, ranging from getting a license from a different nation, to taking over an existing vessel - and license. We are still reviewing options, and have not concluded yet.”
Schiff Nutrition’s MegaRed Omega-3 Krill Oil (which uses Superba oil) is now the top-selling omega-3 supplement sold in food, drug and mass merchandise stores in the US (excluding Walmart) according to IRI sales data (year to May 29), said the firm.
What is krill?
Krill are deepwater marine planktonic crustaceans that look like tiny shrimps.
Krill oil is an excellent source of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are rendered more bioavilable because they are carried by phospholipids rather than triglycerides (as in fish oil).
It is also naturally contains antioxidants including astaxanthin, as well as vitamins E and A, which makes it more stable than other sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The harvesting of Antarctic krill for human consumption (as opposed to fish feed) is relatively recent and is monitored by international organization the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.