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China’s krill market opening up to newcomers

By RJ Whitehead , 14-Jan-2014

Canadian biotechnology company Neptune has followed its krill supply rivals Aker Biomarine in receiving New Food Raw Material certification in China, which allows the companies to sell their krill oil nutraceutical products in the county.

With a population of over 1.35 billion, China offers significant growth potential for Neptune,” said Henri Harland, Neptune’s president and chief executive.  

Consumer demand for nutraceutical products supporting health and wellness continues to expand in China and Neptune intends to capitalise on this important market. The Corporation already has sales representation in China and is actively pursuing sales opportunities.” 

Booming potential

A high proportion of young Chinese customers are opting for health products, with over two-thirds of consumers there buying products in that category, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. 

At the same time, the country is expected to overtake the US and Europe in the nutraceutical consumption of krill over the next five years to become the world’s biggest consumer.

Krill analyst Dimitri Sclabos has put on record that he believes that krill oil is the biggest nutraceutical on the Chinese market, prompting a boom in suppliers and end-product manufacturers.

Having both Neptune and Aker products available will be good news for the companies’ partners and consumers, although their bitter rivalry will no doubt make for frosty relations in the country.

However, there has been something of a thaw when last month the pair made peace over a number of disputes between the two companies and their subsidiaries over Neptune’s intellectual property.

Under a settlement and license agreement, Neptune has dismissed Aker from patent infringement lawsuits that were filed in federal court against the company. The Canadian firm has also agreed to grant Aker a global, non-exclusive license "to market and sell its nutraceutical products in patented countries.”

Enzymotec as well

Earlier this month, Enzymotec also announced that its K-Real krill oil received New Food Raw Material certification in China, taking it into competition with Neptune’s Nko and Eko products and Aker’s Superba line, as well as local products.

Enzymotec established an office in Shanghai two years ago and sells its krill oil in China through DKSH China.

“We believe China continues to represent a tremendous growth opportunity for us with a vast portion of the population increasingly consuming premium health and wellness products,” said Ariel Katz, president and chief executive officer of Enzymotec, at the time.

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