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Omega-3 chia leader: “We are running out of stock”

By Shane Starling at Vitafoods in Geneva , 24-May-2012

The South American-based chia seed leader, Benexia, says it is close to exhausting supplies as demand booms for the plant-sourced omega-3 source.

Benexia owner and general manager, Sandra Gaillot, told us at Vitafoods that new supply sources were being engaged to cope with an explosion of orders following positive consumer coverage in the Asia Pacific, Europe and elsewhere.

Benexia distributor in Europe, the just rebranded French ingredients group, Ingredia, confirmed orders had jumped in the previous 12 months for the ALA (alpha- linolenic acid) omega-3 source.

“We are running out of stock,” Gaillot relayed. “It is a problem but as far as problems go, it is a good one. We are increasing the growing area in Chile where we are based to cope.” 

Omega-3 in the spotlight

The admission comes at a Vitafoods show where omega-3 was one of the most talked about and prevalent ingredients with offerings featuring in portfolios from Asian players, European start-ups and the bigger firms.

With both BASF and DSM buying omega-3 firms in the past couple of weeks, there was much speculation about the motivation for the purchases, especially with two major omega-3 cardio drugs due to come off patent at the end of the year.

Both companies acknowledged pharma applications played a part in the acquisition decisions (Equateq and Ocean Nutrition Canada respectively), whilst not discounting the importance of the food-supplement space.

Look for a video interview with Michael Ceranski, the BASF senior vice president, global business unit, human nutrition, on that and the unit’s strategy in coming days. 

DSM warned it was considering action over possible infringements of patents held by its 2010 acquisition, Martek Biosciences, for algae omega-3 processing methods.

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