Norwegian firm Pronova Biocare is investing more than €6 million in its production facilities to meet the rapid growth in the market for marine omega-3 fatty acids over the last year.
Knut Harg, president of Pronova Biocare, said expansion of facilities, targeted mainly for the Alesund plant, will result in an output potential several times that of the existing production capacity.
The first batches from the new plant, under construction since May this year, will be produced in January and full capacity is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2004.
Process equipment will be supplied by world-class manufacturers and the plant is being built according to strict Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards. Advanced production technology and process control will also be implemented, said Pronova Biocare.
The firm says it has seen longer lead times than normal this year and until the new plant is ready, it will continue to experience periods of tight supply.
New trials published this year have continued to confirm the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids particularly on heart health, but also on mental health with new research suggesting fish oils may have a role in slowing Alzheimer's and preventing depression.
Intensive marketing and increased health preoccupations will help consumer awareness of these benefits and the market is also likely to benefit from new applications in the fortification of foods such as bread, dairy, eggs. Infant formula is already widely fortified with fatty acids.