"The two per cent astaxanthin beadlets are our entrance ticket to the European market," said Efrat Kat, marketing manager at Algatechnologies.
The global market for astaxanthin as an ingredient for human application products is expected to grow annually by at least 15 per cent, with current estimates valuing the market at $15-20m (€12.4-16.6m) per year.
Japan represents about half of the total market, with the US and Europe both being about 20 per cent each.
Kat told NutraIngredients.com that the vegetarian beadlets are one of their leading astaxanthin based products and that the demand for the vegetarian astaxanthin beadlets is significant, especially in the UK, Germany and Italy.
"Since the European market is setting high standards for the quality and the source of ingredients, and emphasizing the importance of using only efficacy proven active ingredients, we expect that sales of Algatechnologies' astaxanthin products will grow by more than 20 per cent annually," said Kat.
The astaxanthin is extracted from Haematococcus pluvialis algae cultures, by exploiting a natural energy source for its process - sunlight. Intense light puts the healthy green algae under stress so that they produce the bright red pigment astaxanthin in defence.
This red biomass is then delicately dried and shipped to the US in flakes where supercritical carbon dioxide extraction draws out the pure astaxanthin.
"We believe we are the first company to come to market with a gelatin-free astaxanthin solution. Our R&D team is developing new formulations of natural astaxanthin that will position Algatechnologies as a pioneer in this powerful antioxidant category." said Kat.
Astaxanthin has been suggested to have a free radical fighting capacity worth 500 times that of vitamin E.
The astaxanthin molecule can cross the blood brain barrier - unlike lycopene or beta-carotene - giving it the potential to positively impact the central nervous system and vision.
Research on animals and some human clinical trials have suggested that the carotenoid may help protect against cataracts and UVA damage to the skin, as well as a number of other serious conditions such as stroke.
This growing awareness among the manufacturer level and scientific community is pushing demand for the carotenoid, and Algatechnologies appear ideally placed to capitalize on this through its well-established worldwide network of selected distributors and agents.
"In Europe we are represented by leading companies in countries such as the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Holland and more. This year we will continue to expand our distribution channel especially in the CEE region," said Kat.