The Japanese ingredients maker says it controlled 50 percent of the US CoQ10 market, from 1994 to 2000, until its supplier took the antioxidant directly to market. In the following years, CoQ10 rose in demand and price as Japanese manufacturers struggled to meet domestic demand.
Kyowa Hakko is the latest of many CoQ10 manufacturers to lay a stake in this ingredient niche, but is unusual because it is coming back after leaving the market all together.
The company will manufacture its original proprietary CoQ10 in its production facilities in Japan, by means of its patented non-yeast fermentation technology. Kyowa claims it was a pioneer in the CoQ10 industry, marketing the ingredient in the US in 1985.
"Kyowa is actually unlike many CoQ10 suppliers as we were involved from the beginning and now can offer cost effective forms of both the ingredient CoQ10 and a soft-gel form directly to manufacturers/retailers," Kyowa Hakko director of marketing Karen Todd told NutraIngredients-USA.com.
Historically four Japanese players have dominated the CoQ10 market with the capacity to supply multi-ton quantities of the ingredient. Three produce CoQ10 through a fermentation process, similar to Kyowa Hakko, and one through organic synthesis.
However, in 2002, there was a drop in quantities available for export from Japan following ease in regulations that caused the ingredient to be used in more locally sold products. This export shortage coincided with a scientific study presenting strong evidence CoQ10 could slow the progression of the neurodegenerative disease Parkinson's.
As consumers clamored for supplements containing the antioxidant, formulators have sought to meet this demand.
"…we have been constantly asked to enter back into the marketplace," said Todd of Kyowa Hakko's rationale for re-entering the market. "It was our way of answering the call and provide a product that has positive health effects..."
Last year supply was reported to be so tight that the on-the-spot price of CoQ10 was said to have reached between US$4000 and $5000 per kg.
By the beginning of May this year the on-the-spot price was said to have dropped to around $1500 per kilo - a significant come-down as the major manufacturers increased capacity to meet demand.
A fat-soluble substance found naturally in all forms of animal life, CoQ10 is present in cell membrane and is vital in the production of energy. Considered the power plant of the human body, it has especially high concentration in the heart.
CoQ10 is used as a dietary supplement, with the rationale that boosting intake of the nutrient could support cellular metabolism, particularly in cells with energy deficiencies.
Kyowa Hakko also makes branded ingredients Cognizin, Citicoline, Resilen and Lumistor.