Crystallisation offers high-dose omega-3 potential

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Related tags: Omega-3 fatty acid

Scottish omega-3 supplier, Equateq, has launched high-dose omega-3 forms using a crystallisation method it says “offers a real alternative to other methods of concentration”.

The range employs low-temperature crystallisation, a method chief executive officer, Adam Kelliher, said permits improved separation of various lipid elements such as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

“This is about bringing added value to omega-3s,”​ he told this morning. “The nutritional area is more interested in high-quality, high-dose supplements than ever before and this range and technology is targeting that space. Nobody else is offering omega-3 in this form in western markets.”

The Crystalpure line, as it is called, sells for between €20-€35 per kilogram, and eschews concentration methods that can result in ethyl ester or reconstituted triglyceride, which Equateq said can be problematic as it is banned in countries like Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Crystalpure is manufactured at low temperatures that enables saturates and mono-unsaturates to be transformed into crystals, which facilitates, “the physical separation of the polyunsaturated stream.”

Equateq said it can deliver 50 per cent omega-3 triglyceride that can be sourced from algae, fish or plant sources and which had oxidisation and food matrix stability benefits.

The company splits its business between pharma and nutraceutical clients, noting its concentrations for pharma were all about being “super pure”​, whereas nutra was much more about offering customised blends.

“But all our ingredients are manufactured to pharma standards,”​ he said.

Omega-3 market

Kelliher said the omega-3 market remained “stable in areas”​ despite some high-profile product withdrawals from the likes of Muller and Unilever.

“A lot of the hype about omega-3 has diffused so that has had an effect but the trend is still for clear growth,”​ he said. “There is so much clinical evidence backing its benefits, the medical rationale is so strong and so it is not going to go away.”

Most market analysts agree, with projections by Frost & Sullivan set at an impressive 24 per cent annual growth, and a global market worth $1.6bn by 2014.

Health claims

Kelliher said the European Union nutrition and health claims process was having a negative effect on the industry what he considered “robust dossiers” ​were being rejected by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

“They are being incredibly stringent and applying pharma criteria to nutritional ingredients which is slamming the door in the faces of consumers and industry,”​ he observed. “It is much more hard line than people expected.”

Equateq has been in the fish oil business since 2006 and makes omega-3 oils up to 99 per cent grade, including omega-3 forms such as DPA (docosapentaenoic acid).

It will be presenting its new range at Vitafoods in Geneva next week.

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