The Norwegian company said it was notified of the approval by the Finnish Food Safety Authority.
Prior to this approval, the ingredient could only be sold to non-EU countries such as Switzerland, Russia and Norway as well as the US.
“Our clients and potential clients knew this was coming, but, following many months of rumours and allegations, the approval brings with it welcome relief and enables us to accelerate our marketing strategy with European customers,” said Aker's EVP of sales and marketing Matts Johansen.
He told NutraIngredients.com that Aker has 2,000 tonnes of krill raw material warehoused and ready to be extracted to meet the expected demand from the big players on the European market now that the approval is in place.
And Johansen said that, while awaiting approval, the firm had been demonstrating to food manufactures and dietary supplement companies in the bloc that its lipid extract is safe, well tolerated and effective through the use of supporting clinical data.
He added that Aker will also be assisting companies in raising awareness of the health benefits of krill oil with European consumers to further increase interest in it.
The approval for Aker's krill ingredient comes in the wake of the injunction at the recent Food Ingredients Europe trade show in Frankfurt, Germany, where the company’s major competitor Neptune Technologies and Bioressources won an injunction over EU novel foods rules that saw bailiffs clear Aker’s stand of materials on the second morning of the show.
Aker's is the third EU novel foods approval for the extract from the micro-sized marine creature, with both Neptune and JFM Sunile's krill ingredients recently granted the status.
Market figures show krill is one of the most exciting sub-sectors of the omega-3 category that will grow to about $1.6bn in 2014 according to Frost & Sullivan figures.
Krill sales are a small percentage of this – probably not more than $15m – but they are growing fast in a market whose volume surged from 13,000 tonnes in 2008 to more than 17,500 tonnes in 2013, according to Euromonitor.
The science suggests the tiny sea creatures that collectively form the largest animal biomass in the world, have a highly nutritious blend of omega-3s and other antioxidants that could give them true superstar status in the areas of fortified foods and supplements.