Pharma Marine has been trying to crack the world’s biggest market for dietary supplements since Norwegian entrepreneurs Leif Kjetil Gjendemsjø and Asgeir Sæbø started production of omega-3 ingredients in 2009.
Now a number of firms in the US, including Amway, Irwin Naturals, Purity Products, Metagenics and Standard Process, market supplements containing Calamarine.
Expansion into other markets has taken some time owing to the approvals processes Calamarine has had to go through, the company’s CEO Leif Kjetil Gjendemsjø, told Nutraingredients.com.
“Because calamari is a new omega-3 ingredient source, we had to go through approvals processes to ensure its legality,” he said.
Norway was the first European market to approve Calamarine two years ago, and consumers there can buy capsules containing the DHA-rich oil under the VitoMaris brand. Novel Food status followed in March last year, opening up the rest of Europe. Calamarine has also been approved by the Canadian authorities and is in the process of being authorised in Australia.
Pharma Marine has set up partnerships with Euro Caps Ltd in the UK, NutraQ in Scandinavia and Pathway in Australia and New Zealand to take advantage of the opportunities created by these approvals.
“Until now we have been selling directly from Norway,” said Gjendemsjø. “Our strategy is to establish an in-country presence in those markets that are biggest for us, and that tends to be the markets with the longest tradition of omega-3 consumption.”
Dietary supplement focus
Although omega-3 ingredients have wide application in food products as well as dietary supplements, Pharma Marine’s sights are firmly set on dietary supplements, for reasons explained by Gjendemsjø.
“The food industry wants natural oils, whereas our focus is to make higher concentrates which are less stable than natural oils. There are no stability or oxidation issues when they are used in capsules,” he said.
To satisfy growing demand from the dietary supplement industry Pharma Marine is more than doubling the size of its production facility near Aalesund.
“Demand for Norwegian omega-3 ingredients is growing globally. In 1989 there was one omega-3 oil producer in the region. Today Omegaland, the regional cluster of seven seafood businesses on the west coast of Norway, accounts for 30 per cent of omega-3 supply to the global dietary supplement industry.”
Once the expansion project is completed in September, the capacity of the facility, which Gjendemsjø describes as “a model for green efficiency”, will be in excess of 1,000 tonnes.
Besides Calamarine, which is produced from the trimmings of food-grade calamari, the plant will process other marine oils, including Oceans omega-3, which is derived from the byproducts of seafood production.