Polaris targets vegan audience with “greener” omega-3 encapsulation

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/nicalfc
©iStock/nicalfc

Related tags: Vegetarianism

Biotechnology firm Polaris now make available its omega-3 algal oil in a vegetable-based capsule designed as an animal-free alternative to traditional gelatin capsules.

The capsules, which use marine-based carrageenan in its creation, is an option offered to consumers looking for a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly way to receive the benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

“We developed these capsules as a response to customer demand,”​ said Véronique Sanceau, marketing and communications manager at Polaris.

“The capsules are vegan-friendly, so its animal-free, non-GMO, allergen-free and halal and kosher certified.

“We are looking towards expanding the products in Asia and the US and recently received Kosher certification for these capsules a month ago. We expect to receive Halal certification by the end of this year.”

Along with sustainable sources of omega-3, manufacturers and suppliers are also looking to add to their environmental credentials by sourcing delivery methods that do not use animal-based material.

Firms like Capsugel have immediately responded offering vegetarian capsules made from resources such as pullulan, naturally fermented from tapioca.

The capsule giant already has a range of vegetarian delivery form offerings: Vcaps, Vcaps Plus, DRcaps that have been certified vegetarian by the Vegetarian Society in the UK.

Greener Qualitysilver process

Polaris have partnered with Cargill in a European-based collaboration involving the extraction and fermentation of DHA derived from the microalgae Schizochytrium sp​.

The DHA is extracted using a natural solvent-free enzymatic process that adds an additional purification step to get rid of possible traces of contaminants.

Speaking at FiE in Frankfurt, the French-based firm said they had refined existing methods with its proprietary ‘Qualitysilver’ stabilisation process that uses synergistic antioxidants to limit the onset and spread of the degradative process. 

“Omega-3 is a product very sensitive to oxidation,”​ said Sanceau. “This usually causes the undesirable taste associated with this oil. We have control over this oxidation process thanks to the Qualitysilver process.

A more sustainable omega-3 source

Introduced back in November last year under the Omegavie brand, the product, Omegavie DHA algae Qualitysilver 5, signifies Polaris’ shift towards vegetarian-source omega-3 to meet a growing consumer and market trend.

This demand is also met by other omega-3 specialists such as Nordic Naturals, DSM and Swedish agribusiness start-up Simris.

These firms look to replace unsustainable production methods with bio-based technologies using algae to develop environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and better products.

Challenges still remain as there is still a considerable price difference between marine and plant-based sources along with a claimed superior bioavailability in DHA extracted from fish.

The French-based firm claim one 250 milligram (mg) dose of the Omegavie DHA algae Qualitysilver 5, meets four health claims set out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that contribute to the maintenance of vision and brain function.

These generic health claims also include benefits extended to maternal intake, contributing to eye and brain development in breastfed children and the developing foetus.

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