Alberto Galdamez, sales director at Nevada-based Coral LLC told NutraIngredients-USA that his firm was “working on introducing a new calcium carbonate ingredient derived from above sea coral which we think has a huge potential”.
Meanwhile, sales at this firm had increased by 30% in the past two years, he said: “We are actually doing very well.”
Firms saw chance to make a fast buck
He added: “The coral calcium trade had some bad press a few years back over false, unsubstantiated health claims made by some companies about coral calcium.
“Did this dent sales? Yes. During the time when some companies were making unsustainable health claims; coral sales were experiencing a boom. During this period many companies decided to enter the coral calcium market as they saw the opportunity to make some quick money.
“Once the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission got involved, many of the companies selling coral calcium disappeared and one was shut down. Although this hurt sales in general, it was needed to clear the coral calcium market from those making unsubstantiated claims.”
What is so special about coral calcium?
Coral LLC makes a branded supplement line from coral which is sold through health food stores, plus private label finished products for a range of customers. It also supplies raw ingredients to supplement makers, which were increasingly combining calcium with everything from “magnesium to coenzymes, vitamin D3, Vitamin K, and glucosamine”, said Galdamez.
“Our bulk coral business keeps growing but so does our private label business, and finished products.”
Its coral calcium is harvested from ‘above sea’ white fossilized coral heads which are protected beneath a layer of soil, he said.
“Above sea coral is much more expensive than oyster shell, limestone, and calcium citrate; the prices can go up to four times higher. In general, coral prices have gone down but our prices have always been consistent and so has our quality.”
But customers are prepared to pay a premium, he said: “Our customers see coral as a superior product compared to other calcium and mineral products."