AlaskOmega set to make omega-3 sustainability splash in European market

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Omega-3 fish oil, Omega-3 fatty acid

Organic Technologies says its supply chain ensures the quality and sustainability of its AlaskOmega line of omega-3 ingredients.
Organic Technologies says its supply chain ensures the quality and sustainability of its AlaskOmega line of omega-3 ingredients.
Ohio-based fish oil supplier Organic Technologies is expanding its distribution into Europe.  But instead of trading on the “made in USA” angle that plays well for its AlaskOmega ingredients domestically and elsewhere in the world, the company plans to rely on its sustainability bona fides.

The company has announced an exclusive distribution agreement with Bioriginal Europe/Asia B.V. for its line of AlaskOmega Omega-3 fish oil nutritional ingredients for sale into European and related countries. AlaskOmega is a broad Omega-3 ingredient line consisting of natural wild Alaskan fish oils, ethyl ester (EE) concentrates, and triglyceride (TG) concentrates.

“I think that our main unique selling point in Europe is the MSC certification for our concentrates,”​ Dan Wiley, vice president of Organic Technologies told NutraIngrendients-USA. “The US is not so popular in Europe.”

Made in USA message

Organic Technologies has built the story of the brand around its source in the Alaskan pollock fishery.  This fishery has been maintained in sustainable condition for decades.

The Marine Stewardship Council first certified the fishery in 2005. MSC certifies fisheries around the world on a set of criteria that evaluate each fishery’s sustainability credentials that include what process controls are in place.

The Alaskan pollock fishery is primarily a human food source, and Organic Technologies derives its oil from the parts of the fish left over after filets are cut and packaged for market, which provides an added sustainability boost.  The company says it is currently the only fish oil source to have obtained MSC certification, although it is not the only omega-3 source to be so certified; Aker Biomarine, after working with the Norway chapter of the World Wildlife Fund on sustainability issues decided to go a step further to have its krill fishery in Antarctica certified by MSC​.  And the Peruvian anchovy fisheries, where the overwhelming majority of world’s supply of omega-3s serving comes from, is said to be “well placed”​ to achieve MSC certification​ sometime in the relatively near future.

Organic Technologies boasts a dedicated supply chain, with its own tanker cars to take the oil from rendering plants in Alaska directly to its processing facility in Coshocton, OH, were the oil is further processed for market into the various EE and TG grades for market, which include up to an 85% concentrate version.

For the domestic market, the company uses a “Caught in Alaska, refined in Ohio”​ tagline for its AlaskOmega line.  And the “made in USA” message plays well in Asian markets, where US-made nutritional ingredients are often seen as being higher quality and more reliably pure than local alternatives.  Those pluses don’t hold true for the EU, Wiley said.

Sustainability advantage

“Our advantage is really around the sustainability certification,”​ Wiley said. “We are offering similar grades to what other companies are offering.”

Nevertheless, the rising tide of demand for omega-3s floats all boats, and Wiley said, and there is room for growth for all sources, even though that growth has been suppressed in Europe because of flat line economic conditions.

“I know that the growth there is slower than the US.  I think it’s about a 3% to 6% yearly growth rate. It’s not as robust a market as Asia or the United States,”​ Wiley said.

But the company has received enough orders from Europe since the MSC certificaiotn of the fishery to warrant seeking a distribution there.

“It’s a more complicated regulatory environment with all the member states of the EU,”​ Wiley said. “We chose Bioriginal because they have the experience in handling essential fatty acids.  They know what EPA and DHA are and they know how to sell them.”

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