Called Rimfrost Sublime, the new ingredient is concentrated to 60% phospholipid content. Rimfrost’s director of sales and marketing, John Cameron, told NutraIngredients-USA at the Supply Side West trade show in Las Vegas that the new ingredient addresses a need in the krill space, the need for innovative new products, something he said has been lacking.
Injecting innovation into category
“We think this ingredient is a key part of the next step for the category. Krill as an ingredient has not gone a fundamental change since it was introduced,” he said. Krill oil, pioneered as a dietary supplement ingredient by Canadian company Neptune Technologies and Bioressources, has been in the market at a 40% to 42% phospholipid content for more than 15 years, Cameron said.
Rimfrost, like fellow Norwegian competitor Aker BioMarine, operates its own fleet and so is vertically integrated, but that’s where the similarity stops, said research director Inge Bruheim.
“We have a totally different processing technology on board. We have a very gentle processing technology that allows us to concentrate the krill oil without oxidation and without having the oil become too viscous,” he said.
Bruheim said the new approach creates a fundamentally different ingredient. Concentration boosts the astaxanthin content of the final ingredient (krill typically contains some astaxanthin, enough to give it is characteristic color, but in its base form there isn’t enough to be therapeutically relevant). And, Bruheim said, having the additional phospholipid content would allow a product marketer to start talking about some of the health properties of the phospholipids themselves independent of the EPA and DHA molecules bound to them. One of the constituents of phospholipids is choline, and Bruheim said the new concentration makes this molecule relevant in the finished product.
“It’s part of the phospholipid fraction. Krill oil at this concentration can actually function as a choline source, and we think that has been overlooked. Choline has some EU approved health claims in the area of fatty liver and lipid metabolism,” Bruheim said.
The sustainability of the sources of marine ingredients has been an issue almost from their introduction into the marketplace. Krill are found in many areas of the world’s oceans, with the species used in the krill oil trade, Euphasia superba, ranging in the waters of the so-called Southern Ocean that rings Antarctica. The harvesting of krill in these waters is managed by intergovernmental body the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Cameron said Rimfrost via its parent company Olympic Seafood AS is a full participant in this process and that the company has cleared significant sustainability hurdles in the past year.
“Nothing about krill is particularly easy but the supply seems to be very stable. We now have full MSC cerfification and we have added Friend of the Sea certification in the past year, both pointing to the fact that this is a responsibly harvested resource,” Cameron said.
Having to operate in such far off waters that are often stormy and are ridden with icebergs for parts of each year is what makes krill as an ingredient expensive to start with. Wouldn’t concentrating the ingredient, thus requiring more raw material for each bottle on the shelf, make it even that much more pricey? Cameron said Rimfrost the benefits of choline along with the boosted astaxanthin content will provide a viable value proposition for customers.
“We think this opens up the new applications for krill oil. This is certainly a high value product, and we genuinely believe brand owners will see that value,” he said.
Bruheim said Rimfrost is in the process of providing scientific evidence to underpin that high value positioning.
“We have done an absorption study showing superior bioavailability,” Bruheim said. “We have more human studies planned in the area of brain health and heart health. Some will come this year and more next year.”