Like many new ingredients, Romega is something of an overnight success that took a number of years, but the ingredient’s gestation period has been shorter than some. The company, based in the fjords of western Norway, officially launched at the Vitafoods show in Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. CEO Hogne Hallaråker and other company officials started their foray into the US market at that year’s Supply Side West show to seek potential customers and distributors. The company has found one now in Originates, an Aventura, FL-based ingredient supplier that will represent the company in the US market.
Romega actually refers to one of three different concentrations of the ingredient, offered 28%, 30% and 50% phospholipid concentrations and varying amounts of EPA and DHA. The phospholipids taken from the roe are blended with fish oil triglycerides to adjust viscosity. While the ingredient is, like krill oil, rich in phospholipids, it offers more DHA than EPA, a flip of the coin from krill. Romega features as much as 300 mg of DHA per serving, depending on the ingredient type. What’s more important, though, is how those molecules are bound within the ingreident, Hallaråker said.
“Our ingredient has the highest ration of omega-3s bound to the phospholipids,” he told NutraIngredients-USA.
Arctic Nutrition has trademarked a name for this new class of ingredients, calling it MOPL, for Marine Omega-3 Phospholipids. The company makes similar statements about digestive tolerability and bioavailability as other phospholipids suppliers, such as the krill companies.
Protein from roe
In addition to omega-3s, the company is also debuting a protein ingredient taken from the herring roe, Hallaråker said. The source material is a powerful font of high quality ingredients, because it is the basis for new life, he said.
“In the fish egg you have the perfect ratio of fats to proteins. You have all the essential amino acids, they’re all there,” he said.
What’s also usually there, too, is a powerful smell and taste. Norwegian palates are used to and are trained to relish strong fishy tastes, Hallaråker said. He spoke glowingly of a powerfully-smelling fermented Norwegian fish dish that made even this fish-loving reporter struggle to keep down his lunch during Hallaråker’s description of the food’s slimy charms. Even with his nostalgic connection to those sorts of foods, Hallaråker said he knew that couldn’t fly in most markets.
In response, the company, using the deep talent pool in marine ingredient extraction available in western Norway, has developed a processing technology that yields a remarkably mild-tasting ingredient. The raw powder sampled at the show had a bland, neutral taste with very little if any fishy note that promises easy formulation. It’s a concentrated ingredient, offering 8.5 grams of protein in 10 grams of powder, and also offers a big of omega-3s in the bargain (10 mg of EPA and 20 mg of DHA).
“For us, taste was the biggest hurdle. The protein score came out very good,” Hallaråker said.