Joining the two Norwegian companies at the meeting at Vitafoods last week were Indian supplier Viridis and New Jersey firm PLT Health as well as Japanese suppliers.
NattoPharma CEO Daniel Rosenbaum told us from Vitafoods the meeting had been positive for developing a standard and signalled closer cooperation in the sector.
“As vitamin K2 becomes bigger we need a common definition of quality – a common methodology – for measuring content and purity so we take out some of the confusion for customers.”
Kappa CEO Egil Greve said his firm was equally optimistic about the collaboration.
“The category is growing so fast so it is important we come together to discuss things because we want to make sure it is a sustainable product for the future,” Greve told us from the Vitafoods show floor.
There have been concerns about quality in the sector which features both naturally sourced and synthetic versions and it is expected a single standard will cover both types of the vitamin linked to bone, heart and skin health.
“If we have agreement from most of the players that this is a good thing for the industry and for the consumer then we can do this in a matter of months,” Rosenbaum said. “The data is there it is just a matter of agreeing on methodology that can encompass synthetic and natural material.”
“While there are technical matters to refine, there is broad agreement this is good for the industry. I was optimistic about the motivation of all who were there at the meeting.”
Show of force
Rosenbaum said once a quality standard was in place further cooperation could involve regulatory work, product development, research, media relations and the formation of a sector trade body.
A vitamin K2 trade group “is certainly an aspiration a few of us have” the CEO said.
Greve wouldn’t specify where problematic supply points existed but noted “when an ingredient grows like K2 has there will always be those who are not too concerned about quality and we want to make sure those that are concerned about quality can act together and show their customers what quality is about.”
“So we want to see how this can develop and maybe we can form a trade group too.”
Leading Italian supplier Gnosis said it had not been invited to the meeting but was keen to participate in the development of quality standards and other collaborations.
There are two main forms of vitamin K: phylloquinone, also known as phytonadione, (vitamin K1) which is found in green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli and spinach, and makes up about 90% of the vitamin K in a typical Western diet; and menaquinones (vitamins K2), which make up about 10% of Western vitamin K consumption and can be synthesised in the gut by microflora.
Menaquinones (MK-n: with the n determined by the number of prenyl side chains) can also be found in the diet; MK-4 can be found in animal meat, MK-7, MK-8, and MK-9 are found in fermented food products like cheese, and natto is a rich source of MK-7.