The company, which has endured a circuitous path to market, now has four products with improved formulas on shelves in two smaller natural foods retailers: Akins stores, a small natural food chain in the Midwest, and Chamberlains stores in Florida. CEO Dr. Marvin Heuer, MD, had previously said the company was entering the market via Whole Foods Markets and GNC stores in Canada, but those discussions have yet to bear fruit, though they are ongoing.
“We are close with Shoppers and with Whole Foods in Canada,” Dr. Heuer told NutraIngredients-USA. “We have applied to have products in GNC franchise stores and we are meeting with GNC corporate.”
The company, which at one time was named Solutions 4CO2, had its start in developing an algae production technology. More recently the company has licensed the extraction technology of krill oil supplier Neptune and has been working to apply it to extracting omega-3 oils from several species of cold water shrimp. The shrimp oils exhibit a phospholipid profile that is similar to krill and has similar bioavailability advantages, according to the company. BlueOcean recently brought a joint venture for the shrimp oil completely within house when it bought out for a nominal amount partner Quinlan Brothers, a fishing company that harvests cold water shrimp off of eastern Canada.
Joint venture shuffle
As a startup, BlueOcean has entered into several joint ventures and licensing deals to speed is development curve. Sometimes those agreements can benefit from modification along the way, and the company is sensitive to how it looks in industry when the news of the end of a joint venture leaks out. In the case of its extraction partner, Blue Ocean has acquired 100% of the joint venture assets of Pure Polar Labs from its owner CMAX Technologies.
With CMAX the company has developed a tablet version of its shrimp oil, which is one of the four new formulas Heuer helped engineer after he came on board Among the other new products are a joint product and a sport product.
Heuer believes that one of the advantages of the products in the marketplace will be their sustainability message. The oil is derived from the shells of cold water shrimp caught in the waters off of eastern Canada. This is a material that previously was thrown away or ground up for fertilizer, Heuer said. The company obtains the raw material for next to nothing in terms of cost, and that makes the economics of shipping it to its extraction facility in Vietnam make sense, he said. But the company is investigating raising financing to build its own extraction facility on Prince Edward Island, Heuer said.
“The consumers I’ve been talking to are connecting with the story,” Dr. Heuer said.