Consolidation of omega-3s market puts pressure on suppliers' capabilities

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

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Getty Images
Having a plethora of processing capabilities will help omega-3s companies hold their own in an increasingly competitive market that is showing signs of maturity, a prominent executive says.

Adam Ismail, chief strategy officer for dietary ingredient and pharmaceutical manufacturer KD Pharma, said the company’s recently announced acquisition will do a lot more than merely reinforce its position in the supply of active pharmaceutical precursors.

More complete concentration capabilities

Late last week KD Pharma unveiled its purchases of a manufacturing site in Seal Sands that was once under that management of EPAX.  EPAX was which was known as one of the early experts in omega-3 concentrates.

“This acquisition expands our technology and manufacturing base for producing APIs with the highest concentrations of EPA and DHA omega-3s,” ​said Oscar Groet, CEO of KD Pharma Group. “The breadth of our technology platform sets KD Pharma apart, no company has more technologies for isolating and fractionating lipids.”

But as on the supplements side of the omega-3s coin, the market has been showing signs of maturity.  After a soft spot earlier in the decade, the market has returned to growth, although of the single digit variety.

Consolidation is another facet of mature markets. And to compete effectively in this new landscape, Ismail said KD Pharma wanted to seize the opportunity to add more processing capabilities to its quiver. That will aid the company in the production of dietary ingredient.

Multiple technologies exist for fractionating lipids that operate off of different chemistry principles, so having a wider technology portfolio allows us to find the most efficient path to isolate specific fatty acids, like EPA and DHA, based on the characteristics of the raw material coming in and the finished product we want to make,”​ Ismail told NutraIngredients-USA.

Combo products demand tailored ingredients

This means the company can now fully tailor its products for customers’ end needs, Ismail said.  That capability will be key as companies try to find more innovative ways to stand out in a crowded, slower growth market.  One way in which omega-3s finished product manufacturers have been trying to differentiation themselves is by offering combination products featuring additional ingredients that are targeted at specific conditions. That places a burden on the dietary ingredient manufacturer to offer ingredients can work with these additional ingredients, whether they are additional lipids, certain botanicals or what have you.

I would describe our technology platform as more of a foundation that we can leverage in multiple markets than just a crossover in expertise. We can be more flexible in how we try to manufacture a specific product for a specific customer as our technology portfolio grows, regardless of the market in which a given customer is active.  The customer basically can give us a target, and we can then figure out how to make that product as efficiently as possible,” ​Ismail said.

With the addition of the Seal Sands site, which is in Teeside in northeastern England, KD Pharma now has facilities in Bexbach, Germany; Brattvag, Norway; and Miami, FL.

Omega-3s webinar scheduled for July 2

NutraIngredients-USA is hosting an omega-3s webinar on July 2 at 10:30 AM Central time.  The webinar will consist of a panel discussion looking at latest marketing trends, new developments in the underlying science, and recent regulatory questions.  Panelists include Dr Bill Harris, PhD, CEO of OmegaQuant, attorney Katie Bond of the law firm Amin Talati Wasserman, Ellen Schutt, executive director of GOED, and Sam Wiley, CEO of Wiley’s Finest.  For more information and to register, click here​.

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