AHS operates a glass tube facility in Yunnan Province in southwestern China in which it cultivates Haematococcus pluvialis, the algae species that is the main natural commercial source of the ingredient (astaxanthin can also be produced by chemical synthesis and can be extracted from Phaffia yeast). The new expansion is slated take place in two phases. The first phase, set to take place in the third quarter of 2020, will boost capacity by 25%. After the second phase is complete the farm will have more than doubled in size, according to the company.
“With this new round of investment in our farm, we will secure enough production capacity to support our growth for the next few years and to position BGG as the leading producer worldwide,” said Chunhua Li, chairman and founder of BGG.
Dr Oz boom has endured
Interest in astaxanthin spiked in the US after a segment of the Dr Oz Show in early 2011 when guest Dr Joseph Mercola touted the ingredient’s health benefits. But unlike some other ingredients that were hyped on the show, the astaxanthin boom proved to have legs.
Google searches using the term ‘astaxanthin’ spiked after the show. Taking that level of interest as 100, searches have declined into the 20 to 36 range in the years since. But that is still as much as triple what the number of searchers was in 2010.
The global market for astaxanthin was pegged at about $100 million in 2018 and was projected to grow at low double digit rates into the 2020s. That growth projection was made before the coronavirus crisis, of course.