Key Interview: Krill Oil is Game Changer in Omega-3 Space

e6b1ee42-8f5a-45df-90f8-311130c3815darticleimage.jpg

23 Jan 2017 --- Leading krill oil supplier Aker BioMarine is looking to R&D and innovation in order to differentiate its products within the crowded Omega-3 space. CEO of the company, Matts Johansen believes innovation is certainly necessary in this space, as omega 3 players look to stand out in a market that is only just starting to recover from years of overcapacity and negative press coverage.

FoodIngredientsFirst caught up with Johansen, who has been CEO for almost two years and has been with the company since 2009, whilst he addressed some of the changes in the krill oil market. 

“Luckily for us our company is quite diverse,” he says. “The main purpose for me is to clarify the direction for the company and try to motivate everyone and create an environment where everyone can do the best possible job. We are a biotech company, and in order to us to be out there on the edge, we must think differently, to put us in good stead against our competitors.”

Why is there such a great demand from consumers for Omega-3? “Omega-3 is one of the most researched nutrients out there, there is so much data, showing you how important Omega-3 is for different aspects for health and that has been the driving force behind that.”

“But krill oil is now a new alternative in this space,” he remarks, “There is demand for krill oil (it has been flat for the last few years), but as companies see that the soft Omega-3 period is behind us, krill oil is now gaining momentum.” 

“Omega-3 is a big category, it has become commoditized, so it’s difficult for brands to differentiate themselves and create a unique story,” Johansen notes. “So when krill came along, it was an easy story to tell, there were clear differentiators, it even had a different color being red and it was coming from Antarctica. This whole new story was one that worked really well. Even with the negative development of Omega-3 over the last couple for years we remain optimistic.”

According to Johansen, Aker BioMarine is taking responsibility for its customers’ success of the product. “Traditional transactions-based sales approach is outdated, hence we need to invest in developing long-lasting partnerships with our customers. At Aker BioMarine we are taking this very seriously and this means that we are implementing our strategy around these trends, bringing to our customers the insights, ideas and solutions linked to our products, so we can help them drive success.”

“As a krill specialist, we are in the best position to come up with ideas of how brands can educate  consumers, we are experts on the features, advantages and benefits our products hold through all the scientific research we do. Our customers have the channels to the consumers so they can actually execute those ideas and drive that consumer awareness,” he explains. 

The current and most typical buyers of krill oil and Omega-3 are females over the age of 50, but according to Johansen this is one of the areas that Aker BioMarine is hoping to change. “We are traditionally in the Omega-3 supplements space targeting cardiovascular health,” he continues, “Omega-3 krill oil should be just as important to younger people as well as older groups. So we have been focusing on scientific research that targets younger people, we had a breakthrough earlier last year, where we started an R&D program, involving the world’s toughest army recruits and how krill oil can improve their resilience, performance and ability to deal with tough situations.”

The program involves more than 400 US Army soldiers, exploring some key areas where krill oil might improve performance. Johansen said that physical, psychological and cognitive functions were elements that might be affected by krill oil. He says: “These guys were already the smartest, strongest and toughest and by taking krill oil they could potentially be even smarter, stronger and tougher. That’s an attractive positioning towards younger people, and a good example of how krill oil can work with knowledge and science to be able to attract new segments for our products.”

What other trends are you looking to address? “There is a growing demand for performance products and this will be a likely trend for 2017. There is more focus on performance, whether it be at work, socially or in the gym so for us, having products that target nutrition and performance, is a key area for us,” claims Johansen. “For Aker BioMarine to be able to have products that are positioned in performance and sport will be important.” 

“From a channel perspective, we are already starting to see a big trend towards E-Commerce and that is likely to get bigger and better. Its importance is growing and it is going to be a challenge for many of the traditional players in this industry. The younger generations and smaller companies are starting to embrace these channels in a whole different way now, so that will also be a development to watch out for.” 

“Last but not least is the sustainability aspect,” notes Johansen, “For Aker BioMarine being a company that fishes krill, we are always going to have sight on sustainability. Previously sustainability was not always on top of the agenda for companies but the last years things are shifting, being sustainable has become a competitive advantage. We are reaching a tipping point now, so we need to make sure that our products are sourced sustainably, and without harming the planet,” he concludes. 

by Elizabeth Kenward

Aker BioMarine

Collapse

Aker BioMarine is an integrated biotechnology company – uniquely positioned to create value krill derived biotech products. The company is supplying biomarine ingredients through an optimized value chain from raw materials to customer.

Aker BioMarine utilizes its unique krill harvesting to develop its own downstream operations within the high value added nutraceutical and aquaculture feed markets.

Krill derived products, such as oil and meal, have a high content of bioactive ingredients, e.g. Omega-3 bound phospholipids and astaxanthin, which have documented positive effects on both humans and animals.

Aker BioMarine has registered Superba as the company`s brand name for nutraceutical and Qrill as the company’s brand name for its krill meal and krill oil products for aquaculture. Qrill has proven benefits to competing products in the aquaculture market. 

Following the merger with Natural in June 2007, Aker BioMarine has a wide set of capabilities within nutraceuticals (dietary supplements and functional foods) and is an experienced player in nutraceutical applications of lipids, product development, and intellectual property rights (IPR), R&D and product commercialization.

Nutrition & Health Aker BioMarine has registered Superba as the company`s brandnames for its krill oil products for the human market. The Omega-3 phospholipids and astaxanthin found in krill promote among others physical and mental health.

Aker BioMarine has registered Qrill as the company’s brand name for its krill meal and krill oil products for aquaculture feed markets. Business activities have already succeeded in establishing a broad customer base in the market for Qrill meal deliveries to the aquaculture industry.

Related Articles

Food Ingredients News

Unilever predicts closer corporate and start-up collaboration

19 Sep 2017 --- Unilever Foundry has launched a global study into corporate and start-up collaboration at the Dmexco conference. The Unilever Foundry is Unilever’s platform for start-ups and innovators to engage, collaborate and explore business opportunities with Unilever and its 400+ brands.

Business News

Vanilla enjoys an innovation resurgence, but supply chain challenges mount

18 Sep 2017 --- The adjective “vanilla” may have unexciting connotations, but it could be argued that the world of products with vanilla flavoring is currently very exciting indeed. Even though supply challenges are being faced in sourcing natural vanilla, new and innovative products continue to be introduced to the market at an exhilarating pace.

Business News

“Dirty cocoa beans” getting into the supply chain

15 Sep 2017 --- UK national newspaper, The Guardian, has written an expose about what it describes as “dirty cocoa” following an investigation which involved the news organization visiting the Ivory Coast, where much of the world’s cocoa grows. The article – entitled “Chocolate industry drives rainforest disaster in Ivory Coast” says the world’s chocolate industry is “driving deforestation on a devastating scale in West Africa.”

Business News

Kellogg's and Mondelez named in Dow Jones Sustainability Index

14 Sep 2017 --- The Kellogg Company and Mondelez International have both been named in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, an independent validation of the important work the food giants are carrying out in the area of corporate responsibility. The DJSI serves as a benchmark for investors who recognize sustainable business practices as a critical component to generating long-term shareholder value.

Food Ingredients News

Cocoa and chocolate industry join forces with West African governments for deforestation-free initiative

13 Sep 2017 --- The world’s leading cocoa and chocolate companies are working with the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to double down on plans to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain.

More Articles