High-concentrate algae oil is now a growing market: Natural Products Expo West report


At Expo West, GC Rieber VivoMega discussed why high concentrates are on the rise in the algae omega-3 market.

Photo © AdobeStock.com/Artinun

Photo © AdobeStock.com/Artinun

High-concentrate fish oils are now a thriving segment of the omega-3 market. Now, high-concentrate algae oils are entering the market. At March’s Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim, CA, GC Rieber VivoMega (Norway) talked about its newly introduced VivoMega Algae Oils, a line of high-concentration vegan omega-3 oils derived from microalgae.

GC Rieber VivoMega already specializes in omega-3 high-concentrates. When the company decided to delve into algae ingredients, it did so slowly and purposefully, said Ole-Johan Nekstad, the company’s sales manager, at Expo West. He said the company spent more than three years “understanding the raw material, how we can process it, understanding the suppliers in the market for crude oil, and establishing relationships in the supply chain.” He added: “We needed to be 100% sure that the product we would end with had the same quality as the fish oils that we have today.”

The company’s first commercial product, VivoMega Algae 0070 TGP, is now coming to market, with a minimum of 90% triglycerides and a two-year shelf life.

High concentrates are still fairly new in the algae market. GC Rieber VivoMega’s experience making high-concentrate fish oils helped the company develop a proprietary process for algae high-concentrates.

“We’re leveraging our known technology for fish oil in the production of our algae oil,” Nekstad explained. “We’ve developed a technology we refer to as Superlight Processing Technology. The technology leverages the equipment that we have in the factory, and the steps in the process ensure that the oil is handled as gently as possible, with almost no exposure to heat, to ensure that the quality of the oil is in line with the VivoMega standard.”

The time the company took to develop its process was worth it, he said. “We are a bit late to the [algal oil] party, but then again we wanted to be 100% sure that when we launched the product, it would be a good one. And we are really excited to say that it’s probably one of the best in the market today if you compare it with competitors with the same concentration level,” said Nekstad.

Demand for algae oil continues to grow. “With fish oil prices currently high,” he said, “it’s kind of closed the gap between fish and algae oil. Algae oil is much more expensive than fish oil due to the price of the crude oil material, but with the increasing fish oil prices, we are now starting to close the gap between the price of fish oil and the price of algae oil, although it’s still pretty far away. But when they converge, then the demand will increase as well.”

And of course, he said, “The vegan and vegetarian focus drives the demand, so it’s exciting now for us to have a vegan option to fish oil as well.” He said GC Rieber VivoMega is excited to be able to offer both to its customers. “It’s important to highlight that although we now have an algae option, we are not moving away from fish oil,” he added. “It’s a supplement of fish oil or complementary product, so it’s about having different options. We’re an omega-3 supplier, and now we have an algae version as well.”

The company sees so much promise in the omega-3 market that it is now building a new facility that will be up and running in Q2 of next year. “So, we believe in the omega-3 space,” he said. “We believe in omega-3 fish oil and omega-3 algae oil. We are in it for the long run. We are gunning for the top.”

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