SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development - EuropeUS edition | Asian edition

News > Business

Read more breaking news

 

 

Algatech: Functional food on astaxanthin horizon

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+

01-Apr-2014
Last updated on 02-Apr-2014 at 23:49 GMT

Algatchnologies' southern Israel astaxanthin facility is set for expansion and cost reductions, the company says
Algatchnologies' southern Israel astaxanthin facility is set for expansion and cost reductions, the company says
Loading...

Israeli firm Algatechnologies will work towards gaining approval for its astaxanthin as a novel food and beverage ingredient in Europe, but first it must meet existing demands and cut prices, it said.

After a $20 million plant investment set to expand production capacity by over 100% is completed the firm will be better equipped to cut prices and meet demand for its algae products that is currently outstripping supply, the firm told us at its site in the Arava Desert in Israel.

Then it could move on to applying for approval as a novel food and beverage ingredient within the European Union, a safety go-ahead it already has in Japan and the US, said Efrat Kat, director of marketing and sales for the company.

The company's director, Hagai Stadler, also hinted that it would be announcing a new algae product at Geneva's VitaFoods expo in May that would be of a much higher concentration, potentially reaching 20%. It said the product would allow manufacturers the freedom to produce smaller capsules or add other ingredients within the supplement mix.

A novel food ingredient

Kat said the main problem for the company was supply, and it would hold off from releasing and promoting new applications until this was addressed.

"But we believe that within the next one or two years we will be in a position to actually promote and develop the delivery system for astaxanthin that will enable us and our customers to use astaxanthin as a functional food ingredient."

She said work remained on finding the right delivery system but its history in markets like Japan and the US would stand it in good stead to do this, and these markets would be the initial point of focus.

High Stress

Pinpointed for its antioxidant potential, astaxanthin is the red pigment found in algae and aquatic animals that eat algae. This pigment is part of the algae's defence mechanism when it is exposed to too much sunlight, heat or starved of a food supply.

Algatech triggers the release of the carotenoid by exposing the microalgae variety Haematococcus pluvialis - which it says is the richest known natural source of astaxanthin - to sunlight stress causing the green algae to release astaxanthin and turn red in the process of defending itself against UV damage.

It said its way of inducing this naturally occurring process within a closed pipe circuit produces a quality of astaxanthin superior to its pond-produced or synthetic counterparts since it eliminates potential contamination. It said its AstaPure brand has on average a 98% astaxanthin purity, while the market average sits at about 80%.

"Mixing - for us that's really a red flag," Stadler said.

A (pricey) cloud of details

Stadler said that it was open about its process of producing and extracting astaxanthin since to reproduce these effects would depend on, "one big cloud of details".

"There are very few companies like this is the world - mainly because it's frustrating," he said.

The plant is located on the outskirts of a Jewish community called a Kibbutz, with many of the workers living within the commune. He said this setting was well suited to the nature of algae cultivation.

"It's like an intensive care unit," he said. "With the Kibbutz, if something happens there can be someone there in five minutes. Control is very important."

However, he said this process as well as the plant's current limited production capacity - the firm is sold out for 2014 and half of 2015 - meant Algatech's astaxanthin was expensive.

Outside of this he said the firm was committed to improving operational efficiency by reducing its water footprint and harnessing the desert sun energy with solar panels.

The firm recycles more than 70% of its water, while the water used in the later treatment stages which must be kept fresh, is sent to local date plantations. "When you go to Europe it's very difficult to explain how precious water is [in the desert]," he said.

He added that 85% of Israel's waste water goes to agriculture and that the company, like others in the area, was subject to a cap on the amount of water it can use.

Related products

Creepy proteins will be hot

New proteins are creeping on trend

Alternative proteins are a “hot area” of interest and products such as sandwich spreads...

Salt reduction not a priority for UK consumers: LoSalt survey

Salt reduction not a priority for UK consumers, finds LoSalt survey

Caroline Klinge

sales and marketing manager, LoSalt

‘Nice wine, no corkscrew?’ Mirabeau En Provence wins 8m+ YouTube views

‘Nice wine, no corkscrew?’ Mirabeau En Provence solution strikes YouTube gold with 8 million+ views

Mirabeau En Provence owner Stephen Cronk says the desire for a direct consumer connection...

DSM claims craft brewer interest in gluten-free beer enzyme

DSM claims craft brewer interest in gluten-free beer enzyme

DSM Food Specialities claims that, far from being cautious, craft brewers are embracing the...

Smoothie brand Froosh warns of ‘social washing’ within supply chain

Smoothie brand Froosh warns of ‘social washing’ on supply chain sustainability

Scandinavia’s top-selling smoothie manufacturer Froosh has called for ‘trade not aid’ in developing countries...

Saturated fat guidelines out, food guidelines in?

Get rid of nutrients and focus on foods in guidelines, says sat fat researcher

Benoit Lamarche

Saturated fat researcher, Laval University

Saturated fats may not cause heart disease: Researcher

Saturated fats may not cause heart disease: Researcher

Prof. Philippe Legrand

Director of the biochemistry laboratory, Agrocampus Ouest

GM camelina matches fish oil omega-3 levels

The road to fish-oil equivalent GM camelina

Rothamsted Research has achieved omega-3 levels comparable to fish oil in its first GM...

Malaysia to double palm oil production by 2020

Malaysia hopes to double palm oil production by 2020

Kalanithi Nesaretnam

Minister, Embassy of Malaysia in Brussels

William Reed Business Media Holiday video

Happy Holidays 2014 from William Reed Business Media!

The holidays are fast upon us, so let’s put ‘business’ to one side and...

‘Wine world is under attack, and needs to up its game’, Wine Economist

‘The wine world is under attack, and it needs to up its game’, Wine Economist Mike Veseth

Eminent wine writer and economist Mike Veseth warns that the wine world needs to...

‘People should forget their brands and just market wine!’ Wine Riot

‘People should stop thinking about their own brands and just market wine!’ Wine Riot founder

The brains behind the successful Wine Riot events in the US, Tyler Balliet, believes...

‘Great Napa Valley wines will rival Bordeaux’: Moët-Hennessy CEO

‘Great Napa Valley wines will rival Bordeaux First Growths’: Moët-Hennessy Estates & Wine CEO

Jean-Guillaume Prats, Moët-Hennessy Estates and Wine CEO, says he believes great wine produced in...

Tesco soft drinks buyer warns brands PowerPoint can be painful

'PowerPoint can be painful!’ Tesco soft drinks buyer warns entrepreneurs

The head of Tesco’s soft drinks buying team David Beardmore has urged aspiring brands...

Taste genetics: A new way to look at policy and segment consumers?

Taste genetics: A new way to look at policy and segment consumers?

Can new research in to the genetic basis of taste could help manufacturers and...

Delicious disasters: Marketing expert warns manufacturers on 'disruptive innovation' and learning from mistakes

Delicious disasters: Marketing expert warns manufacturers on 'disruptive innovation' and learning from mistakes

Everybody is chasing innovation and the next big idea, but when it comes to...

Global ID: 'Demand for Non-GMO-Project verification doubled after Whole Foods put its GMO cards on the table...'

Global ID: 'Demand for Non-GMO-Project verification doubled after Whole Foods put its GMO cards on the table...'

The growth of the Non-GMO Project verification scheme has been nothing short of explosive...

Merging industries: Top chefs and the food companies can learn a lot from each other, says chef

Merging industries: Top chefs and the food companies can learn a lot from each other, says chef

While there are some differences between high end catering and the large scale manufacturing...

Key Industry Events

 

Access all events listing

Our events, Events from partners...