Delft, The Netherlands-based Veramaris has revealed that survey data indicates the presence of omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are key to consumption by consumers
The survey, which encompassed 50 retailers in five countries, and 14,000 consumers in six countries, showed that more than half of participants indicated that the omega-3 content of salmon is a big factor in purchasing the product. That data is valuable to Veramaris, which is engaged in producing algal oil products that contain both omega-3 EPA and DHA, two key parts of the overall health impact of omega-3 acids.
“The most important point is, we’re the only ones that have both omega-3 molecules, which is EPA and DHA,” Veramaris CEO Karim Kurmaly said in an interview with SeafoodSource. “And our concentration is above 50 percent, and it’s an oil.”
Veramaris, which is a joint venture between DSM and Evonik, has been developing algae-based products that contain both omega-3 molecules, and has also developed a USD 200 million (EUR 176 million) production facility at its Evonik site in Blair, Nebraska, U.S.A. The company’s product will be increasingly important as the volumes of salmon raised via aquaculture increase, Kurmaly said, but the volume of wild-caught fish that historically have been used to create omega-3 rich fishoil fed to salmon remains the same.
“While aquaculture wins the battle on carbon footprint against chicken, swine, and beef, where it has to do better is win the battle still on its dependence on wild catch finite resources,” Kurmaly said.
With Veramaris’s algae products, salmon production can gradually begin using less and less fish, according to Kurmaly. Trial runs by the company have already shown salmon can be raised with the product, and still retain high levels of omega-3s.
“We’ve produced a salmon that has zero fishoil,” he said.
Early adopters in Chile, Tasmania, and Norway have already begun using the product to supplement fishmeal in order to reduce the fish-in, fish-out ratio of their products.
The origin of the algae production and fermentation techniques that the company uses actually has its roots in the NASA space program, as NASA scientists researched ways to deal with the carbon dioxide produced by humans on board space-faring craft. Now, that technology is being used to create omega-3 rich algae on an industrial scale.
That scale is also a benefit to companies that utilize the feed, as it’s available on a more consistent basis than a wild-caught fish.
“Unlike fish oil, which is variable seasonably, this particular product is produced 365 days a year, 24/7, the same specification,” Kurmaly said.
So far, different producers have utilized the product differently, Kurmaly said. Some are using it to supplement fishoil and increase the amount of omega-3s in their fish, while others are using a higher ratio of algae to fishoil to reduce dependence on wild-caught fisheries.
A lot of those products are going to hit the market around Easter this year, Kurmaly said.
The company’s official opening will take place on 10 July, and according to Kurmaly, research is already being done on expanding the algal products into other avenues, like pet food.