Writing the sequel to a best-seller can be more challenging than creating the original hit. Corbion's Innovation Platforms took on that challenge, however, and has been hard at work on the next chapters in the AlgaPrime™ DHA story.
Our groundbreaking product is clearly helping the aquaculture industry respond to the world’s growing demand for novel sources of omega-3 fatty acids. AlgaPrime™ DHA has been embraced by salmon farmers, providing a cost-effective, sustainable way to reduce their reliance on wild-caught forage fish as a source of omega-3s in salmon feed. BioMar, the leading innovator in sustainable aquaculture feeds, has incorporated it in well over 500,000 tons of fish feed for Norwegian salmon farmers since 2016, and more recently, our solution has proven to be an outstanding alternative for shrimp farmers as well.
While these early successes have been both exciting and encouraging, it’s still too soon to know just how the AlgaPrime™ DHA narrative will play out. After all, starting up an entirely new line of business that introduces a novel solution to the market is hardly without risk. Such entrepreneurial ventures rarely develop at a predictable pace; they call on us to keep asking ourselves, “What’s the best way forward from here?”
“Our customers want to increase omega-3 levels in the fish they raise while reducing their dependence on fish oil,” says Karel Bierman,Head of Animal Nutrition who leads the commercial team. “To accomplish that, they want to be able to increase their usage levels of our product, but higher inclusion levels of AlgaPrime™ in its current powder form is limited in the fish feed pellets. So, we developed a new liquid delivery system in order to meet the customer’s unique specifications.”
Efforts are underway to apply AlgaPrime™ DHA in other areas, including pet food and feed for livestock and chickens, to name a few. But the priority is responding to the needs of our aquaculture customers, who see algae-based omega-3s as crucial to their future.
“There is so much we can do with the Algae Ingredients platform, but we can’t – and shouldn’t – try to do everything at once,” says Karel. “We chose to focus on delivering value where our customers have the greatest need in a way that accelerates our path to profitability.”
What was originally a brown, biomass powder can now also be delivered in liquid form. AlgaPrime™ DHA will be suspended in rapeseed oil, a non-GMO, plant-based oil. The oil suspension enables customers to include higher doses of our product in the feeds they produce by spraying it on the exterior of already-formed fish feed pellets. The new product line being built at Orindiúva began production in November 2019.
The new AlgaPrime™ DHA will have greater density than our current offering, so shipping will be more cost-efficient – a timely added advantage, given the distances involved in providing the solution to salmon farmers in Norway and other customers as far away as Southeast Asia.
“We’re taking a great product and making it even better,” says Maarten Campman, General Manager of Algae Ingredients. “The new AlgaPrime™ DHA gives our customers a proprietary solution that’s easier to work with, lets them use higher levels of our ingredient, delivers the oxidative stability they need, and at the same time, provides Corbion with enhanced competitiveness and a path for growth.”
The improvements this next-generation product delivers tell the aquaculture industry we’re committed to helping them grow sustainably… and that our stories are worth telling for years to come.