The feature in the last edition of the Eurofish Magazine (December 2016) on the Blue Legasea project in Alesund, Norway, an undertaking that brings together companies interested in exploiting marine biomass to produce a range of sustainable, high-value, and healthful products, continues in this issue with brief profiles on three companies, Pharma Marine, Rimfrost, and Vedde (Triple Nine Group).
Cod liver oil for everyday kitchen use
Cod liver oil! Generations of older people probably remember with horror the obligatory daily spoonful of this foul-tasting liquid – healthy or not. Pharma Marine, another company from the Legasea group, has taken up the cause of this ancient tradition, freed the cod liver oil of its unpleasant aromas and flavours, and thus moved a product classic that has belonged to Scandinavia since time immemorial into the present-day diet. Leif Kjetil Gjendemsjø, the founder and CEO of Pharma Marine, is convinced that his tasteless cod liver oil will soon be as self-evident in the kitchens and on the tables of modern, nutrition-conscious consumers as the jug of olive oil. “Our CodMarine oils are extracted from cod livers in the best quality. The fish comes mainly from the stock in the Arctic Barents Sea and is fished exclusively for food as part of sustainable MSC-certified and environmentally friendly fishing. This ensures optimum handling and outstanding quality”.
Scientific studies have proven dozens of times that the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are essential to life and contribute towards improving health and well-being. “With our CodMarine product line we can significantly improve the supply of these essential fatty acids,” says Gjendemsjø. “They enable consumers to meet their daily requirements of EPA and DHA even if they don’t like fish or have no access to these valuable foods.” The nearly tasteless cod liver oil can, like any other edible oil, be used for salads, mayonnaises, marinades and other cold dishes. To make its use easier, Pharma Marine has developed a small series of products in which the cod liver oil is flavoured by adding herbs or virgin olive oil.
Mindor Klauset, professional chef in Ålesund, has tested the product range and was surprised by the result: “The use of cod liver oil for salads and other cold food was totally new for me, but it actually works and, indeed, it works remarkably well. The neutral flavour of CodMarine-oil opens up new possibilities in the kitchen and also offers people who don’t like fish the chance to meet their omega-3 requirements in a simple and natural way. “
Pharma Marine’s CodMarine line is the first Norwegian omega-3 concentrate to be certified by MSC. The company works with fishing vessels that operate in the Barents Sea and extract the oil from the livers of freshly caught cod at sea. Packed under exclusion of oxygen in airtight barrels it is taken to the modern and environmentally friendly production facility Søvik on the west coast of Norway, cleaned, further processed and packaged in different ways.
Leif Kjetil Gjendemsjø hopes his innovative omega-3 products, which pick up on the rich traditions of Norway in this area, will improve many people’s quality of life. “CodMarine is the brand name for cod liver oil products but beyond that we have the CalaMarine brand for squid oil and LipidMarine for other fish oils as well as a range of other healthy products”.
Top quality krill oil for health products
Omega-3 fatty acids are not only to be found in fish oil but also in the body fat of a large number of crustacean species. Antarctic krill, a group of small shrimp species that measure only a few centimetres in length, plays a particularly important role here. They inhabit the marine regions around the South Pole in almost inconceivable quantities (estimates range from stock biomasses of between 125 and 700 million tonnes.) Rimfrost from Fosnavåg, a member of the internationally operating Olympic Group, uses these resources for the production of natural extracts of Antarctic krill. The company operates a fishing vessel that is specially equipped to meet the requirements of krill fishing and the difficult climatic conditions of Antarctic waters. On board the “Juvel” the tiny crustaceans are processed to krill meal. Because the tiny animals spoil quickly the fishermen only catch that amount of krill that can be processed very quickly. Research Director Inge Bruheim describes the gentle process which takes place at low temperatures using enzymes: “The catch-fresh krill are hydrolysed immediately using enzymes and afterwards the shells are removed using a centrifuge. They contain fluorine in high concentrations which after the animal’s death passes into the muscles making the flesh inedible.” Afterwards the remains are pasteurised which also deactivates the enzymes, removes excess water and then the krill meat mash is vacuum dried at low temperatures. Packed under protective atmosphere the krill meal is reliably protected from oxidation. Every individual work stage is documented, the whole process can be traced back to the start. “We produce about one tonne of krill meal from five tonnes of fresh krill“, says Bruheim. “The fishery is sustainable, as confirmed by MSC and Friend of the Sea (FoS).”
Later on, krill oil is extracted from the krill meal. This process takes place on land in factories in North Carolina (USA) and New Zealand. Krill oil consists of one quarter of omega-3 phospholipids and is also rich in cholin and astaxantine. It is better absorbed by the body than fish oil, and the fatty acids are, according to Rimfrost, intact and effective, something which has been confirmed in studies conducted by the Technical University of Denmark, Oslo and Bergen Universities and Wollongong University in Australia. Krill oil from Rimfrost generally gets higher scores in tests than other krill oils. Ole Arne Eiksund who, as vice president of the company, is responsible for worldwide marketi
ng puts this down mainly to the gentle processing of the fresh krill on board the Juvel. “A lot of companies are put off by the higher cost of processing at sea and use frozen raw materials. But then it is hardly to be avoided that part of the raw material oxidizes and loses quality.” The differences were already visible in the colour of the oils, says Ole Arne Eiksund. “A dark brown coloured krill oil is always a sign of advanced oxidation. In contrast, krill oil from Rimfrost has a light ruby red colouring which indicates top quality.” That has its price, however, and the krill oil capsules from Rimfrost cost at least twice as much as fish oil with similarly high EPA and DHA concentrations.
Ole Arne Eiksund believes the high price is justifiable because krill oil was much more than a conventional omega-3 preparation: “It is a natural multi nutrient concentrate that contains 60% phospholipids and 250 mg EPA and DHA per soft gel capsule. Apart from that, the oil is rich in astaxantine which acts as a natural antioxidant.” This composition made krill oil extremely attractive for health-conscious consumers and the claimed effects were confirmed and in accordance with the health claims permitted by the EU. At “Vitafood 2016” in Geneva Rimfrost received a lot of attention and acknowledgement for its ultra-high krill oil capsules.
Vedde (Triple Nine Group)
Increased use of fish oil for human consumption
Vedde AS produces fishmeal and fish oil in optimum quality. It is marketed, mainly to European buyers, by Nordsildmel AS. Since 2013 Vedde has been a member of the TripleNine Group, Europe’s largest producer of fishmeal and fish oil. Total production volume (including the group’s production facilities in Africa and South America) amounts to up to 80,000 t fishmeal and 40,000 t fish oil per year. Vedde alone processes over 100,000 t raw fish per year (about one quarter of it trimmings from the filleting industry) and produces from it 25,000 t fishmeal and 4,500 t fish oil. The main customers are feed producers that serve the aquaculture and agriculture industries.
Founded in 1884 as a herring oil factory, Vedde today operates one of the most efficient and modern fishmeal factories in Europe. Regular modernisation measures and conversions have made production more energy-saving and environmentally friendly. Ola Flesland, the Research and Development Director at Vedde, has calculated that the energy saving measures have led to savings of nearly 15 million kWh per year. Apart from that, the company’s fishmeal production was very sustainable because they only accepted slaughter wastes and certified raw materials. In Norway Vedde cooperates with about 80 fishing vessels that fish in accordance with MSC standards or fulfil the Responsible Fishing criteria of the international fishmeal association IFFO.
The growth in world population (according to OECD and FAO more than 9 billion people are expected to live on the earth in 2050) and the global economy as well as the increase in the affluent middle class are increasing demand for animal protein. That is why Ola Flesland sees excellent development potential for Vedde and TripleNine in the medium and long term. “The future outlook in the three market segments aquaculture, agriculture and pet food, where the core competences of the companies in the TripleNine Group lie, are really very promising. In spite of this we are working hard on finding new application fields for high-quality fishmeal and fish oil and have thus joined the Legasea Project.” The strategic focus within the group lay strongly on research and development with the aim to achieve more value adding within the product range.
The positive effects of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA in fish oil are particularly well documented. They help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and circulatory problems. Fish oil capsules and other food supplements for human use are a growing market in which Vedde and TriöleNine want to share. The company group presented a fish oil “Nordic Silver” in a quality that is suitable for use in food at Vita Foods Europe in 2014. New cooling systems at the Vedde operation are said to keep the freshness of marine by-products at food grade level for longer. TripleNine already has a production facility in Thyborøn (Denmark) for the production of fish oil for human consumption. The Danish food authorities approved the final product in October 2013. Ola Flesland is convinced that it is not only EPA and DHA that have positive effects in fish oil. “Fish oil from the North Atlantic also has high concentrations of LC-mufa (long-chain monounsaturated fatty acids). These stimulate in salmon the conversion of vegetable fatty acids to EPA and DHA which is becoming more and more important due to the increased use of agricultural raw materials for feed.