Breaking News on Food, Beverage & Supplement Development - Asia Pacific

Indian start-up enters omega-3 sector with high-dose powders

By Kacey Culliney, 30-Jan-2012

Related topics: Nutrition, Fortification, Functional foods and drinks, Supplements

A year-old Indian venture company has isolated the two major fatty acid components of omega-3, DHA and EPA, and developed both into high purity powders; a potentially interesting innovation according to industry expert.

The powdered forms of Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) have been extracted from fish oils and manufactured for use in supplements, functional foods and beverages.

Harshal Deshmukh, CEO of Veda-Vida Innovations, told FoodNavigator-Asia that the company has developed indigenous technology following extensive research and development efforts to create “unique products.”

Deshmukh said that as the DHA and EPA “are in the original acid forms and are not attached with any alcohol or glycerol molecule, they have an added advantage of better absorbency in the human body.”

The level of absorption for both compounds is over 94%, compared to 68% absorption of triglyceride forms and 21% for ester forms, he said.

“We are able to purify both the materials above 90%... nobody can offer this purity in powder form,” he added.

The powdered form ensures each product is a “free flowing and directly compressible material” and also “very stable at room temperature”, said Deshmukh, who added that it gives manufacturers complete flexibility to use as an ingredient across the nutraceutical, food and pharmaceutical industries.

Innovative entry into omega-3 market?

Adam Ismail, executive director of omega-3 industry group GOED, told this publication: “Free fatty acid concentrates… are not new but are not widely used. However, I have not heard of companies powdering them.”

He noted that there were “a couple of semi-successful products in the 1980s that used free fatty acid concentrates of fish oils, but at that time powders were not used for either supplement or food applications.”

“However, just recently we have seen a little uptick in interest for these types of concentrates and separately have also seen interest in powders from the supplement space. So putting them together into a compressible powder may be an interesting innovation,” Ismail added.

The company has conducted bioavailability studies on both compounds as well as behavioural studies on DHA and anti-inflammatory studies on EPA. It is also conducting anticoagulant property studies on EPA.

The two powder compounds are not yet on the market but, when released, will be available globally.

“It is a competitive market and as an Indian company we are expected to be at or above average in quality and at the same time, the most competitive in pricing… We have developed a process which is simple and economical and it will have a direct effect on pricing in the long term,” Deshmukh said.

The start-up company has a small manufacturing unit in central India with the capacity to produce 1,000kg of DHA and EPA omega-3 powders each month but that in the early stages of manufacturing capacity will only reach a tenth of that each month.