Fluxome granted Japanese omega-3 processing patent

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

Fluxome has received a patent in Japan for its processing of wheat-derived omega-3
Fluxome has received a patent in Japan for its processing of wheat-derived omega-3
Natural ingredients supplier, Fluxome, has been awarded a patent for its omega-3 production technology in the ‘important’ Japanese market.

The Denmark-headquartered start-up received the patent for its fermentation production technology of its wheat-derived omega-3 product, PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids). The patent gives Fluxome intellectual property (IP) protection until 2028.

Fluxome has already been granted a patent in the US and has filed one in Europe and other Asian countries for the processing of PUFA.

Jarne Elleholm, chairman of Fluxome, noted that the product itself is still at the development stage set to be launched by the end of 2014, but that this patent is important for the company.

“This is serious technology. It’s not something anyone can do,”​ Ellehold told FoodNavigator-Asia.

“The patented technology platform underpins all of Fluxome’s work – it is a fermentation process – that in this case creates omega-3 oils from wheat strains using normal baker’s yeast,”​ he said.

The team has been developing PUFA for around five years now, he detailed, and it is still in the lab in Denmark where, “we are working with several strains of yeast and developing new strains.”

“We’re working on the final specs for the product,”​ he said, but the end product will be able to be a combination of EPA and ARA omega-3s or pure EPA – and this patent will cover both as the same processing method is used.

Fluxome is targeting the premium end of the omega-3 market, Elleholm said, as it “will be a pure product… from a novel source and therefore will have its own distinct advantages.”

It is vegetarian, kosher and eco-friendly as it is not derived from fish; a market sector under threat, he said. The end product will also lack the undesired tastes and odours often associated with fish-derived omega-3s, he added, and so should work well in functional food and beverage applications.

Premium Japanese opportunities

“Japan is a significant omega-3 market and so we want coverage here,”​ Elleholm said, “but it is a competitive market space and we know we need a sharp, high quality product to succeed. That’s what we are working on developing.”

Angela Tsetsis, president and CEO of Fluxome, said that among wider Asia, Japan has a comparatively developed omega-3 market but one that still has a “thirst for more products and differentiated products.”

“Japanese consumers really appreciate quality and so I do see an opportunity for a premium product,”​ Tsetsis added.

There are other players working on deriving omega-3s from wheat, Elleholm said, namely DuPont who is a serious competitor, “but we believe once we’ve fine-tuned it there will be some clear attributes.”

“Being a significantly smaller company, hopefully our agility will help,”​ in competing with larger players, he added.

Supplements first

Tsetsis said that when it comes to launching the product, Fluxome will likely start with supplements, “as from a formulation perspective, it’s much easier.”

“I think with most new products in nutraceuticals, to get traction is usually easiest in the supplements arena and then branch into other areas like functional foods and beverages,”​ she said.

Elleholm detailed that once the company is ready to launch its product in Japan it will look for “strategic partners”​ in the country to work with.

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