Mussel power: Kiwi firm expanding to China with anti-inflammatory phospholipid oil product

By Gary Scattergood contact

- Last updated on GMT

The product is rich in vitamins A, C and E, as well as omega-3 and omega-6.
The product is rich in vitamins A, C and E, as well as omega-3 and omega-6.
A New Zealand start-up manufacturing anti-inflammatory joint health products using green-lipped mussel oil extract is embarking on ambitious expansion plans across Asia, with China topping its list of target markets.

Christchurch-based Kōrure, headed by MD Ron Park, manufactures marine phospholipid oil capsules. Supercritical C02​ extraction is used to sustain almost all the minerals and vitamins of a fresh green-lipped mussel.

Park, who graduated from the University of Canterbury earlier this year, said he developed an interest in health and wellness at a young age.

During his studies, the team at Kōrure isentified green lipped mussels as the best natural remedy for joint problems and arthritis, and then worked for eight months in order to find the best method of extracting the oil.

The product is already available in the domestic market in pharmacies and online, and plans are now afoot to enter China via cross-border e-commerce.

“We now have a business partner in China, and we are receiving help and advice from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise,”​ Park told us.

“We are also looking closely at Thailand and Singapore and believe that we can be successful across Asia,”​ he added.

Super-concentrated

While the product is primarily positioned for joint health, Park stressed that there were multiple benefits of green-lipped mussel oil, which he termed “fish oil on steroids”.

“We combine the mussel oil with extra virgin oil. It really is super-concentrated. They are packed with vitamins A, C and E, as well as omega-3 and omega-6.”

While he conceded that the product had some way to go to compete with fish oil in terms of consumer perception, he added he was confident that there was room to expand in the market.

International studies have shown that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) present in the Marine Phospholipids exhibit anti-inflammatory effects which help relieve joint pain and support healthy joints,”​ he said.
Meanwhile, research has shown that omega-3 extracted from green-lipped mussel inhibits leukotriene and cyclooxygenase (COX) activity so that they are maintained within a normal healthy level. Low levels of leukotriene and COX are essential for healthy airways.
Marine phospholipids are rich in omega-3, which may promote minimum normal heart health through lower triglycerides levels in the body, he added.

In addition to focusing on international expansion, Park said he was keen to further his partnership with the University of Canterbury, and added that the company was working on a variation of the existing capsules, along with a powdered version.

Kōrure was launched earlier this year after receiving a Canterbury University entrepreneurship grant after Park pitched his business model.

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