HI / FI China 2019

Krill in South Korea: Aker Biomarine sets sights on supplements success in new market

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Krill oil supplier Aker Biomarine is exploring more Asian markets and has entered the South Korean market last December. ©Getty Images
Krill oil supplier Aker Biomarine is exploring more Asian markets and has entered the South Korean market last December. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Krill oil, South korea, Aker biomarine, China

Krill oil supplier Aker Biomarine is exploring more Asian markets, with South Korea showing significant sales potential to build on its presence in China, Japan, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

The firm started selling krill oil to South Korea last year, and believes the country’s regulatory regime stands it in good stead for supplements success.

In an interview with NutraIngredients-Asia​ at the HI / FI China trade show, EVP of human health and nutrition, Tim de Haas outlined the firm's strategies for the South Korean market, where local regulations have enabled it to focus on its core supplement products, as opposed to China, where it needed to start off with general foods.

“As of today, the difference between the two markets is in the dosage forms. It is basically due to a regulatory difference.

“In China, we are waiting for the blue hat license so that we can have krill oil in the capsule form and that is basically going to further drive the awareness and growth in the Chinese market,” ​De Haas explained.

The firm expects to receive the result of its ‘blue hat’ application in China soon.  

"As for South Korea, krill oil is basically consumed in the capsule form because its relatively fresh in the market,,"​ he added.

As for marketing channels, while social media was a big part of marketing effort in China, De Haas pointed out that besides online, TV shopping was also crucial for penetrating the South Korean market.

Krill oil for sports and skin

Meanwhile, the company has plans to study the functional effects of krill oil in the Asia population, following studies conducted in Europe and the US.

An example is in the area of sports nutrition, where the firm will be starting on clinical trials with partners in China and other Asian markets, according to De Haas.

Depending on the study design, a clinical trial usually takes about six to 12 months to complete.

"Sports and performance is an increasing market and we have a sports team that did a lot of clinical studies on this topic. We have seen very positive effects on krill oil endurance, where people have very good recovery and feel much better when they exercise and take krill oil.

"We are going to have more data on the uniqueness of the choline in krill, and we are going to have more data on skin health.So besides the traditional EPA, DHA, and heart health, we are basically opening up new possibilities to promote krill oil.

"We have conducted three studies and we are just completing the fourth study.We will publish them together either this year or early next year," ​De Haas said. 

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