Traditionally, caviar refers to the roe from wild sturgeon in the Caspian Sea and Black Sea.
However, due to the high demand for its caviar, the wild sturgeon population has been shrinking and is listed as one of the most threatened species.
Collaborating with local research institute ASTAR, the firm said the fish eggs of herring have the same micro-nutrient profile, including protein and amino acids composition, as that of sturgeon.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, CEO Rebecca Wang said that using the fish roe of wild-caught herring would thus provide a sustainable and affordable option.
Two prototypes have been made. One is known as “First Caviar”, a white powdered version, and the other one, a pink-orange powdered version known as “Caviar Defence”, with astaxanthin and avocado oil added.
The two version were launched to address different market needs.
“The two versions can be used in both food and supplements. The pure version can be used as a concept for product formulation and adds value to the brand.
“The ‘Caviar Defence’ can provide anti-ageing, antioxidant, eye and heart health benefits since it is added with astaxanthin,” Wang said.
The firm is now planning to work with food labs to produce more samples for safety testing.
It also plans to conduct human clinical studies in Germany or Poland to validate the efficacy of the ingredients.
This is the first raw ingredient that the firm has developed, since its inception, it had focused on launching dietary supplements for the end-user markets, including anti-hangover and nutricosmetics products.
The firm is a finalist of NutraIngredient-Asia start-up award, and the prototypes will be showcased at the booth of NutraIngredient-Asia during the upcoming Vitafoods Asia in Singapore.
Wang said that the new ingredient aimed to address pain points that manufacturers would face when using caviar as an ingredient.
These pain points include the fishy odour and low amino acid bioavailability.
“There is the problem of strong odour, water solubility, and bioavailability when we use caviar, we hope to address these pain points with the new ingredients.”
To increase efficacy, she said that the firm had used a micro-encapsulation technology traditionally used to make pharmaceutical drugs.
With the technology, she said the firm was able to retain more than 30% of the protein.