Super mussel: New Zealand firm invests $20 million in marine extracts centre to produce powder and oil

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Mussel powder is known for assisting inflammation management in athletes, older people or people suffering from joint aches and pains ©Sea to Me
Mussel powder is known for assisting inflammation management in athletes, older people or people suffering from joint aches and pains ©Sea to Me

Related tags Mussel New zealand Inflammation Joint health

New Zealand seafood company Sanford, which has the supplement brand Sea to Me, is building a NZ$20 million (US$13 million) marine extracts centre in Blenheim, New Zealand, to produce high quality nutrition products.

The centre will produce a range of products including Greenshell mussel powder and oil.

Mussel powder is known for assisting with inflammation management in athletes, older people or people suffering from joint aches and pains.

The mussel oil is a concentrated form of the powder, and can be used in smaller dosages, with similar benefits.

Sanford’s general manager of innovation, Andrew Stanley told NutraIngredients-Asia​: “The demand for marine extracts in APAC is strong and growing. New Zealand has a unique advantage in that we are the home of the New Zealand Greenshell mussel which grows only here and is known for assisting with inflammation management​.”

Superfood mussel

Stanley added, “Mussels are a true superfood. They are a functional food – a food with health benefits which go beyond the lean healthy protein you get from enjoying mussels as part of your diet.​”

The Greenshell mussel has unique properties compared to other mussels.

They contain GAGs, a form of mucopolysaccharide complex carbohydrates, with studies showing its benefits for immunity and joint health.

We have known for many years that Greenshell mussels have helped maintain joint mobility and joint health by supporting the body’s natural ability to manage inflammation, but we are still developing our understanding of just how effective New Zealand Greenshell mussels are for joint health and also for other types of inflammation​,” added Stanley.

The firm is already producing the powder from a small facility in Blenheim, but aims to increase production with the new centre.

Sea to Me

Stanley said the powder could be used in various applications: “It can be used in capsules, which is how we offer it under our Sea to Me brand.  It can also be used in veterinary products for equine health for example, and high performance. We are also exploring food formats and aim to develop functional foods with a validated health claim​,” Stanley said.

According to Adrian Grey, business and product development manager at Sanford: “Sea to Me is the first product we have produced using our Greenshell mussel powder and more products will quickly follow once we have opened our new marine extracts centre​.”

Each capsule contains 100% Greenshell Mussel Powder from the meat of the mussel, powdered using a flash-drying process that protects the nutrients.

The capsules contain omega-3, lipids, protein, and minerals such as selenium, calcium, iron, B vitamins, tyrosine, tryptophan and zinc.

The entire process is done in New Zealand, including harvesting, powdering, encapsulation and packaging.

Greenshell mussels have been rated by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Programme as one of the most sustainable seafood products in the world.

Future mussel works

The firm will also be exploring other marine extracts such as collagen.

We already produce marine collagen from the skin of the New Zealand hoki fish which is extracted and then is spun into collagen nanofibers by a start-up company called Revolution Fibres​,” Stanley added.

This fine collagen fabric that’s produced is used in facemasks and because of the low melting point of hoki collagen, it will melt straight into damp skin, delivering collagen deep into the skin with no need for injections​.”

According to Grey, the firm hopes to gain more knowledge of specific markets and consumer trends before entering more markets.

The firm will fund several clinical trials and supplying its products, under Musselling Up 2.0​ which will include two human health trials, one on inflammation management and muscle recovery in healthy young males, and another on managing chronic inflammation in middle aged overweight females.

Construction of the centre is expected to begin in April 2020 and operating by early 2021.

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