Fish oil and ocean pollution: Pristin to start one-million-ringgit campaign as it reinforces toxin free status
The campaign, which will start after Ramadan is over, will reward the sum if a consumer finds toxins in Pristin’s fish oil products.
Pristin is owned by ASX-listed company Holista Colltech and is the company’s bestselling supplement brand.
Managing director Dr Rajen Manicka believes that its toxin-free positioning is a key factor for the popularity of the product and hopes to reinforce this concept.
“In Malaysia, we are starting a campaign of one million ringgit for anybody who can find any toxin in any amount at any time while our products are on the shelves.
“We believe that this is even more relevant this year. The oceans are becoming even more toxic with the rise of COVID-19, because we are all using masks and the masks have been dumped in the ocean and these masks are made from meltblown, which is a kind of plastic, which will last in the ocean for 450 years.
“It will break down very slowly into micro plastic and pseudo hormones that will end up in the ocean water and eventually end up in the fishes’ bodies,” he told NutraIngredients-Asia.
He said the company had been sourcing its fish oil from Epax, which supplies highly concentrated omega-3 oils.
The fish oil sold under the Pristin brand is sourced from South America and then processed in Norway, according to Dr Rajen.
“We work with Epax, the world's largest producer of fish oil concentrate and it has been working for more than 20 years to pioneer technologies which will reduce common impurities, heavy metals, free-hormone material from plastic that ends up in the ocean – all of these could end up in the fish body and therefore the fish oil.”
Having access to toxin free fish oil is becoming ever more important due to the growing problem of ocean pollution, Dr Rajen emphasised.
Citing The Open Environmental Pollution & Toxicology Journal, he said that as a result of COVID-19, 1.55 trillion face masks were dumped into the ocean last year.
To prove that its fish oil products are toxin free, the company is planning to publish the data of its fish oil testing report online and make it publicly available.
According to Dr Rajen, four rounds of testing are conducted on the company’s fish oil products, starting from before fish oil encapsulation, after encapsulation, before going on shelves in Malaysia, and after going up on shelves.
“This is to give customers confidence and to keep our brand promise of toxin free… We are going to publish the report of the testing on our new website which we are putting together,” he explained.
To preserve fish oil quality, the fish oil gels are contained in amber glass bottle, instead of plastic bottle, to prevent oxygen from permeating the bottle and causing the oxidation of fish oil.
The company sells its fish oil products in pharmacies and health shops in Malaysia.
Third gen omega-3
The company will also emphasise its other fish oil product, the Pristin marine omega phospholipids (MOPL) fish oil.
The MOPL fish oil, extracted from herring caviar, is said to deliver the same omega-3 ratio as with mother’s milk at a ratio of 3:1 DHA-to-EPA ratio.
“We also will emphasise another version of Pristin, which is the third-generation fish oil MOPL. These [MOPL] are only found in places where life begins, so you get it in eggs and in breastmilk.
“MOPL has been found to be absorbed by the body up to six times higher [than non MOPL oil],” Dr Rajen said, adding that the MOPL fish oil has been developed by Norway firm Arctic Bioscience using a proprietary technology.
As such, each MOPL fish gel has a lower total omega-3 fish oil content at 650mg, while the non MOPL fish gel contains 1,200mg of omega-3 fish oil.
At the same time, the product is three times more costly than the non MOPL versions.
“It is three times more costly but six times more absorption,” Dr Rajen said.
“Right now, because it is more costly, it may take up [only] five per cent of the sales, but we want to send the message out to consumers that there's data on MOPL for brain health, Alzheimer’s Disease, depression, and maternal health."
Cheap is never good?
Pristin’s fish oil is considered more expensive than others in the market and Dr Rajen pointed out that consumer education becomes important in this case.
“The challenge is that we cannot be a low-price fish oil, in fact, we are the most expensive fish oil in Malaysia. But the challenge is to educate consumers that cheap is never good.”
A bottle of TOTAL HEALTH Pristin 1200mg fish oil gel (30 capsules) costs RM$67.60. A search on Watsons Malaysia shows that similar products could cost as low as RM$19.90.
“Our customers are largely in their 40s and 50s, they are older, they are more discerning, they are English speaking, they are in urban areas, and they are clearly health conscious,” Dr Rajen said.
The company will also provide omega-3 test kit to enable consumers to measure the effect of omega-3 supplementation.
“We will also be developing omega-3 test kits for consumers, because it is pointless to just take fish oil every day and believe it is entering the body without knowing where you are in terms of the nutritional status of omega-3 and where you want to be,” Dr Rajen said.