The company has been active in the Japanese market for over 10 years, but says it has seen strong growth especially in the past one to two years.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, Anette Yamamoto-Hansen, representative director at Aker BioMarine Japan K.K., said krill oil was increasingly popular in Japan as consumers recognised its beauty benefits.
A successful example is a krill oil product launched with its brand partner Shiratori Pharmaceutical in the Kyushu region last Spring.
The product is not a Foods with Function Claim (FFC). However, on its packaging, one can find the statement ‘beauty will reach your body’, while drugstores also have promotional content to educate consumers on the uses of the product.
As of early February, the product is already sold in over 10,600 drug stores in the Kyushu region alone.
“Kyushu is the region where many companies test out new things. The people in Kyushu are also very open to try new things,” Yamamoto-Hansen said.
At the same time, the company is involved in a trial that looks at how krill oil can improve the barrier function of skin in healthy individuals.
This is a 12-week randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving a local clinical research organisation. Over 50 participants are involved, where the intervention group is consuming two grams of Superba Boost krill oil per day.
At the moment, the company is able to claim that its ingredient, Superba Boost, could help improve skin hydration and elasticity as well as helps increase skin moisture.
Citing data from The Global Organisation for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), Yamamoto-Hansen said that although the Japanese krill oil market size had remained relatively stagnant in 2019 and 2020, Aker BioMarine had grown in market share during that period.
As such, she believes there is “excellent” growth potential for the company in the upcoming years.
Next month, the team in Japan would be joined by one sales representative and one marketing representative to supporting the company’s growing business, said Yamamoto-Hansen.
Aker Biomarine’s krill oil has also been used in cognitive health and joint health products in Japan.
For instance, its customer, Sunsho Pharmaceuticals which encapsulates Aker Biomarine’s krill oil for B2B sales, could provide interested brands with a FFC on knee joint pain relief.
Shiratori Pharmaceutical is also selling a krill oil FFC for supporting cognitive function since 2019.
Aside from skin health, the company is also studying how krill oil can contribute to healthy longevity amongst Japanese.
“As you know, close to 30 per cent of the Japanese population is over 65 years old, and this number will only increase going forward. We believe that krill oil can play an important role in supporting the health of senior consumers,” Yamamoto-Hansen said.
TV shopping success
The company has also witnessed TV shopping success late last year.
Everlife Co, which uses Aker Biomarine’s Superba Boost in its product ‘Red Omega 100’, has reported TV shopping success since launching the product in last September.
“The product has been featured multiple times on national TV through Japan's number one TV shopping channel ‘Jupiter Shop Channel’.
“After great success with the initial shows, ShopChannel selected this product as one of their best-selling newcomers and core focus products in the health category for 2022,” Yamamoto-Hansen said.
She is also the product representative for ‘Red Omega 100’ and have two live shows on TV shopping channel scheduled for this month.
Although the product is not a FFC, the product’s benefits were promoted based on the functionalities of the individual ingredients, such as krill oil, choline, astaxanthin, and omega-3.
Moving forward, the company’s strategies to grow its business in Japan include supporting its brand customers in product sales, reaching out to new potential customers, and boosting the public’s knowledge of krill oil.