Healthplex Expo 2024

Krill oil NPD: China firms apply phospholipid omega-3 into adult milk powder and more

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

A picture showing Beijing Dawn Aerospace Bio-tech's (东方红) krill oil products. © Aker Biomarine
A picture showing Beijing Dawn Aerospace Bio-tech's (东方红) krill oil products. © Aker Biomarine

Related tags Krill oil Aker biomarine omega-3

China companies are driving new innovation in the krill oil sector, with milk powder firm Beingmate (贝因美) incorporating the phospholipid-bound omega-3 into adult milk powder and others combining it with multiple functional ingredients for specific health purposes.

This is according to major krill oil raw material supplier Aker Biomarine.

The Norwegian company has been seeing a rapid uptake of krill oil in China especially since 2022.

From 2021 to 2023, the company has been growing by 80 per cent each year in its China revenue, CEO Matts Johansen said earlier​, describing how the rate of consumption has hit the “critical mass”.

Most krill oil products are typically sold as soft gel capsules and come in a single formulation – meaning the product only contains krill oil.

However, innovation in dosage formats and formulations have popped up in the China market in the past year, Thong Luu, SVP HH&I and general manager China told NutraIngredients-Asia ​at Healthplex Expo 2024. The three-day expo was held in Shanghai between June 19 and 21.

A notable example is Beingmate, which launched a milk powder containing krill oil and other ingredients, such as calcium and selenium.

Catered to middle-aged and senior adults, the product was launched under the sub-brand Kang Le Zi (康乐滋) last year.

beingmate krill oil powder
Beingmate has formulated a milk powder containing krill oil and ingredients such as calcium and selenium.

Beingmate is only one example of how companies are applying krill oil in general food and beverage products, and Luu believes there are more growth opportunities to be explored in this area.

The development is against the backdrop of a greater understanding of krill oil’s benefits among both the industry and consumers, and the demand for new innovative products.

Luu said that Aker Biomarine has been investing in China’s market education for years, such as emphasising how phospholipid-bound omega-3 was more bioavailable since the structure was compatible with human cells.

Krill oil products are not yet allowed to make specific health claims in China, but Aker Biomarine has already applied for the “blue hat” registration. Once approved, krill oil products sold in China, including offline retail channels, would be able to make specific permitted health claims.

So far, research has shown krill oil’s benefits in improving knee stiffness and physical function in individuals​ suffering from mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis. Other benefits include reducing cardiovascular disease risk.

There is also the potential of formulating krill oil with other ingredients, such as lutein ester and zeaxanthin for eye health, or combining it with plant sterols for cardiovascular health.

This, Luu said, was a plausible way that companies could tap on to differentiate their krill oil products.

TV shopping and MLM companies joining the race

It is not just food and nutrition companies that are seeing potential in krill oil nutritional products. Multi-level marketing (MLM) and TV shopping platforms are also jumping on the bandwagon as they seek profitable products to sell via their channels.

Examples include TV shopping channel Huimai (惠买) which sells krill oil under the brand Mega Natural and MLM companies Chenyi Style (辰颐物语), Yunji (云集), and stated-owned firm Beijing Dawn Aerospace Bio-tech (东方红).

Luu said these “private domain” or Si Yu (私域) channels thrived primarily on the word of mouth and were less price-sensitive in comparison to other distribution methods.

Prices have gone down

Luu added that the price of krill oil products has gone down in the past two years as more players enter the scene.

Today, a bottle of 60 capsules containing 40 per cent concentration phospholipid krill oil could cost RMB150 to RMB 200 (US$20 - $27.50), while a higher grade 56 per cent concentration phospholipid krill oil – which Aker Biomarine is commercialising as Superba Boost - could cost RMB220 to 280 per bottle (US$30.30 - $38).

“The prices have gone down because the market has expanded by a lot with the entry of more brands,” ​he said. Three years ago, a bottle of Superba Boost grade krill oil could cost about RMB300 (US$41), he said.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Women's Health For All Life Stages

Women's Health For All Life Stages

Content provided by Gencor | 29-May-2024 | White Paper

SPINS' recent industry trends analysis shows that women's health is finally getting its due after years of being overlooked in favor of men's...

Harness the power of algae for omega-3 innovation

Harness the power of algae for omega-3 innovation

Content provided by dsm-firmenich | 08-May-2024 | Insight Guide

Algal-sourced omega-3s have limitless potential, able to scale to meet the needs of our planet’s population with twice the potency – naturally – and all...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more


Nutra Champions Podcast

Nutra Champions Podcast