Raw material sources for the long-chain omega-3 market: Trends and sustainability. Part 2 by ProQuest


[...] about $180 million covers raw materials, $1.28 billion covers refined oils and concentrates, and $13. First of all, to put things into perspective, the fish oil price peak in 1998 during the major El Nio event was unprecedented. Alaska, for example, catches about 53% of the US catch, or about 4.4 MMT of fish. Since most of the fish are lean fish, we might assume that 46% would be waste and that waste might yield 2% fish oil.

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									                                                                                                          264              inform April 2009, Vol. 20 (4)

        Raw material sources for the
        long-chain omega-3 market:
        Trends and sustainability. Part 2.
        Editor’s note: This paper is an update of a presentation delivered at              oil market is somewhat complex, with many companies and many
        the 99th AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo in Seattle, Washington, USA,                   joint ventures and/or strategic alliances involved at various layers
        May 19, 2008. The first part of this article appeared in the March                 within the industry. This structure is shown in Figure 1 (Bimbo
        2009 issue of inform.                                                              2007).
                                                                                                The base of the market is the producer of crude fish oil. Every
        Anthony P. Bimbo                                                                   producer wants to be involved in this market, seduced by the $13
                                                                                           billion pie, but only a few have the patience, stamina, and financial
                                                                                           support to pursue it. Most of the nutraceutical fish oil producers
                                                                                           are large chemical or nutritional oil companies that have installed
        nutrACeutICAl (omegA-3) FIsh oIls                                                  expensive processing facilities to produce a final food- or phar-
        A recent report from the Global Organization for EPA and DHA                       maceutical-grade fish oil. Unfortunately their plants are relatively
        (GOED 2008, where EPA is eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA is                          small and not suited for removal of the macro impurities in the
        docosahexaenoic acid) indicates that the omega-3 market has                        crude oil. That job is left to the semi-refined and refined fish oil
        reached $13 billion. Actually, about $180 million covers raw mate-                 producers who generally are capable of degumming; alkali refin-
        rials, $1.28 billion covers refined oils and concentrates, and $13.1               ing; carbon, silica, and clay bleaching; and possibly winterizing.
        billion covers consumer products. The structure of the omega-3 fish                There is some overlap between the semi-refiner and the refiner,
                                                                                           and there might also be some overlap between the refiner and the
                                                                                           nutraceutical fish oil producer. There are also strategic alliances and
                                                                                           joint ventures along the way. Companies in the middle of the chain
                                                                                           want to lock up the basic raw materials at the bottom of the chain.
                                                                                           Generally the finishing steps in the process involve the removal of
                          FOOD           M E D IC A L                H E A LT H F O O D    the micro impurities and contaminants as well as the concentration
                         COMPANY           FOOD                      SUPPLEM ENT           or purification of the omega-3 fatty acids. All of these processing
                                       FO RM ULATO R                   PRODUCER            steps produce a large volume of by-products, which must be dis-
                                                                                           posed of or utilized.
                                                                                                Figures 2 and 3 outline the processing steps involved in the
                                                        R e m o ve s con tam in an ts,     production of these types of oils. These previously appeared in a
             N U T R A C E U TIC A L                    ch o le ste ro l, o xid a tio n    1998 INFORM article (Bimbo 1998) but still have relevance. There
                   F IS H O IL                          p ro d u cts. F ra ctionate s
                PRODUCER                                th e o il. C o n cen tra te s or
                                                                                           might be other processing steps, for example enzymatic processes,
                                                        p u rifie s E P A and D H A .      but these are generally proprietary and not disclosed.
                                                        A d d s a n tio xid a nts.
                                                        E n ca p su la te s.
                  R E F IN E D
                                                                                           other sourCes oF omegA-3 oIls
                  F IS H O IL                                                              In addition to the traditional sources of the omega-3-desirable fish
                 PRODUCER                               R e m o ve s fre e fatty
                                                        a cid s, co lo r, h e a vy         oils, there are other sources either just entering the marketplace
                                                        m e ta ls, stea rin e ,            or in the pipeline. These other sources are much more expensive
               S E M I-R E F IN E D                     o xid a tio n p rod u cts
                                                        a n d p ro te cts the o il         than fish oil but are now of interest as the price of fish oil skyrock-
                   F IS H O IL
                 PRODUCER                               w ith a n tio xid a n ts.          eted during 2006–2008 and then retreated. Figure 4 shows the his-
                                                        M igh t w in te rize .             toric run-up in the price of crude fish oil C&F [cost and freight]
                                                        C o n tro ls fre e fatty                First of all, to put things into perspective, the fish oil price peak
                                                        a cid s, m o istu re a n d         in 1998 during the major El Niño event was unprecedented. Before
             C R U D E F IS H O IL                      im p u ritie s, o xid a tio n
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