Building business on sustainability
The search to source health ingredients often includes overcoming issues of sustainability. David Hart, Vice President of Marketing for Qualitas, a supplier of algae based omega-3, shares his insights on how Qualitas are tackling these challenges:
What part does traceability play in the modern market?
“Consumers are more aware of where their foods and supplements come from, and are interested in the most authentic products. They want transparency in the supply chain. Given the ease in which information can be found on the Web, many people make the effort to educate themselves on their consumer and food choices. Natural has a perception of being better for you and the planet.
Qualitas has the ability to trace its Almega PL omega-3 oil back to the very ponds where the algae was grown. This is one of the advantages of being vertically integrated from growing the algae through extraction of the omega-3 oil.”
Fish based omega-3 faces challenges of marine stewardship. Can plant based omega-3 offer a solution?
“Our very business is built around sustainability. Many people don’t know this, but, algae are the original source of marine omega-3s—fish and krill get them from their diet—ultimately from algae that they eat. Farm-grown algae as a source for omega-3s is a paradigm shift for the omega-3 industry. This represents an evolutionary jump from a hunter-gatherer technology (exploiting the marine ecosystem via fishing) to a renewable, agrarian technology.
Qualitas grows a non-GMO strain of algae that is naturally high in EPA omega-3s and polar lipids. The polar lipid structure with phospholipids and glycolipids, is more like krill oil. However, in contrast to krill and fish oils, we grow the algae as a source of omega-3s instead of impacting the complex ecosystems of the oceans.
Given that there are not enough fish in the oceans to meet the minimal global World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of 250mg EPA and DHA per person, per day, algal sources of omega-3 are the future of the omega-3 industry.”
Does switch omega-3 production from ocean to land not raise new challenges of resource consumption?
“Qualitas Health is proud steward of local resources. Its algae farm in West Texas literally “makes the desert bloom”, efficiently utilizing resources: desert scrubland, brackish water, renewable energy and abundant sunlight. This allows Qualitas to grow a natural marine algae in the desert with no use of fresh water. In addition, the algae perform photosynthesis, absorbing the greenhouse gas CO2 and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Qualitas has purchased renewable energy credits so its electricity use comes from renewable local sources.”