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China Daily / 2023-07 / 04 / Page012

Potential of krill oil market in China is huge, says Aker BioMarine

By ZHANG LINWAN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-07-04 00:00

Aker BioMarine, a biotech innovator from Norway, expects China to become one of its largest markets in the next few years.

"Chinese consumers are really open to new products and technologies. China now is the fastest-growing market in the world for krill industry," said Matts Johansen, CEO of the company that harvests the shrimplike crustacean.

Aker BioMarine was founded in 2006 based on the health benefits of krill. Rich in phospholipid omega-3s, krill oil has a positive effect on the health and well-being of humans, animals and fish. This has been proven by extensive scientific research.

"Our mission is to improve human health, while ensuring the planet also stays healthy," Johansen said.

"To us, it makes no sense to take something out of the ocean to improve our health, if it simultaneously compromises the health of the ocean," he added.

Today, the company has become one of the largest krill harvesters and suppliers in the world. Its business covers offshore harvesting and production, logistical operations, as well as onshore manufacturing and sales of krill-derived products.

"We are proud to have established an entire supply chain — from harvesting to production — and developed innovative and sustainable harvesting methods," Johansen said.

In China, Aker BioMarine has set up two offices: one in Shanghai and one in Beijing.

All its products including those for dietary supplements, aquaculture and pet food have been introduced into Chinese markets.

"China holds particular significance to us due to the close ties and collaboration between China and Norway, the market outlook and our good teamwork with existing partners," Johansen said.

The company's newest vessel, Antarctic Provider, for example, was built by CIMC Raffles Group in Yantai, Shandong province.

Aker BioMarine is concerned with the aging population in China and is trying to be part of the solution.

According to projections made by the National Health Commission, the number of Chinese people aged 60 or above will exceed 400 million by around 2035, accounting for about 30 percent of the total population.

"I think how to stay healthy will become a focus for both governments and people. What we really need is preventative health measures, not just therapeutic medication," said Johansen.

Over the past few years, the krill oil supplier has made huge investments in science, research and development, as well as intellectual property, with the aim of understanding the nutritional value of krill oil and ensuring their products are supported by scientific evidence.

According to the company, krill oil has the potential to lower the risks of various lifestyle diseases. Meanwhile, it can help improve overall life quality and thus save billions of dollars for society. Currently, Aker BioMarine is seeking cooperation with Chinese partners in order to provide the best krill oil possible for the benefit of consumers.

"We know that China is building a batch of krill-harvesting vessels, krill industrial parks and oil-extraction facilities," Johansen said.

"We hope to work with our Chinese counterparts to develop the krill oil market in a sustainable way, from harvesting to products, ensuring a win-win situation for suppliers, consumers and society," he said.

Johansen also emphasized their commitment to sustainability during the Summer Davos Forum that concluded on Thursday in North China's port city of Tianjin.

In the last 10 years, Aker BioMarine has cut its carbon dioxide emissions per ton of krill produced by approximately 50 percent. By implementing sustainability initiatives, such as the reuse of energy and efficiency projects on vessels, it aims to reduce carbon intensity per ton of krill produced by 2030 and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, according to Johansen.


Executives from Aker BioMarine, a biotech innovator from Norway, attend the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin. CHINA DAILY



Matts Johansen, CEO of Aker BioMarine



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