Aker signs first deal to take krill oil to China
By Jess Halliday

Aker BioMarine has signed its first agreement to supply a Chinese supplement maker with its branded krill oil, in a deal that paves the way for a new category in the country.

The Norwegian ingredients company has been focusing on building a customer base in Asia over the past year and already has an agreement in Taiwan, as well as presence in Japan and India.

The new deal in China, however, is thought to be the first time involving a krill oil for the Chinese supplement market, Matts Johansen, executive vice president for sales and marketing, told NutraIngredients.com.

Johansen declined to reveal the identity of the Chinese manufacturer, but said that it will be announced when finished products are ready for market. However the five year deal is exclusive, and the customer has agreed to purchase a minimum of 230 tons of Aker’s Superba Krill over that period. The volume is expected to ramp up over time.

Johansen pointed out that krill is already eaten in China, where it is regarded as an exclusive delicacy. The fact that it is known as “something special”, and renowned for its nutritional content – as well as higher awareness of omega-3 – will prove helpful.
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The manufacturer will play an important role in building the krill market in China. Johansen said: “It is challenging for us in Western Europe to understand the business dynamic”.

The manufacturer, on the other hand, has a good understanding of how to segment and position products, as well as how to approach different channels. Indeed, the manufacturer will launch Superba Krill into several channels in the Chinese market.

Import license

Aker will start delivering the krill ingredient to China as soon as an import license is obtained. That is being handled by the manufacturer, Johansen said, and although he has no insight on the timeframe “it is not seen as an issue”, he said.

As for time to market, Johansen said the manufacturer is keen on a first launch “as soon as possible”.