What Makes One Krill Oil Better Than Another?
There are now a number of krill oils on the market, some cheaper than our NutriStart product. I had a look at a couple of these competitors, through the lens of what makes our krill oil superior, and, what I found was that they are “cheaper” products, not just less expensive.
When purchasing any krill oil (or any fish oil for that matter), there are two issues of paramount importance: is it sustainable and how is it processed and extracted?
Ecologically Sound Harvesting of Krill Oil
Currently there are a few manufacturers of krill oils on the market. Nutristart uses Superba Krill oil manufactured by Aker Biomarine (http://www.superbakrill.com/). This product is certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, ranked the highest of all eco-labels surveyed. It eliminates by-catch, and minimizes environmental impact. Aker Biomarine also reports to, and is certified by, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), a treaty-based organization responsible for preserving the resources of the Antarctic.
Aker BioMarine tracks krill from catch to sale, a concept called traceability. Their supply has 100% traceability throughout the entire supply chain and can even be traced back to the exact GPS coordinates where the krill was harvested. Aker’s proprietary harvesting technique eliminates by-catch by releasing other sea life back into the waters unharmed. Third-party onboard observers have reported zero by-catch.
I looked at one of our competitors, Jamieson’s Omega Red krill oil, and found that it is certified for sustainability by the Friends of the Sea organization which is not endorsed by GreenPeace. Whereas the Marine Stewardship Council ranked at 95% in the Accenture survey of eco-labels, Friends of the Sea only attained a rating of 55.8%. GreenPeace maintains that the Friends of the Sea organization does not have strong enough environmental standards, and the quality and consistency of their assessments are poor.
When I checked into another competitor, Webber Royal Red Krill Oil, I found that it has no certification indicating that their product is sustainably harvested. As well, their product contains ethyl vanillin, a synthetic vanilla flavor (used to mask the fishy smell that sometimes adheres to krill oil caps).
Solvent Extraction of Krill Oil
When a major manufacturer of krill oil was found at fault for a deadly explosion in their production facility, “the investigation found three principal causes for the accident. One was shortcomings in the design and control of chemical processes connected to the extraction of krill oil at the plant that resulted in the uncontrolled release of acetone and the explosion.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/neptune-at-fault-in-deadly-plant-explosion-csst-rules-1.2636094
Aside from sustainability, the other key feature of Superba Krill oil is the fact that the only solvent that they use is food grade alcohol. Most other krill oil products use the chemical solvent acetone because it can extract more oil from the krill than alcohol can. Acetone is what is used to make nail polish remover and paint thinner. For the consumer, this means the oil can have potentially toxic acetone residue left in it.
Webber would not disclose how their oil is extracted, maintaining that it was a proprietary process. Jamieson maintains that they do not use acetone in the production of their krill oil, but according to Aker Biomarine, they are the only krill manufacturer that uses food grade alcohol instead of acetone. Even though that means they extract less oil from the product than their competitors, the result is a krill oil that is cleaner, and safer.
Quality Control of Krill Oil
Superba™ Krill is unique in the marine omega-3 world due to the significantly fewer processing steps needed to create the final product. Unlike other marine omega-3 sources, krill is considered a whole food extract. In fact, because it is environmentally clean in its original form, no purification or distillation is required. Furthermore, the immediate on-board processing of Superba™ Krill prevents decomposition and degradation and protects the nutritional integrity of the product.
Aker BioMarine developed its patent pending Eco-Harvesting® technology based on its krill harvesting activity since 2003. This technology, using a specially designed trawl system and direct hose connection between the trawl and the vessel, holds a special mechanism that singles out unwanted by-catch (non-krill species) and releases it unharmed.
Harvesting krill in a commercially viable and environmentally sound way is challenging. Traditional trawling methods where the catch is hauled up on deck and emptied into holding tanks before processing is unsuitable, as the krill contains highly digestive enzymes and basically self-destructs before it can be processed.
With Eco-Harvesting® the equipment stays under water, while a continuous stream of water flows through the hose, bringing the krill live and fresh directly into the factory vessel, which allows for processing of fresh raw material with superior product quality.
For more information in the form of videos and podcasts visit the link below to the Superba website.
Ultimately we get what we pay for, and though the NutriKrill (Superba) brand may cost more than some other products, the consumer is getting value for their money in the form of a much high quality product. And, in the case of product that you consume, quality here means not only ecologically sound, but also safer and more effective.