[Global] Globally, health-minded consumers are seeking out carotenoids as part of their dietary supplement regimen; according to a 2015 market research report composed by ReportsnReports.com, the value of the worldwide carotenoids industry is forecast to reach approximately $1.4 billion by 2019. Astaxanthin (from the alga Haematococcus pluvialis) is growing in use and in demand, as more individuals recognize its health benefits.
Sustainability of astaxanthin, therefore, is a key consideration; without sufficient algae cultivation on a renewable basis, the costs will skyrocket and the ability to innovate new supplements, foods and beverages will be hampered.
Sustainability is important because it shows the quality and care of the product you are buying. If a business is investing into a product, knowing that the product purchased was developed in a sustainable way shows the hallmarks of responsible environmental stewardship likely to correlate with product quality and traceability.
When purchasing natural astaxanthin, this translates to minimizing material and energy waste. Natural astaxanthin comes from an algal crop, and astaxanthin production can be thought of as farming. The growing and farming of algae can be done in a variety of ways, including outdoor raceways, outdoor closed tube systems, or indoor photobioreactors. Factors to consider include the geographic footprint of the facility, the energy source being used to power the plant, and the efficiency of the cultivation equipment (for example, water requirements and loss due evaporation, cleaning etc.)
As astaxanthin is cultivated from an alga, the environmental footprint of the production is small in some cases. Outdoor cultivation may require tens of acres of land and, in some cases, involve losing water to evaporation and risking contamination from the weather, bugs, animals or pollutants.
Responsible ingredient suppliers take steps to improve efficiency and minimize waste. AstaReal, for example, uses renewable hydroelectric power from the Columbia River at its production facility in Moses Lake. AstaReal’s manufacturing facility also has a small physical footprint because algae are grown in indoor tanks that contribute to an efficient use of space, minimize water loss from evaporation and environmental contamination at the same time. So, the same steps that lead to more sustainable production also contribute to the quality of AstaReal® Astaxanthin products.