AAK has announced a strategic partnership with Progress Biotech to supply the Dutch company’s high-quality, algae-based DHA for infant formula.

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is commonly derived from fish oils. It offers several clinically proven benefits and is mandatory in infant formula across the EU.

Progress Biotech secured Infant Novel Food approval in the EU for its algal DHA in May 2021. It represents the purest form of DHA oil, with proven high quality as well as neutral taste and color. It is also a vegan-friendly, sustainable alternative to fish-based DHA and is produced without the use of solvents.

The agreement sees AAK, a major supplier of oils and fats to the global infant formula industry, continue to add to its portfolio of active lipids.

Dr. Raimund C. Hoenes, AAK’s Head of Global Special Nutrition, said: “This partnership means we can offer infant formula manufacturers a plant-based DHA oil that meets the highest demands on quality. Our algal DHA also has neutral taste and color, which is difficult to achieve with alternatives based on fish oil.”

In addition to its technical expertise on DHA oils, Progress Biotech is a company with extensive experience in international trade and logistics.

Hoenes added: “Having evaluated the DHA oil market, we chose Progress Biotech as our strategic partner because it shares our values on quality, sustainable sourcing, and the importance of a flexible supply chain. By combining the strengths of our companies, we bring an exceptional offer to the market.”

AAK’s decision to add the plant-based DHA to its portfolio is supported by the product’s sustainability credentials as it has a far lower environmental impact than DHA sourced from fish.

The microalgae used to produce Progress Biotech’s DHA oil are sourced from the sea, but the production is carried out in a closed environment. This allows for optimal quality levels and purity, while it also means any environmental impact can be strictly controlled and minimized.

Mr. Jaap Peters, founder of Progress Biotech, said: “I am proud that AAK has chosen to partner with Progress Biotech to take our algal oil to the global infant formula market. We now look forward to working closely with AAK in growing the DHA algal oil business.”