Demand for eye health ingredients in Europe has prompted a second round of expansion at Valensa International's natural astaxanthin production facility in Florida.
The company is now producing 40% more Zanthin-branded astaxanthin than it was in 2007 — an increase it says has been driven principally by a rise in sales of the ingredient in Europe. Astaxanthin is an antioxidant capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, which makes it available to the eyes, where it can alleviate the oxidative stress that contributes to ocular diseases.
A recent report by Frost & Sullivan said longer life expectancies and soaring medical costs were leading more European consumers to seek out dietary supplements that protected their eyes from age-related eye illnesses, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma.
'European Eye Health Ingredients Market' said the market was worth $43.4 million in 2007, but predicted this would double in 2014 to $87.4 million.
Valensa, which sources astaxanthin from a freshwater algae called Haematococcus pluvialis, said demand for Zanthin had also increased in America because it was pesticide and allergen free.
The company said this was possible thanks to its "controlled raw material monitoring and extraction facilities that are not used for extractions of materials that are known to cause allergic reactions, such as legumes and shellfish."
Rudi Moerck, president and CEO, explained: "When marketers of natural astaxanthin contract out for the extraction of biomass to produce natural astaxanthin, there is a chance that the extracting company will process multiple raw materials through the same facilities. We have seen instances in the market where materials such as shellfish are produced in the same facilities as astaxanthin and are sold without appropriate label warnings introducing the possibility of allergenicity into the final astaxanthin extract. Companies who work with Valensa are assured that cross-contamination of this type does not exist."
He added: "Quality is critical to the acceptance of astaxanthin in all product formulations especially eye health formulas. At Valensa, we are committed to providing the highest quality astaxanthin on the market."