There’s No Hook On Our Bottom Line:
Algarithm Ingredients the Only North American Algal Omega-3 Supplier Not Producing or Selling Marine-Derived Ingredients.
Since its release last month, Netflix documentary Seaspiracy has spurred polarizing global debate about the environmental impacts of commercial fishing. Responses have ranged from heated industry rebuttals to celebrity endorsements and a growing consumer base pledging to stop eating fish. Few, if any, are taking a seat on the fence.
In the wake Seaspiracy, and in an era of increasingly conscientious consumer behaviour, it’s very important that brands — especially those going to market with “fish-free” messaging — carefully consider where their fish-alternative Omega-3 ingredients come from.
It may come as news that the vast majority of manufacturers, processors, and distributors supplying algal Omega-3 ingredients to the North American market also profit from marine-derived Omega-3s. Although their algal ingredients are marketed as “fish-free,” a significant portion of their business income is generated through the production and sale of traditional marine-derived oils. Algarithm is the only North American exception to this rule.
“Our business is 100% algae-only,” shares Algarithm co-founder Ben Kelly. “While we are not in the business of prescriptive ethics—it’s not our place to tell consumers or companies what is “right” or “wrong”— we believe the future of Omega-3s is algae, and our business is built on this belief. We mean it when we say there’s no hook on our bottom line.”
Algarithm’s Marketing Director, Kati Phillips, cautions that a lack of transparency about these practices can be problematic for consumers hoping to inspire change through their purchasing decisions.
“Consumers often have no choice but to make decisions based on marketing claims that may only be half-truths. For instance, an algal Omega-3 ingredient may itself be fish-free, but if the company producing that ingredient is profiting from traditional marine-derived oils, then, from a consumer standpoint, this conflicts with their desire to support an alternative economy that detracts from industrial fishing. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in demand for fish-free alternatives, especially in the wake of Seaspiracy. More than ever, consumers care about, and want to know exactly where their food and supplements come from.”
Seaspiracy co-director, Ali Tabrizi, closes the documentary with a scathing review of the seafood industry. He argues that a lack of transparency and regulation diminishes consumers’ ability to make educated, values-based purchasing decisions. This absence leads to disempowerment, denying consumers access to information that allows them to put their buying power to work for causes they care about.
For brands formulating and marketing products with fish-free claims, Phillips urges them to ask questions and demand answers with respect to transparency and traceability.
“We owe it to our clients and their customers to help them feel confident in their decisions — whether that’s in-industry at the point of formulation and procurement, or for consumers, at the point of purchase — especially when those decisions are based on personal values,” asserts Phillips. “After all, what you see and what you’re being sold should be what you get.”
“It’s important to note that our intent is not to criticize long-established supply chains and businesses,” explains Kelly. “After all, our industry would not be where it is without the body of research and technical processing knowledge contributed and funded by traditional Omega-3 companies. So, it’s important to remember that while we firmly believe the future of Omega-3s is algae, we wouldn’t be able to provide these alternate solutions without much of this foundational work.”
Algarithm produces fish-free Omega-3 ingredients straight from the source, using an unmodified strain of microalgae which was initially wild-harvested from the pristine waters of Canada’s Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia and is now grown in a completely closed system free from contaminants and allergens that can be found in fish and fish oils. Our algal Omega-3 ingredients are produced using sensory-first proprietary processing methods which ensure exceptional sensory results in any application. Algarithm endeavors to make the consumption of Omega-3s easy, enjoyable, and eco-friendly for everyone and was founded on the belief that plant-based diets are a central tenet of a sustainable future.
If you’re interested in testing our fish-free Omega-3 ingredients in a supplement or food and beverage application, please don’t hesitate to request a sample.