Aquaculture for all

Thai Union embraces microalgae-based ingredients with new investment

Thai Union is expanding its ingredients portfolio by investing $10 million in Canada's Mara Renewables Corporation, a leading micro-algae producer.

Thai Union is hoping to develop innovative sources of omega-3 fatty acids for animal feed

Mara Renewables specialises in algae-based bio-products and just led a CAD $39.5 million growth funding round © Mara Renewables

Thai Union joins other industry-leading financial partners to accelerate the expansion of Mara’s proven portfolio of micro-algal products and unique innovation. After investing CAD $10 million as part of Mara's CAD $39.5 million growth funding round, Thai Union will appoint one representative to join Mara’s board of directors.

Mara, based in Nova Scotia, Canada, is one of the world’s leading producers of sustainably grown algae-based bio-products. Since its inception in 2012, Mara has successfully built a portfolio of micro-algal strains, some of which are processed using a clean, environmentally-friendly extraction method into high quality algal oil. The plant-based oil offers a non-GMO vegan option for DHA-rich omega-3 fatty acids for human nutrition. Mara’s ingredients are approved by multiple respected regulatory bodies, and are used by leading infant nutrition, supplement and food and beverage customers worldwide.

“As an industry leader in innovation and sustainability, we are committed to our ingredients business which valourises our co-products into natural and nutritional ingredients such as DHA-rich tuna oil,” said Thiraphong Chansiri, President and CEO of Thai Union.

“Our strategic partnership with Mara further builds on this business by creating opportunities to jointly expand our product portfolios, grow our global presence, and accelerate go-to-market initiatives. We’re excited to partner with Mara and together provide nutritious and sustainably sourced DHA omega-3 fatty acids to consumers worldwide,” Chansiri continued.

Thai Union’s commitment to sustainable nutrition aligns closely with Mara’s mission. In 2018, Thai Union started its ingredients business to transform its co-products from fish processing into natural ingredients for human nutrition. It creates highest quality tuna oil by processing raw tuna heads through a low temperature extraction method that preserves the oil’s natural functionality. Thai Union’s tuna oil contains the highest DHA omega-3 fatty acids content compared to other fish sources.

Together with Mara, Thai Union is actively working to create more choices in the market for omega-3 fatty acids and expanding the reach of this critical nutritional element, from both algal and tuna-based sources. The investment creates opportunities for both companies to accelerate growth through cooperation in go-to-market, research and development and operations. Mara is exploring, for example, refining its crude algal oil at Thai Union’s state-of-the-art oil refinery in Rostock, northern Germany. Thai Union has also already been cooperating with Mara in Thai Union’s Omega-3 Center of Excellence at their headquarters in Samut Sakhon by performing successful trials using Mara's crude algal oil. Together, the two companies are well-positioned to serve the growing demand for omega-3-rich products.

Arturo Ania, CEO of Mara said, “Mara is very excited to solidify a partnership with Thai Union. Our two companies share maritime roots, a passion for science-based nutrition and a vision for a more sustainable food system. Thai Union’s established world leading position in human and pet care segments, collaborative culture and strong leadership fits well with Mara’s ambitions of making a positive impact through our people, products and purpose.”

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