Premium Secondary Seafood Processor New Zealand Coastal Seafoods has launched production of an extremely high-quality hydrolysed collagen powder for consumption as a human dietary supplement. The collagen is extracted from Ling maw – one of the world’s richest protein foods with collagen making up over 90% of its content – and will be supplied onto the booming nutraceuticals market.
Based in Christchurch, New Zealand Coastal Seafoods opened its plant in February 2020 for the processing of Ling maw – the swim bladder of Ling which is a deep-sea fish sustainably harvested from the pristine waters around the South Island – into consumer products destined mainly for the Chinese market. The maw was once a by-product of New Zealand’s Ling fishery and was discarded or converted into fishmeal and fertilizer.
Powdered collagen has now become New Zealand Coastal Seafoods’ flagship product, based on a hydrolysis process developed especially for this purpose by New Zealand’s leading medical collagen researchers. The process breaks the Ling maw-sourced protein down into smaller particles so that it is more water soluble and more easily absorbed into the human body.
New Zealand Coastal Seafoods Chief Executive Andrew Peti says the test results have been staggering. “Our hydrolysis process when applied to such a protein-rich fish by-product looks to be a real game changer for everyone who is interested in collagen and its benefits to health and appearance, both here and around the world.”
Marine sources of collagen are recognised for their purity and very low risk of viral contamination relative to products extracted from farmed animal carcasses. This is even more so with collagen from Ling which has lived deep in the Southern Ocean and is harvested under certification from the Marine Stewardship Council.
Mr Peti says the Christchurch Ling maw plant is now operating in conjunction with processing partners to produce the hydrolysed collagen powder in commercial quantities – and they have very keen interest from consumer products companies.
“High-quality and high-value collagen supply is additional to our ongoing business of producing consumer-ready dried Ling maw which is highly prized in Chinese cooking for its flavour and health-enhancing properties, and of processing other marine powders and oils,” he says. “We anticipate strong demand for our premium product over the next 12 months and with this, increased employment opportunities at our plant.”
New Zealand Coastal Seafoods has so far invested $1.5 million to set up and develop the plant, in the Christchurch Airport commercial precinct. The company is a living wage employer with 20 full-time staff at the site.
“We are totally committed to growth and development of the bio-economy in New Zealand and especially in Christchurch from where we will export increasing volumes of our range of products,” Mr Peti says. “It’s no secret that Covid-19 brought a collapse of the daigou trade of our Ling maw, with Chinese visitors and locals unable to buy within this country for on-sending to other destinations. The 2020-21 year is behind us and collagen production is a major step into a brighter future.”
New Zealand Coastal Seafoods began its push into the collagen market by engaging the services of Dr Steve Kirk of Medical Collagen New Zealand Limited to undertake research & development on a hydrolysis process more refined and less energy intensive than traditional methods for collagen extraction from land-based animals.
“This hydrolysis process is very different to traditional methods and has been tailored specifically to optimise the yield from marine sourced collagen. It is also much cleaner and greener,” says Dr Kirk.
Collagen is increasingly recognised in the global search for natural ways to slow the processes of ageing. Collagen proteins are important for musculoskeletal health, most notably connective tissues and muscles. They are also believed to be excellent for cell repair in organs, bones and skin. The body’s ability to naturally produce collagen deteriorates and collagen dietary supplements create a supply of bio-available protein for support of cell regeneration. Globally, the annual value of collagen sales is estimated at over US$8.4 billion, with a growth rate of 9% pa forecast for the rest of this decade.