THAIS WANT TO SQUEEZE HIGH-VALUE PRODUCTS FROM TUNA
The ingredient arm of Thai Union Group is exploring further new product development (NPD) opportunities from tuna as it seeks to expand its functional protein offering by emulating the success of the dairy industry in moving into high-value ingredients, Guan Yu Lim reported for NUTRAIngredients-Asia.
This follows the footsteps of its tuna oil and bone powder ingredient launched in 2017 and 2021 respectively. According to Leonardus Coolen, managing director of Thai Union Ingredients (TUI), only about 45% of the tuna fish (mostly flesh) is consumed, while the rest is wasted or goes into low value applications.
TUI’s first product was tuna oil derived from raw tuna heads which would have otherwise been thrown away. Tuna oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, which is crucial to infant brain development and human health.
TUI is in the midst of opening a refinery plant in Germany, which will produce crude and refined tuna oil for the baby food industry. Besides omega-3, tuna is also a good source of vitamins (A,B,D), minerals (calcium, iron, selenium), and protein.
“We should look at the value of the entire fish. I often make the comparison with the dairy industry, where the primary products are milk and cheese, but these days, we can derive functional ingredients like lactose and whey proteins,” Coolen said.
He told NutraIngredients-Asia that the company hopes to introduce more functional protein products into the market over the next one to three years.