Ascenta Health Limited announced earlier this week that it has entered into a sales agreement with US-based health brand Nature’s Way. The company, which currently employs over 60 people in research, manufacturing, marketing, and sales, will continue its operations in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The deal provides an exit for Avrio Capital, a Canadian based nutraceutical and food sector venture capital firm, which made a $4 million investment in 2009 in Ascenta.
Established in 2003 by Marc St-Onge, Ascenta has built its company to become a leader in the manufacturer of Omega-3 health supplements, which are marketed ands old under the consumer brand name NutraSea. Located in Nova Scotia, Ascenta’s development has helped put Nova Scotia on the map when it comes to the marine-based life sciences sector. Ascenta has access to leading researchers, research facilities, and is ideally located to access the United States and European markets. Ascenta offers a series of non-GMO certified products, and acquires many of its ingredients from sustainable sources. Additionally, the company uses 100 percent renewable energy through Bullfrog Power, Canada’s largest green energy provider.
According to St-Onge, who serves as Ascenta’s CEO and President, “Ascenta Health has been a pioneer in the important omega-3 category with its vision, innovative research, and commitment to being environmentally responsible.” When it comes to the acquisition, St-Onge said, “With a global player like Nature’s Way the growth opportunities are expanded and will solidify the brand as a leader in the North American market.” As part of the agreement, St-Onge will retain ownership of Ascenta Skin, the company’s newly launched high-end skincare brand.
Nature’s Way CEO Mike Devereux said, “We are excited to have the market leading NutraSea brand and the Ascenta team join forces with our Nature’s Way business in Canada. Together we will continue to bring high quality solutions to market that enable the users of our brands to focus on their own health and wellness initiatives.” Founded in 1968, Nature’s Way has become one of the leading nutritional and dietary supplement companies in the United States. The brand, which now offers over 500 premium nutritional and natural products, was the first major certified organic supplement producer and the first nutritional products manufacturer with a state-of-the-art pharmaceutically licensed facility.
Omega-3s are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that aid in a number of key body functions, like brain development, cell division and growth, digestion, muscle activity, and fertility. Many types of omega-3s are found in foods, including shellfish and fatty fish. Some vegetable oils also provide omega-3s. Most omega-3 supplements are derived from fish oil, flaxseed oil, and algae as a vegetarian source. Marine oils are expected to continue providing the majority of omega-3s on the market.
According to some reports, retail sales of omega-3 are on track to hit $34.7 billion by 2016. In 2011, the omega-3 products market was valued at roughly $25.4 billion. At the time, the North American market represented approximately 43 percent of the omega-3 market share. By 2016, the American and Asian markets may be neck-and-neck.
The infant formula market relies heavily on omega-3, with almost 95 percent of infant formula products containing some amount of omega-3. The infant formula industry is subject to strict regulations regarding the nutritional content and quality of its products.
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