Innovating the Fish Oil Industry

For some Icelanders it’s a childhood memory

Fish oil isn’t traditionally known for being an especially tasty product. Most of us can, without a doubt, recognize its somewhat “distinctive” taste. For some Icelanders it’s a childhood memory, taking them back to a time when their parents would coax them into taking their lýsi (the Icelandic word for fish oil) every morning.

In some cases, the taste would be masked with lemon flavoring, but that made it only slightly more bearable. In countries with dark winters and little daylight, such as Iceland, consuming fish oil becomes an important part of a healthy diet. It both provides the essential Omega-3 fatty acids as well a range of vitamins, including much needed vitamin D.  In fact, getting sufficient amounts of Omega-3s is nearly impossible without consuming a lot of fish or fish oil.

Margildi, a new Icelandic startup, has brought some desperately needed innovation to the fish oil industry. Their main goal: improve the taste experience for consumers. We paid the Margildi team a visit to find out just how they’re going to bring the flavor of fish oil into the future.

Snorri founded the company three years ago with his business partner Erlingur. He explains that the goal has always been to produce the best tasting fish oil. An interesting fact is that, traditionally, fish oil was produced from cod, but there are many other types of fish that can be used to produce the oil. For example, trimmings from pelagic fish are commonly used to make fish meal and other products for the agricultural industry, but Snorri had the idea of making a high value product out of this precious resource from the North Atlantic.

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To make that idea a reality, Margildi developed a patented approach to produce fish oil out of pelagic fish like herring, mackerel and capelin. Herring is the type of fish used most often by Margildi, which involves a patented cold refining process. The result of their process (called “winterization”) is an incredibly smooth and neutral tasting fish oil, which has won some high praise for its flavor. In 2017 Margildi received a gold star at the iTQi Superior Taste Awards for their herring oil with orange flavor. In the world of fish oil production, this is no minor feat; an iTQi star is a stamp of quality from highly regarded leaders in the culinary world, including Michelin-starred chefs and sommeliers.

Snorri explains that their product has been extremely well received and people who traditionally have had difficulties taking fish oil are finding their products easy on the palate. The company focused initially on the local market in Iceland, but with so much interest in their fish oil they’ve been able to find partners to offer the product overseas, including a partnership with Icelandic Group to bring their line of fish oils to the United States.

Margildi has gradually been adding new products to their line. Their newest offerings include herring oil supplemented with astaxanthin—a potent antioxidant that supports heart, eye and brain functions as well as increased endurance and faster recovery times after workouts.

We’re excited to see what other exciting innovations Margildi will come up with next and what other health benefits fish oil bring!

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