A critical step in the development of the blue economy particularly outside the traditional, established industries (e.g. fishing) is the identification of routes into the supply chain operated by product manufacturers (e.g. global healthcare and cosmetics companies) whereby producers of "raw" marine-derived ingredients can provide material of the correct quality directly to these manufacturers for a reasonable price.
For example, the provision of marine-derived high value chemicals from algae and bacteria (e.g. novel antioxidants and colorants) for the cosmetics industry is often cited as an example where the blue economy can have a real impact on renewable and natural products provision but what are the hurdles to entering the supply chain? Previous experience has shown that some large manufacturers often have preferred suppliers from whom they purchase ingredients driven by the need for regulatory and safety compliance throughout their supply chain. Thus, any provider of ingredients entering a supply chain at an early stage may find it difficult gain traction and value for their raw product at a cost which makes it financially attractive to produce.
Cosmetics and healthcare
Early-stage SMEs developing new/alternative ingredients who want to target established manufacturers. A Established companies which already produce products (e.g. small-scale niche manufacturers) but wish to expand their business into new markets by monetising co-products for example.
How does a small SME enter such a supply chain?
What are the legal constraints for different industries?
What are the differences in supplying a manufacturing tool (e.g. an enzyme useful for manufacturing) versus an ingredient (e.g. an antioxidant)?
How do you maximise the monetary value of your product?
How do European supply chains work - are the regulations standardised across the EU?
In a global market unexpected factors can often come into play:
Is the product deemed kosher or halal (http://www.novozymes.com/en/about-us/quality-and-supplier-management/qua...)?
Is the product "suitable for vegetarians and is this an issue?
Are their niche markets (e.g. micro-algal flour) to be aware of?
How do you adapt your business to new markets - if you already harvest seaweed for one industry but see an opportunity to provide a higher value ingredient to another sector how do you enter that supply chain, how do you find out if you are compliant with the relevant regulations?
Improved understanding of regional and international supply chains and how they operate both within and outside the EU? Advice and mechanisms for entering these supply chains for bio-derived products.
Atlantic Area and beyond