AgarGel is engaged in the manufacture of agar-agar and carrageenan, hydrocolloids extracted from red seaweeds used as gelling, thickening and stabilizing agent in several industrial applications. Our company has been a pioneer in the manufacture of seaweed derivatives in Brazil. It has been continuously improving its productive processes to deliver higher quality seaweed hydrocolloids to cater to the most demanding technical specifications devolving from any industrial segment.
Our hydrocolloids are used in a wide range of foodstuffs as a textural and functional ingredient. In regards to the biotechnology segment, our agar-agar is used to grow plants. In the pharmaceutical industry it is used as a bed for microbiological cultures as well as for the manufacture of vegan capsules. Our processed seaweeds are supplied as a source of raw material to manufacture seaweed hydrocolloids or as source of food for human consumption.
The Company was founded in 1973 by four immigrants, three from Japan and one from Taiwan. It was named Alganor. It began its activities as an exporter of seaweeds to Japanese hydrocolloid industries. Envisaging a possibility to industrialize the raw materials it was exporting, it invested in the acquisition of process technology to manufacture the agar-agar industrial gum.
Specialized engineers were hired in Japan, and in 1978 it started to industrialize seaweed on a small scale. The company faced all kinds of starting-out difficulties that any small outfit with scarce financial resources faces. Furthermore, there was compounded the inadequate technology to Brazilian conditions. However, still motivated by a vision and an ideal of entrepreneurial success, it kept its operations up along all these years. It developed and improved its own process technology, which allowed it to expand little by little its sales for the domestic market. In 1993, aiming to diversify its line of products, it started the manufacture of carrageenan, also a seaweed derived industrial gum. Few years later, it also started producing seaweed extract for cosmetics as well as seaweed for human consumption.
In order to improve production processes in its industrial plant, the company constantly implements modernization programs, acquires new and modern equipments and implements personnel training programs for improved operational skills. Thereby, superior product quality is obtained, gains in productivity, an increase in its productive capacity and greater competitiveness for its products vis-à-vis the international market.
In 2003, the company celebrated 30 years of activities supplying seaweed derivatives. Its visual identity was redesigned and the brand AGARGEL was created to represent the company within the new expansionist reality and its increasing insertion into the global market. The company legal and official name was changed to Agargel Industria e Comercio Ltda. in 2009.
Through years of experience, Agargel has developed an expertise in the manufacture of seaweed hydrocolloids Agar-Agar and Carrageenan as well as on their applications on food and non-food products. The company intends to continue innovating and growing in the seaweed industry.
In 2018, a brand named GELIALGAS was created to represent a company line of consumer products based on Agar-Agar.
The company’s plan for the future is the expansion of its line of consumer products.
Business Operational Structure
Our manufacturing plant is strategically located inside an area of 20,000 m2 within the industrial district of João Pessoa, in the state of Paraiba. Since this is a region rich in sea resources, we have access to an abundant supply of raw materials. Our plant operates a production line using equipment and systems that have been especially developed to attain increased productivity and improved process quality.
We own an ample area to store and to handle raw materials, as well as an administrative area where our lab, the offices, a dining area and a leisure area are located. Our installations to provide public utilities such as natural gas, steam, electric power and water, are efficient and functional.
Currently, we directly employ 50 workers distributed among the different sectors of the company, as well as many indirect workers for the cultivation and harvesting of seaweed along the seacoast of Northeastern Brazil.
Our productive process is based on the GelPress method which is made-up of the following stages: selection of raw materials, chemical treatment, washing, hot extraction, filtering, gelling, pressing, drying, grinding, standardizing and packaging.
Strict quality control techniques are used throughout all the stages of our productive process, beginning with the acquisition of raw materials and ranging to the manufacture of the final product aiming to comply with the most demanding technical specifications.
We carry out quality control procedures that range from simple ones regarding the weight and humidity of the seaweed down to the most complex analyses regarding the sulphate contents of the final product. We operate a very functional lab that contains all the equipment needed to make quality control test of any physical, chemical or microbial property. Our quality control insures the uniformity and consistency of our products to make them fit in any specifications and industrial applications.
Through partnerships with other companies, research institutes and universities, our technical staff has been able to keep up a continued research and development program regarding products and applications that are based on seaweeds and seaweed hydrocolloids.
By using the most up to date standards, models and know-how, we are able to develop seaweed hydrocolloids with specific chemical properties for stabilizing, thickening and texturizing your product in just about any application.
CLIENTS, SUPPLIERS AND COLLABORATORS
Setting up solid and lasting relationships with clients, suppliers and collaborators is one of the paramount principles of our company.
We try to understand and to cater to the needs of our clients, by providing them with high quality products and innovative solutions.
From our suppliers, we require honesty, ethical behavior, good prices, adequate communication and an ability to supply and attend to our needs with quality and competence.
To our collaborators, we attempt to provide an adequate work place that is pleasant, safe and healthy. We treat them with respect, ethics, integrity, transparency and professionalism.
ENVIRONMENT AND SEAWEED CULTIVATION
The development and implementation of environment management systems is a constant concern to our company. In order to be in continued compliance with the environmental laws and regulatory norms, we operate in our plant an effluent treatment facility, using the method of anaerobic reactors with ascending flow. We are continuously working to identify and evaluate environment-related aspects as well as the hazards associated to our operation, in order to always improve the control and management of enviromental aspects of our operational activities.
Our company is constantly investing in training programs for people living in the coastal communities. These programs enable them to cultivate and harvest seaweed in a sustainable way, without any harm or degradation to the environment. Moreover, they make of this activity a perennial source of income.