NIH: Omega-3 Products Largely Meet Label Claims

The Maturing Omega-3 Segment

<p>Innovations have taken the fledgling omega-3 segment from simple flax and fish oil supplements to a maturing market filled with new sustainable vegetarian and animal sources, high-quality condition-specific formulations and a range of new product applications to help consumers enjoy their omega-3 consumption and improve intake of key fatty acids, including DHA and EPA.</p>

As a segment of natural products, the omega-3 market has historically been innovative. For starters, the leading ingredient in the category, fish oil, was born from a byproduct of fisheries, opening up an entirely new market. And from the CRN Omega-3 Working Group to the formation of GOED (The Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s) and the resultant voluntary monograph, omega-3 companies have demonstrated how industry stakeholders can successfully unite for the greater good. This collaboration of competitors helped raise the quality of omega-3 ingredients and products at an opportune time to take advantage of a global population on the verge of an omega-3 feeding frenzy. Now as omega-3s have enjoyed a nice run of increasing awareness and use among consumers worldwide, where is innovation taking place?

With the success of the omega-3 market, many good companies, even those who helped pave the way, have found themselves trying to grab more share of an overcrowded market, especially where fish oil was concerned.

Beyond the simple separation between companies that met or exceeded the standards established by the GOED Voluntary Monograph and those companies that fell short, the primary differentiating factors became the source of fish and the technologies used to process the material.

Robert Bailey, commercial development manager for Stepan Lipid Nutrition, said there has been considerable fragmentation of omega-3 offerings in the marketplace over the past several years. “In part, this has been motivated by a need to differentiate end products in a maturing, commodity tending global market," he explained, noting manufacturers are becoming more focused on technologies that address consumers’ underlying purchase criteria.

“Products with consumer-need-focused propositions are outperforming those which succeeded in the past on the back of double-digit compound annual growth," Bailey said, adding consumers are more aware of the many choices. “The need to fulfill their purchase expectations is driving diversification in the 20-year-old omega-3 raw material market." In the end, he said, innovative companies are focused on raising safety, sensory, scientific and sustainability standards in the marketplace.

Learn more by reading the full article, “Innovations in the Omega-3 Market."

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