When it comes to essential fatty acids (EFAs), the onus of marketing their significance often falls on omega-3s. One of two EFAs—the other being omega-6 fatty acids—neither omega-3s nor omega-6s can be efficiently synthesized by the body, and must come from the diet. While research supports both omega-3s and omega-6s for health, it’s all too common to see a diet laden with omega-6s and lagging in omega-3s. In fact, the standard American diet contains 14 to 25 times more omega-6s than omega-3s; therefore, supplementation with omega-3s has been key to achieving recommended intakes.
Marketing, in a traditional sense, is offensive (“actively aggressive" or “invading," per Google). It’s safe to say that in the omega-3 market, marketing has become defensive (“used or intended to defend or protect," or “very anxious to challenge or avoid criticism"). While still one of the most-consumed supplements on the market, recent negative publicity has dulled the shiny reputation omega-3s once maintained. What can be expected when headlines such as “Omega-3 Supplements Are a Waste of Money," from Newsweek, and “Fish Oil Claims Not Supported by Research," from The New York Times, are guiding consumers’ choices? Both articles were published in 2015.
These headlines are what Adam Ismail, executive director of the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), called “media soundbites" during the Omega-3 Summit at SupplySide West, Oct. 5-9, in Las Vegas. Ismail moderated the summit, which included presentations on the topics of sustainability, quality and safety from leaders in the omega-3 industry.
Largely, theses “attacks" are fueling miscommunication, where research isn’t being presented accurately or in its entirety. Understandably, consumers are left confused and skeptical.
INSIDER explores the need for effective marketing and communication in the omega-3 market in the article, “On the Defense: Education, communication critical to omega-3 marketing in coming years," in the free Essential Fatty Acids Digital Pulse. Click the bold EFA link to download the free Digital Pulse.