Consumers are learning about the various health benefits of omega-3s, and with increasing delivery systems, they can choose the method of consumption that is appropriate for their health regimen.
According to proprietary research from the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), although awareness of Omega-3s is greater than 90 percent throughout the EU, consumption levels are much lower. While this varies on a country-to-country basis, intake ranges from approximately 40 to 65 percent. Luis Echeverria, president of Evi International Group LLC, is optimistic that increasing awareness of Omega-3’s potential benefits will encourage more product development, noting, “What consumers want to see is new and creative delivery systems that will make the consumption of their daily Omega-3s fun and easy."
Pizzey Ingredients offers a full line of flaxseed ingredients for use in the food, beverage, supplement and pet food industries. “Today’s consumers, especially Millennials, are increasingly concerned about the sustainability of their food supply," said Julie Faber, Pizzey’s director of marketing and compliance.
Becky Wright, marketing and communications director for Aker BioMarine Antarctic US referenced 2016 data from the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), adding to the list of criteria driving U.S. consumer supplement purchases. The desired traits included price, easy to swallow, easy to digest, clinical proof, made in the United States, no taste or smell issues, non-GMO, 100 percent traceable and sustainable.
New technology is making it easier for companies to trace where their seafood and marine Omega-3s are coming from and to communicate that to consumers, but many brand holders still refrain from doing it. And even those that are might be misleading consumers.
The Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) researched customer perceptions about seafood and the key factors influencing purchase decisions. GFTC collected data across five nations and found consumers buy seafood based on what is advertised on the label, on a sign in a store or restaurant. This means consumers highly value product labeling and attach value to proof that verifies their purchases were sustainably caught or farmed.
The Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s set out to find answers to questions about consumer behavior worldwide and what influences consumers when thinking about health and wellness topics.
When it came to reasons for Omega-3 usage, a bit more variability emerged from country to country. Consumers in Germany may have started an Omega-3 regimen because of heart health concerns, while in France, “overall wellness" was a motivating factor. In most countries around the world, heart health was the dominant reason for increasing consumption of Omega-3s.
While America is a supplement-focused culture, in Europe, consumers do not take a lot of supplements and prefer to get Omega-3s from their diet. This is especially apparent in Italy, where the fish-heavy Mediterranean diet is particularly popular.
The upside is there is a viable opportunity for future growth in the European Omega-3 market, despite the fact that the market is mature and has been mostly flat for the past few years.
For more information, download the Vitafoods Insights Report “The Widespread Appeal of Omega-3s."