The omega-3 ingredients market is set to expand, thanks to the essential fatty acids health-giving properties and new production technologies which allow omega-3 fatty oils to be added to an expanding number of foods and beverages, says the US market research company Packaged Facts
There is good evidence that omega-3 fatty acids support good cardiovascular, reproductive and immune system health. The report estimates U.S. retail sales of food and beverage products with a ‘high omega-3’ or ‘high DHA’ claim grew 11% and approached $4 billion in 2010.
Packaged Facts predicts the U.S. omega-3 ingredient market will grow 40% between 2010 and 2015 as U.S. retail sales of ‘high omega-3’ or ‘high DHA’ foods and beverages approach $7 billion by the end of 2015.
For many years fish oils and powders containing omega-3 fatty acids were consumed as dietary supplements. With better encapsulation technology companies have began to add fish oils to different types of foods, beginning with spreads and oils and continuing into dairy products, cereals and even fruit-flavoured beverages.
“When the first omega-3-enriched foods entered the market in 2003, some predicted that there would be a flood of products within a couple of years,” said Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. “But the challenges of finding ways to get the fatty acids into foods and beverages, making the resulting product palatable and achieving a reasonable shelf-life, were more daunting than expected.”
“Now that many of these technology hurdles have been overcome, more categories of products have become viable candidates for fortification with omega fatty acids. Several industry experts we interviewed believe that the biggest trend in the next five to 10 years will be food and beverage companies seeking to fortify their products with omegas.”