The omega-3 invasion

by Jeff Gelski
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Martek Biosciences, Columbia, Md., keeps placing its omega-3 fatty acid ingredient into new food and beverage applications. Ocean Nutrition Canada, Dartmouth, N.S., does the same. Meanwhile, other ingredient suppliers keep entering or expanding their presence in the omega-3 arena (see sidebar). It’s safe to say the omega-3 invasion will continue as food and beverage formulators promote the heart-healthy or brain-healthy benefits of the ingredient in their products.

Martek offers life’sDHA, which contains an omega-3 fatty acid called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The DHA is made from algae and serves as a building block for the brain and eyes, according to Martek. The Martek ingredient mostly appeared in infant formula in years past, but the company has sought to expand its presence.

On Oct. 1, Martek said Minute Maid Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored 100% fruit juice blend contains 50 mg of life’sDHA per 8-oz serving. The drink joins Minute Maid Heart Wise, Minute Maid Active and Minute Maid Multivitamin in Minute Maid’s Enhanced Juices lineup.

The action followed a September announcement that 50 mg of life’s DHA are now in each Bellybar, a line of snack bars from NutraBella, Palo Alto, Calif., that are designed to meet the nutritional needs of women before, during and after pregnancy.

Martek said sales in the food and beverage market were $3.78 million for the nine months ended July 31, 2007, which compared with $1.01 million for the nine months ended July 31, 2006. Martek this year reported companies such as Dean Foods Co. and General Mills, Inc. launched products with the life’sDHA logo. Nine-month sales in the infant formula market were $193.32 million, up from $180.99 million.

Orange juice and margarine were two categories entered by Ocean Nutrition Canada and its Meg-3 ingredient. Meg-3 offers both DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), known for its heart-healthy benefits. A. Lassonde, Inc., Rougemont, Que., co-branded with Meg-3 to offer 30 mg of EPA/DHA per 250-ml serving of its Oasis with Omega-3 Orange Juice. Unilever Canada, Toronto, introduced Becel Omega-3 Plus, a new margarine that contains 50 mg of EPA/DHA per 2-teaspoon serving.

Omega-3 innovations

Several ingredient suppliers announced omega-3 fatty acid product launches and innovations this year:

Cargill — The Minneapolis-based company launched an omega-3 fatty acid ingredient from fish oil for food applications that has a 1:1 ratio of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Cognis Nutrition and Health — Cognis launched Omevital 1812 TG Gold, which contains EPA and DHA, at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo in July in Chicago.

Hormel Health Technology, L.L.C. — The specialty products division of Hormel Foods Corp., Austin, Minn., launched its Eterna brand of omega-3 fish oils at the I.F.T. event.

P&G Food Ingredients — The Cincinnati-based company promoted its Omegaphyl omega-3 as a food ingredient and neutraceutical at the I.F.T. event. At least 56% of the Omegaphyl 3020 EPA/DHA is composed of omega-3 fatty acids, including at least 33% EPA and 14% DHA.

Pizzey’s Milling — The company launched Meadow Pure Ultra, which offers an excellent source of all three forms of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA, DHA and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

The Wright Group — The company promoted its omega-3 enriched Digestive Aid Cookies at the International Baking Industry Exposition in Orlando, Fla., in October. Each 30-gram cookie offered 75 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, including 63 mg of DHA and 12 mg of EPA.

This article can also be found in the digital edition of Food Business News, October 16, 2007, starting on Page 42. Click
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