Omega-3 fatty acids are emerging as some of the most widely beneficial compounds in human health. The three omega-3 fatty acids commonly recognized in the scientific literature as having health benefits are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and to a lesser extent, alpha linolenic acid (ALA). These omega-3s are derived mostly from marine and plant sources, typically fish, algae or flax.
First touted for its contributions to cardiovascular health, omega-3 is now associated with the prevention of disorders ranging from eye disease to depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children to muscle degeneration in the elderly. Even as medical research is uncovering new health benefits from the consumption of omega-3, novel production technologies are allowing for the addition of omega-3 oils to an expanding number of food and beverage products and product categories.
Marketers really did not start touting the omega-3 enhanced foods until late 2004, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a qualified health claim for omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) after reviewing the clinical data that illustrated their cardiovascular benefits. This ruling legitimized and propelled the market. In 2007, the FDA published a proposed rule on the nutrient content claims of EPA and DHA. A final ruling has not yet been made, but industry participants believe that when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) establishes a daily reference intake (DRI) for long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, a final ruling from the FDA will follow shortly.
Although some expected high-omega foods and product sales to begin leveling off by 2009, in the wake of a wave of market activity, retail sales have continued to post significant growth. Moreover, three factors indicate that another boom phase for omega-3-enhanced products is on the horizon: 1) an ongoing release of scientific studies supporting the health benefits of consuming omega-3, 2) innovative product introductions, and 3) strong consumer awareness and demand. Omega-3 remains one of the most successful and promising functional ingredients in the food and beverage industry. In addition to an increasingly educated and enthusiastic consumer base, several other drivers are propelling this market. These include innovative formulations and technology advancements that are expanding the products amenable to enhancement with omega-3. Also, methods of stabilizing omega-containing products to inhibit oxidation (which causes the fishy smell associated with fish-oil-based omega-3) have resulted in improved taste as well as extended shelf life. More than 20,000 scientific papers have been published that support the health contributions provided by omega fatty acids, and more papers were published on this topic in 2010 than in any previous year. New regulations in Europe and elsewhere are removing some of the variables for food companies incorporating omegas into their products. As a result, there has been a resurgence in new product launches from these markets. Success in omega-3-enhanced foods relates strongly to differentiation among the growing number of products on the market.
Omega-3 Foods and Beverages in the U.S. contains comprehensive data on the U.S. market for foods and beverages enhanced with omega-3. Historical retail sales data (2006-2010) and forecast data (2011-2015) are provided for the U.S. market. The report discusses key trends affecting the marketplace, trends driving growth, and consumer demographics and psychographics. The report profiles major suppliers and marketers of high omega-3/omega-enhanced products in the U.S. market, as well as innovative companies in both of these sectors.
This report focuses on retail food and beverage products (excluding fish products) that are marketed as bearing high omega-3 or DHA content, which predominantly means products that are enhanced or fortified with omega-3 fatty acids. A number of marine and non-marine food sources inherently contain omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, algal oil, canola oil, soybean oil, flaxseed, and walnuts. These and other high omega-3 ingredients are commonly added to food and beverage products to enhance their omega content, and the resulting products are those included in data and discussions in this report. In addition, this report includes as part of the market products such as breads, nut milks, and hemp milk that naturally contain omega-3 and are flagged as high omega-3 or high DHA, regardless of whether the product formulations are “naturally” high-omega or are specifically formulated or fortified as such.
This report also includes a qualitative discussion of the various omega-3 ingredients available to food formulators, including an overview of the marketers of these ingredients.
Fish products (fresh, canned and frozen) are excluded from the scope of this report, although fish products may bear high-omega claims to boast of their inherent omega content. In addition, this report generally excludes dietary supplements and infant formulas in quantitative discussions, since both are regulated very differently than foods and beverages.
The information contained in this report was obtained from primary and secondary research. Primary research entailed participation in GOED Exchange 2011, the first international conference held by Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 (GOED Omega-3); a Packaged Facts March 2011 Food Shopper Insights survey of U.S. consumers; consultations with manufacturers and industry insiders; and an on-site examination of retail outlets and products. Secondary research included extensive Internet canvassing and research- and data-gathering from relevant consumer business and trade publications; company information including annual reports, press releases, and conference calls; company profiles in trade and consumer publications; government reports; and other food and nutrition market reports by Packaged Facts. Sales estimates are based on analysis of data from the above sources. Analysis of consumer attitudes and product purchasing draws on various data sources, including proprietary Packaged Facts survey data and national consumer surveys conducted by Experian Simmons.
Omega-3 Foods and Beverages in the U.S. offers market and trend analysis to allow succinct assessment of this evolving sector. The report balances insight into qualitative aspects of this market with comprehensive quantitative analysis, including proprietary Packaged Facts survey data on U.S. grocery shopper health and nutrition psychographics and the percentage of U.S. grocery shoppers who are purchasing products with high-omega claims, in relation to other key nutritional concerns and functional ingredients.
This report also includes a lengthy qualitative discussion of the various omega ingredients available to food formulators, including an overview of the suppliers of these ingredients and well as competitive activity among the marketers of retail products.
This report provides a valuable, timely and comprehensive exploration of the U.S. omega-3 food and beverage market that is aimed at companies already participating in this sector, companies that are considering entering this booming market, or those who are tracking activities and trends in this sector. The current market is assessed in detail, with market sales and trends projected through 2015.