Consumer Awareness of Omega-3 Ingredients

July 26/Health & Beauty Close-Up -- The flood of scientific evidence on omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid/docosahexaenoic acid (EPA/DHA) has significantly buoyed the credibility of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) as vital functional ingredients. Heightened consumer awareness has had a telling effect on the healthy growth charts of the marine and algae oil omega-3 ingredients market, reports Frost & Sullivan.

New analysis from the consulting firm, "Strategic Analysis of the European Marine and Algae Oil Omega-3 Ingredients Market," finds that the market earned revenues of $323.0 million in 2008 and estimates this to reach $ 525.6 million in 2013.

Manufacturers who recognize the link between consumer awareness and product marketability are branding their ingredients on consumer food and beverage products. Meanwhile, the Global Organization of EPA & DHA Omega-3, an industry organization, has funded Purdue University in the U.S. to establish the Omega-3 Learning Consortium for Health and Medicine to provide credible information about omega-3 fatty acids to consumers, health professionals and the media.

"Industry associations have been successfully formed to protect their interests and voice their opinions to government agencies charged with regulating food ingredients," says Frost & Sullivan research consultant Christopher Shanahan. "These associations play a critical role in addressing crucial legislative challenges facing the industry and in providing opportunities that benefit the overall growth of the market."

The projected 10% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2008-2013 in the marine and algae oil omega-3 ingredient market is likely to jumpstart key condition-specific health markets such as cognitive health, joint health and immune health. However, the omega-3 industry is facing an increasingly complex set of technological, environmental and regulatory changes.

"On February 12, the European Parliament approved nutrition claims for omega-3s allowing food products to claim they are either a 'source of omega-3 fatty acids' or that they contain 'high omega-3 fatty acids'," notes Shanahan. "This is a positive development because it will enhance both consumer awareness and usage across Europe, in countries where consumers already understand the value of omega-3s."

Despite these favorable conditions, participants have a lot of ground to cover with regard to awareness and acceptance. They have been greatly assisted in their endeavors by positive media coverage. They have also benefited from an aging population that is more predisposed to chronic illness such as cardiac disorders, strokes, osteoporosis and cancers.

"A larger number of consumers consider food products an alternative means to prevent many diseases and adverse health conditions such as cardiovascular disease (CVD)," observes Shanahan. "The demand for omega-3 ingredients is directly related to the escalating incidence of CVD in developed countries, and it significantly hikes the unit consumption."

From theAugust 2, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition