Omega-3 Beverage

The growing power of omega-3 in functional food and drink

An interesing development in the evolution of omega-3 for incorporation into functional foods, and particularly beverages. US company, Oceans Omega, claims it has developed a technology that allows the addition of omega-3 fatty acids into clear beverages with no change in finished taste, smell or texture.

“Due to technical advances achieved by Oceans Omega, the beverage industry can expand to include omega-3s into non-refrigerated products such as waters, seltzers, carbonated beverages and sports drinks,” says Benjamin Mamola, co-founder and CEO of Mycell Technologies, which owns the Oceans Omega business.

Oceans Omega produces water-soluble, liquid emulsions containing high concentrations of omega-3s that are easily incorporated into standard mixing procedures of beverage manufacturing plants. It offers omega-3 fatty acids, both plant-derived and fish-derived, for inclusion into various food and beverage products.

A major stumbling block in bringing omega-3s to the market has always been one of stabilising these readily oxidised natural products.

“Now that Oceans Omega has solved this long-standing problem, and products that use this technology are starting to come to market, it remains for the public to gain awareness of these product introductions that offer both health benefits and convenience,” says Mamola.

Packaging improvements have also enabled longer shelf life for a broad range of ingredients but have not necessarily improved the stability of oxidative compounds. Omega-3 fatty acids fall into this category, and while packaging is important to ensure a low amount of oxygen in the finished products, stabilisation technology is required for long-term stability, especially at ambient temperatures.

Consumer awareness of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

With the average consumer’s diet lacking in omega-3s, studies have shown they are a key functional ingredient sought out in the purchase of food and beverages, second only to fibre.

“Over 40% of Americans either cannot or do not like taking pills. A liquid form of omega-3s is a perfect solution for this market segment,” says Mamola.

Another amazing statistic, he asserts, is that nearly 85% of all omega-3-based products launched, remain on the market. This demonstrates a substantial interest, continued consumption and demand for beverages in the omega-3 category.

Based on research by GOED, the Global Organisation for EPA and DHA omega-3, the segment of the population aged 48 years and over consumes omega-3s most frequently. There is also significant usage in 18-47-year-olds.

“The demand for omega-3 exists because people are motivated to keep themselves and their families healthy. Furthermore, a large body of scientific literature suggests that increasing daily dietary intake of omega-3 may offer numerous health benefits such as improved cognitive function (especially in the elderly and children), mental health, joint health, lowered incidence of heart failure and irregular heartbeat and lowered blood triglyceride levels,” he concludes.

Oceans Omega; www.oceansomega.com

Source: Beverage Innovation Magazine